Rexx Life Raj brings out Kojey Radical in touching show born from grief and loss

Rexx Life Raaj was as vulnerable an artists I can remember seeing on stage and even more admirable was the fact he could look every single fan in the eyes.

I walked through the doors of Jazz Cafe expecting to walk out of them a few hours later concluding whether the Oakland, US, musician was a rapper or singer.

As it was, I remain none the wiser but more confident than ever that to label someone who so effectively transcends the two disciplines, as one or another does Rexx not only a disservice but would be inaccurate too.

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Rexx explained how his latest album 'The Blue Hour' was born out of double heartache having lost his parents during the pandemic within the space of just a few months.

With his lyrics across the record sharing more feeling than story-telling, Rexx taking time in between songs to explain their inspiration really added substance.

It was my first time at the Jazz Cafe in Camden for three years and I can't think of another venue more apt for the show full of feeling, given its mature cool ambience.

Sadly, though, given its intimate size there was the odd excruciating moment of pals chatting away, oblivious to the room falling silent to hear Rexx's heartbreaking accounts of bereavement.

It was not all conversations of despair as Rexx countered each tale of struggle and indeed song, with an uplifting, evocative spin of another lesson learned.

Few will have left the venue without feeling at the very least a little bit inspired.

With Brit singer-songwriter Danny Sanchez warming up the crowd, I couldn't help but be distracted by a passing hooded man whose dangling white beads all but confirmed my suspicions of a guest appearance.

How could Rexx Life Raj come to the UK and not link up with 2020 collaborator and man of the moment Kojey Radical? Who had sold out O2 Academy Brixton, just a week earlier.

Oddly enough, the duo didn't perform 'Aura' together but rather Rexx handed over the stage for Kojey's 'War Outside' from his Mercury Prize nominated album 'Reason to Smile'.

You'd be hard pressed to catch the 29-year-old from London in a smaller setting over the next several years so Kojey's cameo really was a treat to savour.

The showman everyone had come to see, Rexx, clearly left nothing out on the stage having worked hard to create a togetherness and united atmosphere with his fans.

Ringing around my head on the way home was not a song but a catchy chant repeated throughout the evening.

"When I say Rexx, you say Life… Rexx"

"Life!"

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