Rexx Life Raj and Rayana Jay headline Anchor Steam-hosted showcase

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 [...]

Rexx Life Raj releases new video for “Handheld GPS”

Words by Nina Tabios In the digital age, you need to disconnect sometimes. In his new video “Handheld GPS,” Berkeley artist Rexx Life Raj bolts east to Yosemite National Park to disassociate — even for a second — from the real world and contemplate within the shadows of more natural wonders. As his phone signal drops in and out through the forest, he acknowledges how jaded modern society can be: “Two cell phones / still so disconnected / Social media disingenuous / It’s that shit that needs disinfecting.” Yet against a backdrop of soothing guitar riffs and synths, he reflects [...]

By |April 17, 2017|Tags: |

Best of 2016: Pranav Trewn’s Bay Area Rap Hall of Fame

You’ll probably hear that 2016 hip-hop belonged to Atlanta. This is the year the region’s most prominent ambassadors cemented their status as national icons. Young Thug released three increasingly excellent commercial mixtapes that culminated with his greatest work yet, this summer’s JEFFERY, which nabbed him a handful of radio staples with “Digits” and the Travis Scott-assisted “Pick Up The Phone” along the way. Meanwhile, Future became a verifiable festival-topper, Drake tour mate, and bona fide rock star, landing his very own Rolling Stone cover over the summer. 2016 also saw the breakthroughs of sure-to-be career artists in 21 Savage and [...]

Rexx Life Raj owes it all to Berkeley

...and hard work, and strong collaborators...but also the burrito bowls at Berkeley Bowl. Rexx Life Raj is committed to repping Berkeley. It’s one of the first things you come to notice listening to Father Figure, the rapper’s most recent studio effort released earlier this year. The record is littered with passing allusions to his hometown, a city he’s spent his entire life in minus an undergraduate education in Boise, where he played D1 football on scholarship. He sings the praises of burrito bowls from Berkeley Bowl, likens Telegraph Avenue to the fast life, and shouts out local heroes Green Day [...]

By |October 18, 2016|Tags: |

Mixtape: Over a dozen of the Bay Area’s best new and emerging rap artists

(Originally posted at KQED Arts) Download: Mixtape: Over a Dozen of the Bay Area's Best New and Emerging Rap Artists (Podcast #386) We haven't done a deep dive into the independent hip-hop scene in some time, but that certainly isn't due to a lack of new local rap talent. While artists like Iamsu and G-Eazy are among the latest Bay ambassadors to have gained mainstream attention, many exciting and relatively unknown MCs are emerging out of the San Francisco Bay Area. This mixtape collects 13 songs showcasing some of the best emerging rappers from the Bay. As you'll hear [...]

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