California rapper Rexx Life Raj crafts rhymes that touch upon accessible and honest topics, making poignant observations about daily life without shying away from thoughtful introspection.
The proud Berkeley native born Faraji Wright developed a love of music through church and his mother, while learning a strong work ethic and black pride from his father. He fell in love with rap at the age of six, but athletics and academics were priorities. Raj received a football scholarship, playing for Boise State's D1 team. After graduation, rather than pursuing a full-time football commitment, he spun a communications degree into a career in the music industry. In 2014, he released a pair of EPs. Hidden Clouds featured his first single, "Put On," while Portraits was a collaboration with producer Tele Fresco. The following year, he issued The Escape, which included guests like Iamsu!, Will Fraker, and City Shawn, as well as Dreamland: Telegraph Ave., with YMTK, Ellen Purtell, and Lolo Zouai on the roster. In 2016, he released the single "Moxie Java" with fellow Bay Area rapper Nef the Pharaoh. The single helped expand his audience on digital streaming services and would appear on his first official full-length, Father Figure. Produced by Ian McKee, Father Figure was issued in late 2016 and also featured the singles "Shit n' Floss" and "Handheld GPS." Early the next year, Raj released a series of singles, including the touching "Devin's Song" and "Waiting for You" with Russ. That summer, Raj released a collaborative EP with YMTK titled Emoji Goats, as well as the single "Radio." ~ Neil Z. Yeung