(AllHipHop Features) Any up-and-coming producer would value the chance to have their work be the first thing listeners hear on a major label performer’s debut album. HighDefRazjah was able to experience that rare opportunity when RCA recording artist A$AP Ferg opened his Trap Lord LP with the Razjah produced “Let It Go.”
Having a breakout placement on one of the most critically acclaimed Hip Hop albums of 2013 exposed Razjah’s sound to rap fans worldwide, and since that time he has managed to parlay that accomplishment into more work with other stars of the genre. HDR is now ready to push the culture forward through his kaleidoscopic musical concepts.
[ALSO READ: HighDefRazjah Releases 'Drug Habits – Vol 1' Vlog Featuring MikeWillMadeIt & Rae Sremmurd (VIDEO)]
“When I listen to the radio, I just hear repetition even if it’s a beat or flow. It gives me the motivation to set a bar for music or create a new genre for music that people can party and vibe to,” Razjah tells AllHipHop.com. “When you hear one of my productions, I want it to take you somewhere else. I want you to ride to it.”
While crafting tracks for the likes of Ferg, the Virginian also wanted to use his personal project to take his followers on a spaced out ride through his psyche. In March, Razjah released Psychedelic. The project was conceived after one of its creator’s magic mushroom trips, and the result was a collection of tunes that rightfully embodies the EP’s title.
“I was doing shrooms like twice every two months. It’s good for the creative process. That’s what put me in the mindset to do this project,” explains Razjah. “I did all these songs in two days. I mixed and engineered them myself. On the night before I dropped it, I actually recut three songs. I sat up for like seven hours until 8 o’clock in the morning until it was complete. Then I sent it out.”
Psychedelic also features production from Lex Luger, the fellow VA beat maker who is responsible for Rick Ross’ “B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" and Jay Z & Kanye West’s "H•A•M.” Razjah and Luger have known each other since elementary school. After the two Suffix natives became closer in high school, Lex went on to gain national exposure for the double platinum record “Hard In The Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame.
The pair grew apart as Lex’s profile continued to rise. However, Luger's Caesar-esque return to the Hampton Roads metropolitan area from Atlanta reunited him with Razjah, and they have been building together ever since.
“I didn’t talk to him for like 4 or 5 years. Then in 2014 he returned to Virginia and he hit me up,” says Razjah. “He inspired me to get in the booth and be an artist. He was the first to believe in me about being an artist. I really respect him a lot for that.”
HDR adds, “Lex has had a big impact on my music career. As a friend, as a brother, as my daughter’s godfather, he’s just a big impact on my life.”
Lex Luger is just one of the big named production minds that Razjah has managed to log studio time with. He regularly travels down I-85 to work with Mike Will Made It’s Ear Drummers label in Atlanta. Razjah first connected with the collective through Rae Sremmurd’s deejay Jay Sremm. The relationship began when Razjah reached out to Sremm in order to share some of his tracks.
“He sent beats to my email while we were in New Zealand,” says Jay Sremm. “From there I knew he had a different wave, because they sounded like he was from New Zealand but he was somewhere in the U.S.”
One of those beats eventually found their way to Rae Sremmurd member Swae Lee. Razjah later met Swae and his brother Slim Jimmi during a concert at Old Dominion University. That initial introduction led to him recording with the "No Flex Zone" rhymers and their mentor Mike Will. The hit maker serves as sort of a tutor for HDR as well.
“Being around Mike and seeing how he works - he’s a genius. He showed me his work ethic. 2016 is going to be a great year for Mike and everybody at Ear Drummers,” Razjah states. “When I went to Atlanta, he was working on Ransom 2. He played us some records. He recut a Bun B record, and he gave me the blessing to add a breakdown in it. So I added some pieces here and there. The record was so dope.”
In all likelihood, the next 8 months are set to be great for Razjah too. He is currently in talks with a major label to sign as a producer and an artist, he is putting together an animation YouTube series, and he contributed to Rae Sremmurd’s SremmLife 2. Razjah is also finalizing his own A Drug Habit Story. The album is set to arrive with a short film and original score.
In addition, Razjah’s catalog is likely to include a joint project with another Lex Luger production disciple. He talks about teaming with Norfolk, Virginia’s Kino Beats to put together a 5-song EP with Lex as the executive producer.
“Razjah is nonstop in the studio,” says Kino. “He really works around the clock honing his sound and taking his music to a whole new level.”
While his brand of art is rooted in the 757 where he grew up and his sometimes second city of the ATL, Razjah is not only cemented in the prominent 808s sound from the southern part of America. His life journey is inspiring him to expand musically.
“Traveling let me know there’s more than Trap music. It’s different styles out here,” HDR states. “When you bring two styles together on one song, it’s a hit.”
As he continues to collaborate with super-producers Lex Luger and Mike Will Made It as well as Zaytoven and TM88, collecting hit records is likely to become a normal occurrence for HighDefRazjah. In the not too distant future, he could even be the one inspiring the next generation of board masters.
“Just being around them, I just soak up the energy and gain experience from it,” says Razjah about time spent with highly successful record producers. “It let’s me know that it’s possible. One day it might be a kid who’s been waiting to get in the room with me, so I just try to learn from it and pass down information.”
Stream HighDefRazjah’s Psychedelic below.