Reason is growing impatient. His interview and performance at the SABC show Expresso, at their Cape Town studios, is delayed. “And to think I was up at 5am,” he says. It’s a Friday, and the rapper’s due for a video shoot at Macassar Beach in a few hours. Later on, he’s hosting an event at the club Chez Ntemba in the CBD.
Reason outside Expresso studios in Sea Point
He’s accompanied by Mothei “Thei Thei” Letlabika and Didier De Villiers – who are both part of the clothing label Magents, which Reason has a relationship with.
After sitting outside the Expresso studios for close to an hour, Reason is told by a crew he’s due in studio after 8am. Seeing as it’s not even 7am yet, Reason decides to go back to De Villiers’ apartment to nap.
Reason rehearsing for his Expresso performance
He only naps for like five minutes, then rehearses for his performance. While going through his latest song ‘The Meters‘ – from the soundtrack to the recent film of Solomon Mahlangu’s life, entitled Kalushi – he pauses. “To think I’ll be performing this in a room full of white people,” he giggles.
‘The Meters’ is a song about land reform, with a direct opening line: “Tell them we want the land back.”
Before we know it, it’s time to get back to the studios.
Reason’s performance is impressive – it feels like a mini concert. He’s light on his feet, and performs like there’s a full audience in front of him. He performs his latest single “All The Time”, which features Gemini Major, and of course “The Meters”. The presenter talks to him about South African hip-hop’s coupe on the music industry, balancing being a dad and a rapper… the kind of stuff an SABC presenter would ask a rapper.
Reason fools around on set before his performance on Expresso
Then it’s off to Macassar.
The video shoot goes smoothly. The director, Motion Billy, is excited. This is the biggest artist he has ever worked with, after shooting videos for countless Cape Town artists such as Driemanskap, Kanyi, Amilca, Blaq Slim and more.
The song he’s shooting for is called “Celebrity (The Club Girl)”. It’s from the rapper’s upcoming fifth album Girls. Reason’s rapping about his interaction with women in clubs. “I step into the club, being ushered by some bouncers / Tryna keep a low profile, but they announce us,” he raps on the first verse. “I feel like a celebrity/ You should see the girls that be texting me.”
Reason getting his makeup done by MUA Kamogelo Masego
Reason and MUA Kamogelo Masego posing on set
Reason on set with video co-star Lerato “Shawtylor” Maliele
Reason on set with director Mpendulo Mabindisa
Girls is an album about women. To give whet his fans’ appetite, Reason put the album up on SoundCloud for half a day a few weeks ago, before being pulled down. But it wasn’t before pirates had had their way. The album has technically leaked, and has already received mixed reviews, mostly from fans who are against the rapper using autotune and rapping on trap beats.
Reason, just like his ex-boss Tumi Molekane, is a prisoner of conscious. In general, hip-hop fans refuse to progress with their artists, and Reason is currently going through that phase. Rappers lose fans as they explore new sounds.
Reason knows that, and is somehow cool with it. “I’m not emotional about that,” he said in an interview I had with him last month. “Fans are not just supposed to be kept. I don’t think Jay Z has the same fans he had when he started out. I don’t think anyone does. Fans develop a new taste, and get introduced to new stuff. And I think artists should also be introduced to new fans. No disrespect to the old fans. Because as much as we lose them, we always fight to get them back, in one way or another.”
Girls still has no official release date. Neither does “Celebrity (The Club Girl)”. But it’ll sure be Reason Season soon.