Monday, August 10, 2009

Lushlife, Oh So Lush

I hold all sorts of love in my heart for old school hip hop. Part of it stems from listening to it as a kid, growing up with Run DMC, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash, and the ilk. And when I say growing up with, I mean listening to albums like King of Rock, Radio, The Fat Boys are Back (Ha!), on cassette in the old boom box (and the walkman, which might as well have been just as big as the boom box), as well as recordings of late night radio shows playing the latest jams. That being said, I just about flipped my lid when I took in the cover of Cassette City, the second album from Lushlife. It looks 100% genuine like a cassette liner unfolded. Nice.

If you're not familiar with Lushlife (and I wasn't before spinning this album), it's the moniker assumed by musican/MC/producer Raj Haldar. Besides all of his production work, he also put out his debut, Order of Operations, back in '06, and even more intriguing, an album named West Sounds, where he becomes the mad experimenter, putting together the Beach Boys and Kanye West (if anyone knows where I can check a copy of this, please don't keep it to yourself). And speaking of dusting off some golden oldies, here he is taking on Jay-Z's Dead Presidents, live, in one take, on piano.

Taking it back full circle to my intro, taking it back to the day isn't just a YouTube gimmick for Lush. The real beauty of his album is how it pulls in where hip hop came from, revitalizing it, and building even further with, well, some lush instrumentation that melds seamlessly into the electronic elements of his music. Said instrumentation is just as central to this album as the rhymes laid down on top of it, with a few all instrumental tracks that you'd never place on a hip hop album if you heard them alone with their chamber-pop yearnings, yet when heard within the larger work, fit into place quite right.

With the exception of some guest vocals on only a few tracks, the album is the work of Haldar from the ground up. Check out In Soft Focus below, a track that does a fine job embodying that melding of rhymes and instruments.

Visit his website, his label Rapster Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

1 comment:

yeahdevelop said...

lushlife is ill.

check out some more of his tracks here: