If you haven’t been paying attention to the new wave of hip-hop and R&B emerging from the Bay Area, Berkeley’s Rexx Life Raj and Richmond’s Rayana Jay wouldn’t be a bad place to start. These two artists both helm from a tribe of like-minded artists (think 1-O.A.K., Drew Banga, Mikos da Gawd) that proudly put on for the Bay while consistently pushing the audible boundaries often associated with Northern California rap and soul, so it’s no surprise the pair is set to headline an Anchor Steam-hosted showcase at Rickshaw Stop.
Rexx Life Raj’s 2016 project, Father Figure, is perhaps the calm before his breakthrough storm. Tracks such as “Handheld GPS” and “OMG” display his equally skilled hand with a pen and on the mic. Following a string of loosies, Raj teamed up with East Oakland singer YMTK and released Emoji Goats EP in early 2017, both honing in on their version of free-wheeling and funky rap-singing. Raj is fresh off touring with HBGK Gang’s P-Lo on his “More Than Anything” tour and is gearing up to drop his own full-length album later this year.