B-Sides: Elujay

A series highlighting up-and-coming artists that are worth checking out

Each week reporter Jessica Myers finds rising artists that students might want to tune in to.

Who he is:

Indie rapper Elujay is a vocalist, producer and songwriter from Oakland who has been tapping into more soulful and R&B sounds as his second full length project nears. 

According to Elujay’s website, he has been on a mission to create “honest, soulful music,” while sharing what it was like growing up in the Bay Area. 

His music is inspired by artists like D'Angelo, Musiq Soulchild and Kendrick Lamar.

Elujay has not released a full length project since 2016 “Jentrify”. This album is full of melodious sounds and soulful, catchy hooks. This album is an ode to the Bay Area, incorporating nostalgic sounds and feelings to capture the culture of Oakland.  

Popular/ New Songs:

Elujay has released two new singles on Spotify this year, “Locked In” and “Starchild.” These two songs move slightly away from his older sounds towards a funkier R&B groove. His melodic tone in these two new tracks have a sweet fusion of indie and R&B, reminiscent of artists like Steve Lacy.  

His most recent song, “Locked In,” released on June 1st, might just be the Oakland native’s funkiest track yet. The song is layered with interesting, experimental sounds and funky guitar melodies. This wavy tune is filled with lustful, longing lyrics, with bridge “When the light don’t shine, shine for you / I can be your light / In the darkest depths of solitude / I can be your key.” 

“Starchild” is a clean R&B track — this is the type of song you want to put on repeat to keep the good/chill vibes up. Repeated line "She’s on my mind" is echoed with varied vocals from Elujay, showing his range. The track has a dizzying sensuous energy to it, with a whopping mystification that feels like love at first listen.  

“Golden,” released in 2017, is his 3rd most popular song on Spotify at the moment. This song, different from his chill, newfound R&B style, has more of a club vibe to it. The experimental song is similar to what you’d find from popular artists like Goldlink. This rap track is upbeat and hints at electronic vibes. With lines like "That skin is golden like the ocean filled with Hennessy / I like your soul / I got control / I got your energy," this song captures an exciting, upbeat party environment, a perfect pump-up tune before a night out on the town. 

Favorite Song:

2016 track “Soul Food” starts out with the line “Hands up don’t shoot.” This song is Elujay’s way of bringing recognition to the Black Lives Matter movement, highlighting his frustration with the world as it is now. The song’s message gathers slowly throughout the track, then really narrows in on the injustices persons of color, of all ages, have to face in the last verse. The meaning of the song is clear, and it seems very intentional. The line “Why we gotta protest and say our lives matter?” is one of the lines that stood out to me the most in the song. The political song has a catchy-as-ever R&B hook, interlaced with soothing, female harmonies. The chorus really hints at the sound Elujay would find less than two years later. 

Conclusion:

Elujay’s new sound, leaning more towards indie, R&B grooves, leaves listeners excited for new music. 

Upcoming shows:

Healy – With Elujay

Friday, July 27

Valley Bar, Phoenix



Reach the reporter at jlmyer10@asu.edu or follow @jessiemy94 on Twitter. 

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