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Lushlife: The Media Darling.

March 11, 2012

Text and bottom image by Ashley Hall. Top image by G.W. Miller III.

After releasing his latest mixtape, No More Golden Days, in October, Raj Haldar, known as Lushlife, got attention from numerous magazines and blogs, including Stereogum, which called it “the mixtape of the week.” He never expected the coverage he received from the New York Times. They referred to his work as “attitude-thick rapping, long dense strings of compressed rhymes heavy with Philadelphia arcane.”

“My mom was most excited about that,” Haldar says.

But he recognized that there was something bigger going on.

“When I put that mixtape out,” he says, “there were thousands of people downloading it from the moment it went live. That’s so awesome.”

In January, the 30-year old, Philly-based artist signed with Western Vinyl and announced he would release a full album, Plateau Vision, on April 17th. Despite previously putting out two full-lengths, including the acclaimed Cassette City, Haldar feels this is the first time he’s truly creating his own sound.

“I’m not just exploring how other sonics work,” he says, “but doing stuff I don’t think has been done a lot on the production side of rap music.”

Although his sound changes on every track, everything he does has immediate roots in classic 90’s hip hop. Inspiration for his sound comes from artists like Nas, Mob Deep, The Roots, the Beach Boys and the Philly soul artists of the Gamble & Huff era.

The genre-bending rapper and multi-instrumentalist blends influences, jumping into extremely experimental territory.

“I try to not make my influences too obvious,” he says. “I synthesize them through myself. Whatever comes out, comes out.”

Haldar began playing piano when he was 5. He played in jazz bands in middle school and high school.

Even at a young age, I was so obsessed with music,” he says. “I just never even thought about doing anything else.”

He now operates a modest recording studio out of his South Philly home.

“It’s like, the perfect life for me,” he says. “I love the city. I love the music scene.”

Plateau Vision will feature members of Das Racist, Styles P (above) and some of the numerous major artists featured on No More Golden Days.

The MC/producer says his sound and priorities have shifted as he’s moved from project to project.

“If you would’ve asked me when I was 22 what I wanted, I would’ve probably said I want to be darlingized by the press and have a super hot record,” Haldar says. “But now, I am really settling into the feeling that it’s just the music. And I can’t ask for more than that right now.”

One Comment
  1. March 12, 2012 12:47 pm

    Reblogged this on For Hoops Heads and commented:
    Hip hop that I like

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