BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Music is therapeutic -- not just for people listening, but for the artists who create it.
That's certainly the case for Rexx Life Raj, who just released his new album "The Blue Hour."
Raj was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in the East Bay. The album title is based on a photoshoot he did in the Bay Area, but on a deeper level, it's mainly about dealing with grief.
Raj lost both of his parents in 2021. He said he wrote most of the songs while his mom was battling cancer and up until his dad's death.
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"It's just about the feelings and grief and the thoughts and emotions that come with it. I feel like a lot of times, it's not discussed how it's supposed to be discussed because people hold it in, harbor it, and they don't want to lay that stuff on other people," Raj said. "So I try to open up as much as I can so people can kind of live through me when it comes to that."
Raj's Bay Area influence is everywhere, in fact, he went to school with rapper G-Eazy.
Naturally, the question had to be asked: Who was cooler? Raj laughed and then without hesitation said, "That's hilarious. I was definitely cooler."
"G was cool. I think we were all cool. We were just young and rapping. I think in high school, especially early high school, how cool can you really be? You're trying to figure yourself out, figure the world out," he continued.
The two re-connected a few years ago to make some music.
"G was one of the first people to reach out to me. That's why I'll always respect him, and he always has my love and admiration. He's so good at reaching back down to people who want to come up, especially from the area and provide them with a platform for their talent. I have a tremendous amount of love for him," Raj said.
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After high school, Raj played Division I football at Boise State but said he absolutely knew he'd never make it to the NFL and music was his priority.
Well, it's worked out so far. Raj has more than 65 million plays on Spotify and just announced a nationwide tour along with his album release.
So in the end he did go "pro" -- the only thing that changed was the stage.
View the full interview in the video player above this story.
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