When Rexx Life Raj calls The Blue Hour his most private document, he ain’t kidding. If the lyrics and somber melodies don’t give it away, the rapper wrote his newest album whereas doing every little thing he may to spend time together with his mother and father and make them comfy of their ultimate months as their well being declined lately. He even turned a room in his mother and father home—the Yellow Room from his childhood the place he grew up and first realized to provide music—right into a studio and created there when it wasn’t getting used for his mother’s hospice or his dad’s dialysis. And all through all of it, he took fixed notes concerning the concepts and emotions he skilled as his household navigated loss of life in actual time.
“When my mother received most cancers, it sort of turned me right into a caregiver in a single day and I’d cease doing music to handle her,” Rexx Life Raj advised Rolling Stone Radio co-host Jon Weigell.
“I’d take notes on life at any time when I used to be with my mother—within the hospital, within the ER. I knew once I ultimately had time to jot down, I needed the music to be tremendous private and replicate what I used to be going by means of after my mother transitioned. By the point I went to the studio, I used to be capable of crank out so many songs. I most likely made 200 songs and picked 12 for the album.”
Rexx Life Raj lately wrapped up the majority of his Blue Hour touring, capping an unusually bodily and emotionally intense album cycle. “After this tour and all this, I wish to take a break and actually work out some issues,” he admitted. “I wish to be sure I’m really nicely and defending my thoughts and all that stuff, however I realized I’m fairly resilient when issues hit the fan.” Earlier than that nicely deserved break, the rapper joined Weigell to share his My Life in 10 Songs record on this week’s version of the Rolling Stone Radio on Amp, the dwell radio app the place you may hearken to high artists, creators, and athletes spin their favourite tracks and take your calls in actual time.
The Bay Space rapper started his record with an especially private monitor from James Blake (“Godspeed”). Rexx Life Raj referred to as Blake “if not my favourite artist, certainly one of my high three.” So though he first heard the tune as a Frank Ocean monitor, Rexx Life Raj actually loves the emotion behind Blake’s model.
“This was a tune I used to be enjoying so much as my mother was transitioning,” Rexx Life Raj mentioned. “So I keep in mind we had been sitting at a light-weight, and as quickly as Blake begins singing we checked out one another and simply began crying. This tune in that second, it simply meant a lot to us. We by no means talked about that tune earlier than, by no means listened to it collectively. However when it got here on, it felt proper.”
As evidenced by his subsequent choices, Rexx Life Raj’s instances and recollections together with his mother and father formed quite a lot of his tracklist. He selected some Tracy Chapman (“Quick Automobile”) and Erykah Badu (“Window Seat”) partially out of a childhood nostalgia for time spent in his mother and father’ vans as they ran a small supply service across the Bay Space. “I keep in mind listening to [‘Fast Car’] and I preferred the way in which it sounded. However as I grew and received into songwriting, I spotted it’s some of the fantastically written storytelling songs,” he mentioned. “And [Erykah Badu] was the primary artist that when it got here to lyrics, I grew to become acutely aware. Her music made me rethink my perspective on life, she spoke such fact and information. She was my intro to Neo-Soul. I’ve received her tatted on me I really like her a lot.”
From there, Rexx Life Raj included a trio of Macs: Bay Space rapper Mac Mall (“Huge Open”); rapper/producer Mac Miller (“Come Again To Earth”); and one other Bay Space rapper, Mac Dre (“Since ’84”). “He’s the legend from the BA, one of many best rappers ever,” Rexx Life Raj mentioned of Mac Dre. “In terms of creativity, he’s some of the inventive rappers I’ve ever heard, like within the realm with E-40. The best way he comes up with phrases and twists them round and finds cadences, he was simply so impactful on the Bay Space tradition and sound.”
Rexx Life Raj then included “some of the timeless songs I’ve heard within the final 5 years” from Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra (“I Need You Round”), earlier than he accomplished his Life in 10 Songs with three of his personal tracks. First, the rapper chosen “Time” because it was certainly one of his first tracks to actually pop and subsequently open up touring prospects past the US. Then Rexx Life Raj completed by deciding on each “Save Your self” and “Sundown Over Faculty Park” from The Blue Hour.
“These two tracks impacted me essentially the most,” he mentioned. “‘Save Your self’ is a theme I had going by means of every little thing, it’s one of many first life notes I made. [That idea] was all I needed to lean on; I’ve household and associates however I wanted to typically decide myself up. So I needed individuals to take that away from the album. It’s a must to study to be there for your self even when issues get laborious.
“And ‘Sundown’ was made in the identical room after I made so many songs. It was actually one of many final songs I made, and it ended up because the outro,” he continued. “I didn’t know when to cease writing, and I made this tune at like 3 or 4 a.m.—blended it, made the beat. After I was accomplished I simply cried, greater than I had in a very long time. It’s simply an ode to my mother in that method and the tune brings the entire Blue Hour collectively.”
Weigell and co-host Charlie Cooper will probably be again at it Thursday, 11/10 when Jean Deaux joins them to share her Life in 10 Songs on one other episode of Rolling Stone Radio (@rollingstone on Amp). Obtain the Amp app and tune in at 11 a.m. ET. Simply getting began on Amp? If you wish to study extra concerning the artists and athletes DJing on Amp and expertise their exhibits dwell, head to onamp.com and simply press “play.”