Arts & Entertainment Industry Forum: LushLife

Philadelphia-based rapper/music producer LushLife performs live and speaks with students (03/04/2013).

About LushLife

LushLife, the stage name of Raj Haldar, is a Philadelphia-based rapper and music producer. The son of a school teacher and electrical engineer who immigrated to the U.S. from Bengal., Haldar grew up immersed in classical piano and took twelve years of lessons, while playing drums and writing arrangements in a high school jazz band. Meanwhile, Haldar developed a passion for hip-hop at the height of its 1990s Golden Age, and taught himself how to DJ ad MC. By sixth grade, he was spinning records under various DJ names at New York City clubs.

In 2005, Haldar moved to South Philadelphia, where he began rapping under the stage name LushLife. That year, he also released a Kanye West/The Beach Boys mashup album, West Sounds. In Philadelphia, Haldar found his own voice as an artist, releasing his debut Cassette City on Rapster Records in 2009. Three years later, he released Plateau Vision on the Western Vinyl label, as well as a collaboration with production trio CSLSX, Ritualize in 2016. Ritualize features guest appearances from Killer Mike, Ariel Pink, RJD2, Deniro Farrar, Marissa Nadler, and Freeway.

In 2017, LushLife released an mixtape, My Idols Are Dead + My Enemies Are in Power, to accompany a new social justice project he'd initiated. The Idols + Enemies project seeks to "bring together artists, activists, and academics to explore how we got here, and what to do next. We stand with poor folks, Muslims, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and all Americans against any attack on our civil rights." To coincide with the release of Idols + Enemies, Lushlife launched a website to provide contextual information, calls to action, and an integrated Rap Genius-powered lyrics page where fans can annotate and discuss lyrics. LushLife has stated that all proceeds of the project will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 2010, Haldar was hired by Philadelphia-based startup Connectify, a firm that offers software to convert laptops into WiFi hot spots. He serves as Connectify's marketing director.