Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: Western Vinyl Records
In Hip Hop, it’s always been refreshing when certain artists project a modern approach to an older era. Albums such as Edan’s Beauty & The Beat and Jurassic 5’s Power In Numbers were deeply-inspired by the emcee deliveries of the late ’80s, however both transposed them with different soundscapes – Psychedelia and L.A. Rare Groove respectively.
Regardless of all of the arguments, prevarications and confusions surrounding the term “cloud rap” (and even Lushlife himself has written a think piece on the topic), one thing I really appreciate about many of the producers traditionally lumped in with the grouping is their evident appreciation for the beauty of raw, gorgeous, good sounds—at a high bit rate on really good speakers or headphones their beats sparkle and shimmer, wisp and waft, with little of the dullness or muddiness rap fans have often had to put up. Even with an aesthetic outlier like Spaceghostpurrp, the muffled cloudiness he brings feels intentional, like just another carefully placed ingredient in the sonic stew. When your audience is a bunch of stoned people, hey, stoned people get really into music, they have pretty sensitve hearing.
Back in the early 2000s, mash-up culture had a moment. The ''As Heard on Radio Soulwax'' discs were essential party soundtracks, and a quick flick through music video channels yielded endless Britney and Christina mash-ups. The novelty of matching up disparate genres was primitive but satisfying-- evidenced by nu-metal's regular pairing with bubblegum pop.
Some artists create their own context. Lushlife, aka Philadelphia producer/MC Raj Haldar, works harder than most to situate himself within a very specific web of hip-hop allusions, musical reference points and cultural signposts. He’s a very savvy and intelligent bricoleur, grabbing disparate elements from his environment and compiling them into little bursts of joyful, optimistic hip-hop.