Rexx Life Raj has just announced his new project California Poppy 2. The melodic rapper has mastered his charisma with a dynamic personality along with a clear view into what it’s like to be a black man in America.
California Poppy 2, the new EP is a nine track collection of songs that explores the ups and downs of life. Arriving on November 20th, Rexx Life Raj talks to CTRL about the upcoming project, the single “Canvas”, working with G-Eazy, and more.
How has your musical background shaped you as an artist?
I think just growing up around so many different types of music shapes how i create mine. I grew up in the church so that is deeply engrained in me. My dad was heavy on reggae , Bob Marley and the Wailors.. A lot of oldies . All these things are inside of me and pop out at different times.
“Canvas” is the first single off of your upcoming project California Poppy 2. Why was it the right choice to release it to kickoff the new era?
Canvas was the most fitting because i think it really encompasses where i’m at in life right now. This year has been nuts and hella different levels but the one thing that has remained constant for me in music. It’s one of the few places I put all my thoughts and emotions.
What can fans expect with California Poppy 2? How do you aim to evolve continuously with each release in the series?
CP2 is an evolution of the sound Kyle and I have been working on for years. If you’ve loved any of the records like Shit n Floss, Level Up, etc you’ll love this. It’s the same feel with more live instrumentation.
How do you find the right balance to represent yourself as an artist with both the California Poppy series and the Father Figure Series?
To be honest I don’t really think too much about it . When it comes to music I’m very in the moment. If it feels right I go with it.
At the beginning i’ll hone in on the sonics to make sure everything is cohesive and everyone is on the same page but after that I’m really in the moment . Whatever comes comes.
Do you ever plan on stepping away from either of these series? Will there be another story to tell or a side of you to be introduced with a completely different series?
I think, at least for now, the Father Figure series is finished. I like the idea of keeping that as a trilogy and a time stamp for that period of my life. I can see myself doing more of the California Poppy’s since it’s such a honed in sound. There will always be another story to tell, i’m just not sure what that is right now. Life will eventually reveal it to me.
It’s been quite the overwhelming year to say the least. How do you manage to stay focused and inspired?
Luckily music is my passion so inspiration comes naturally. But i think the best thing for me is taking breaks from social media. That’s where the majority of the madness comes from.
What was it like getting “Bounce Back” featured on ESPN?
It was unreal. Completely unreal. Still can’t fully wrap my mind around it. Words can’t explain what it felt like to hear Lebron giving a team speech on top of our song. All the homies hitting everytime they heard it. It was a blessing.
Have you figured out the right formula to bounce back from the challenges of life? What does “Bounce Back” mean to you and does the follow up release “Optimistic”, have any connection to it?
I think life is series of fall-offs and bounce backs. The only formula I know is to keep going. If you keep pushing eventually something will happen.
What’s like to look back at going to high school with G-Eazy, and now, years later, the two of you are collaborating together?
It’s nuts. Seeing his journey has been crazy. Super happy for him. We were both in rap groups back in high school so to see where we are now is wild. But going back to what i said in the last question , we’re just some one the ones who kept going and never quit. It’s dope to witness.
You once said that you were inspired by Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey can also be heard in the beginning of “Burgundy Regal”. What's your biggest takeaway as an artist, after losing such a profound and impactful creator like Nipsey?
Put truth into music. Put positivity into music. Put wisdom into music. There will come a time where you’re gone but the music is still here. It could still serve as a teacher to someone.