Lushlife keeps finding his way into my life lately. Whether it’s through the Twitter machine or local newspapers, he keeps coming back around like a student loan collector. Thankfully he is much easier to deal with. The crazy thing about it was that I had no idea what Lushlife was. Was it a person? A group? What kind of music was it? I’ve only seen one picture and it’s an Indian dude with funny glasses holding a violin. That told me nothing. What exactly is Lushlife?
Lushlife is a Philly rapper and producer who recently released Plateau Vision- a delicate car crash of sounds, moods and crafty, intelligent hip hop. As a rapper, Lushlife is subtly aggressive with an undercurrent of the tastiest kind of attitude, the chip on your shoulder kind. His flow reminds a little bit of Nas, but that could largely be because Nas is a sick rapper and so is Lushlife. Lushlife might not spit hot fire like Nas does, but he definitely spits luke warm volcano juice- and I’m not even sure what that is, just that it sounds fitting.
As a producer, Lushlife is off the hook. Each song is a cavalcade of sounds akin to the Beach Boys or the Avalanches. The sounds creep in and out of his verses like waves. It’s great production- tight as a drum and nearly every song has a classic hip hop beat to it, which makes the tunes that much more appealing. I love the first tune, “Magnolia,” a straight up beat and a harp. It’s money. “Anthem” is a great tune too.
You could make an argument that either Lushlife lacks focus with his production or that his desire to bring different sounds into the world of hip hop is possibly too jarring. Okay, that’s cool. But I would disagree. I’ve always felt that there are two kinds of hip hop (and both are different than rap.) There’s book smart hip hop that you can nerd out too and there’s the smooth sailing hip hop that you can jam out too. Lushlife brings together both of these styles and creates a mash-up of sound that should be appealing to both the headphone junkie obsessing over production and lyrical word play and the casual boomboxer who just loves a sweet jam.
We live in a divisive world, but Lushlife’s sound floats above that.
No doubt there are plenty of young rappers kicking around our fair city that are demanding our attention. Lushlife however, might be the cream of the crop. If he keeps it up with more jams like the ones found on Plateau Vision, he won’t be one of many for long.