Although Rexx Life Raj cites Drake as one of his most frequent comparisons, the Berkeley, California artist adapted a similar sing-rap tone into a humbly presented package of introspection and genuine humor. His latest release, Father Figure 2: Flourish, pairs a mixture of danceable melodies with a strategic use of autotune and clean bars that continues to give listeners into the life of Raj.

With the hyphy rhythms of the Bay occasionally peaking and prodding their way into the album, Raj also relies on his soothing singing vocals to cruise on top of shimmering compositions by Mikos Da Gawd, JULiA LEWiS and more. While a sample of Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long” loops in the background, Raj sings, “I’ve been working on my level up again,” as he’s able to tout his growing musical following while adhering to his personal approach to music making.

Quick to call out the fake friends among his following, Raj, who adopted the nickname ‘Dad’ in middle school, also weaves in a healthy amount of humor, self-deprecating and otherwise to complement his maturity. At the end of “Neighborhood Dopeman” Raj argues with a flight attendant who fails to see the problem with his uncomfortable seat and him not receiving a Skymall catalog. “Is it Susan or Susanne? Susan, whatever. Where’s my pamphlet? Skymall, Susanne, it comes with every flight. I wanna look at things I’m not gonna buy.”

In a world where conscious music fans are regularly at odds with the whatever’s considered “mainstream,” Raj makes a point to drop honest tunes. “I’ve always just wanted to be able to put out music, and be as genuinely me as I can with my music. Not conform or constrain myself because of what people think or how the game is changing.” Father Figure 2 is a testament to Raj’s ambivalence to riding coattails. Including brief references to oldies like Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” on “More Love” with his fondness for slick rhymes and rhythms, Rex Life Raj continues to prove he can grow without bound.

Stream Father Figure 2: Flourish below.

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