My playlist – J-Raj
CANADIAN born music producer J-Raj has shown off his impressive versatility by working on diverse genres with leading artists in the studio, which has resulted in plenty of hit songs.
The talented musician is also an accomplished live performer and his 2019 debut solo track Make She My Wife received rave reviews globally. The multi-talented star also hosts a popular radio show and was happy to select 10 songs he loves.
Dil Luteya by B21: This song and B21 made me fall in love with bhangra all over again. The lyrics, production, vocals and overall vibe made me excited about bhangra music, and what can be done with it. Punjabi lyricist Dev Raj Jassal captured the feeling of being in love for the first time to the point where I could see the story unfold in my mind.
Show Me Love Remix by Steve Angello & Laidback Luke vs Robin S: This track was special because of how they flipped the original. The rhythmic bassline/melody combination was insane to me. I had just started meddling with music production, so it made me want to listen, try to dissect, and learn how to produce house music. This track is influential in forming my music palette, personally and professionally.
Gabru Shakeen by Lehmber Hussainpuri & Aman Hayer: This dhol had my jaw on the floor. I was getting comfortable with playing Indian percussion instruments when I heard this song. I would practise playing dhol to this song just because I loved the tune. Aman Hayer is one of the most creative producers of the modern era. And Lehmber could make a banger just singing the alphabet.
All About The Benjamins by Puff Daddy & The Family: This album was the first cassette I purchased. Some friends in school got me on to hip hop and rap, so when they played this, I was like “what is this?”. The guitar riff, swingy drums and everything having distortion on it was so cool to me that I wanted to listen to it more. That’s where my love for hip hop started.
System Of A Down by Toxicity: The alternating time signatures blew my mind when I first heard this song. The overall musicality of this song is insane. The guitars, drums, vocal performance and writing are brilliant. This track showed me how diverse and intricate contemporary music could be.
In The End by Linkin Park: One of my favourite all-time bands paved their own lane. The lyrically relatable track is for anyone going through any type of turmoil. This track was the first I had heard of them and was instantly drawn to their sound. On a post-production level, the mixing/mastering is full, warm and well-rounded, creating exactly the feeling you’d want from this type of song.
Lust For Life by Drake: I listen to this track personally whenever I’m feeling discouraged/ aunted because the lyrics make me self-internalise the reality of the industry and of the desire for success in general. It picks at the mind of anyone in a similar situation, musician or otherwise.
Too Deep For The Intro by J Cole: I’m a huge fan of J Cole and think he’s one of the greatest. Every one of his songs paints a picture, and this one’s my favourite. Listening to how artists on the come-up deal with their circumstances and thrive is especially motivating. His word play and rhyme schemes are cleverly thought out in all his songs, especially this one.
Lady by Modjo: Initially, house/EDM was hit-or-miss for me, but this one felt so organic, even though the guitars are sampled. I felt like the 60s had been reborn with this track and still to date jam out to it. The vocals and lyrics are felt deeply due to the vocalist. After this track, I started listening to more house and progressive growing up.
Boli Pani (Summer Mix) by Soni Pabla & DJ Sanj: This track always gets me on the dance floor, irrespective of mood, occasion or location. The processing of the percussion samples slaps hard. The tumbi is distinguishable from a mile away, and the guitars are so simple, yet effective. Brilliantly thought-out productionwise. Soni Pabla has so much force and emotion to the point where you feel like he is personally egging you on to dance.