Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lushlife, Indian-American rap phenomenon

For a few weeks now I've been digging this mad new joint by Philly-based MC/producer Lushlife, entitled The Kindness. It's probably my favourite hip hop track of the year in fact. Check it:

Another Word for Paradise, featuring 90s underground legends Camp Lo, is also some hot sh*t:

I was kinda surprised to find out that homeboy is of Indian extraction - his real name is Raj Haldar. He's hardly the first member of the Indian diaspora to try his hand at rap music - Canadian rapper Spek, Himanshu of Das Racist, and UK group FunDaMental spring to mind - but with respect to those artists, Lushlife sounds like real rap music should. His production has the street-level thump of classic NYC hip-hop, but combined with a shades of jazzy 60s chamber-pop which gives it a dreamy, psychedelic feel. But it's Haldar's prowess on the mic which surprises - while he's not amazing, he more than holds his own. It's not something you'd expect if you judged him on his bohemian-nerdboy image.

Given that mainstream hip-hop is as superficial a genre as it gets, Haldar has little chance of blowing up big time with his geeky look and lofty artistic visions, but he's gathering some props in the underground hip-hop world. He initially made some minor waves with his mash-up album West Sounds, which combined Kanye West raps with music from the Beach Boys' masterpiece Pet Sounds (obviously inspired by Danger Mouse's Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up.). The below track, which melds Kanye's masterpiece Jesus Walks with You Still Believe In Me, is pretty fantastic.

Lushlife's first artist album Order of Operations came out in 2005, but its not easy to track down. However his new release, Cassette City, out for a month now, is getting some play around the blogs and hipper radio stations. Those tracks I mentioned earlier are on it.

You can check out Lushlife's creative process in action on the following video; its pretty cool particularly if you have an interest in music production.

Like this? You may like:

Global funk connections: Omar

From Bollywood to black America and back - the evolution of a sample

Mainstream hip-hop's Bollywood flirtations

Some Tamil rap for yo' ass - Yogi B & Natchatra

1 comment:

  1. Its moi again.This was how I found your blog. Am a avid Lushlife fan.Don't ask how I stumbled upon his music..Its kinda rare to hear something fresh like this.Highly recommended for real heads