Tonight I’m taking 5 shots in one night! ……. If Hip Hop is up your alley, then you definitely have the hit track “2 Cups Shakur” on your playlist right now. If not, you have been missing out and you need some serious rescue because SA rapper, Sizwe “Reason” Moeketsi is on our list. Whoop! Whoop! He needs no further introduction because his work speaks for itself and need I say more? I should attest that this South African Hip Hop star is definitely taking things up a notch and is successfully introducing a whole new different world of Hip Hop culture. In our interview, Reason divulges the development of his hip hop career and shares his thoughts on the current state of SA Hip Hop .
Reason: I used to actually call myself “Mad Massacre” and I got to a point where I wanted to shift from being just a hardcore rapper to a real musician. So I reconsidered my name and I tried to look for something short, that would explain everything. Then I came up with “Reason” because everything happens for a reason. Every now and then its Mad Massacre or Reason but most of times it’s Reason.
YV: What were some of the challenges you faced before making it in the industry?
Reason: Having enough people that give a damn, that was the hardest challenge and having to convince enough people and the right people to support the idea. Very often people make some of the best songs in the world and those songs are never heard because there’s not enough support. It’s taken me a lot of time to actually get to a point where people accept my songs. It was a big challenge , especially convincing media that my work is just as good. There was no doubt in my mind that the music we did was good and was perfect at the time. But it was never discovered on a large scale, it was either one radio station, a hip hop show or even one or two people playing it.
YV: Who were some of your influences in the industry?
Reason: Funny enough, I actually realized that I’ve never really been inspired by people. I’ve always been inspired by achievements and actions because I’ve just realized how many times I’ve changed who my favourite rapper, performer or artist is. A lot of people have influenced me. I think there are people in the industry like Proverb and HHP. People like Trevor Noah , just for having an international career. People like Loyiso Gola, just going from being featured to having his own TV programme. Mariam Makeba and so many other people.
YV: If it wasn’t for the music what other space would you have ventured in to?
Reason: I think I would be a stripper. Hahahaha….. No, definitely not a stripper! I said it coz, I know I would make big money. Hahaha, I am kidding .
I think I would be in advertising, I mean I quit advertising to pursue hip hop music. Advertising was really my second love. I enjoyed the industry and the creative space. I do get to explore a little bit of that still. So I think I would still be in entertainment doing something on the other side like designing a cover, directing a video or conceptualizing.
YV: What was the thought process behind 2 Cups Shakur, is it just a good time song or does it have a deeper meaning?
Reason: Hahaha, it’s so deep actually I hate explaining it. There are two stories to it though. The original idea was; I was at a jazz festival, I went to go by a drink and I was swiping. So they told me I had 50 bucks in my hand and I can only swipe for that amount. So I asked how many drinks I can have for 50 bucks and they said two drinks. So I took the 2 drinks and walked around with them in my hands. A lot of people kept marveling at me. So I played around and came up with the name and called myself 2 Cups Shakur. Couples of days later when we came back to Johannesburg, we needed one more song for the album and I suggested we write a song called 2 Cups Shakur and developed a theory behind Tupac getting shot 5 times and actually celebrating his journey.
YV: Who would you like to collaborate with internationally?
Reason: I would collaborate with anybody who has a great song. I would work with any international artist who has a great song really. I have worked with a lot of international artist who are not known and they had really great songs.
YV: If you had to have lunch with your favorite music icon who would it be and why?
Reason: Hugh Masekela. For me he is like the original. He was the first to become a big superstar. He was one of the first to make music that encouraged people to fight for what they believed in and educated people about what is going on. For me, he was the first to do it and he is still doing it today. Often we get excited about things we have done in the last 3 years but I wonder if we can still do those things in 20 or 40 years.
YV: Excuse my ignorance but when I first saw all the tweets with #bumpthecheeseup I thought it might be another American banger only to find out it’s the brilliance of local talent, with that being said did you imagine that that specific track would be so big?
Reason: I hoped for it to make it big actually. I mean that whole song was an experience. That song came out after the “No Sleep Remix “and whole other songs like “Switch”. I felt like doing something new, fresh and different. Something that was Hip Hop, which was really not popular but high. I had the beat and Tumi had the phrase ‘Bump the Cheese Up’ in mind which he heard from a battle which at the end developed into an abstract – make more money. So that’s where it really started from. At the time I felt like I needed an upgrade including my fees as a performer. So a lot of people tried to talk me down. Therefore I thought it would be fun to make a song called Bump the Cheese Up.
YV: “Money’s Awake, so we don’t sleep”, so this song keeps me pumped even before I start working I play it, what was the thought process behind it?
Reason: It started out with the phrase “Motif don’t sleep all week” . I was playing around and once again I had an old beat. I was at the studio and I tried to get certain people to work on it, they never got time. The whole process behind it was when I couldn’t sleep at all because I had to do something in order stay in the game. I was really inspired. “I couldn’t sleep because I had a lot of work to do and because I had a lot of work to do I couldn’t sleep”.
YV: How does Reason’s Audio HD compare to your previous work?
Reason: I had some mix-tape in the past sharing my rappers mentality, to rapping to the Hip Hop community. My first album I was exploring. My second album I was establishing and with this album I am just going wild. This particular album is a sequel to Audio 3d. With Audio 3, I wanted to prove that I can make music and whole other things. I was on that rant and now it’s like ok check it out. So it almost feels like my career has just started right now. This album is a right way to say its official and we are doing this for life.
Reason: The guys where in the country for a show and I was performing /organizing the show. We got to host them while they were here. We took them around and showed them around town. P.H really kept the relationship going and he had to produce something for my album. So he asked them if they would interest in doing something with us for the album. They were very keen and they have been keen since they were here. So we managed to work on something at the end.
YV: Looking at the current state of hip hop, what in your own opinion stimulated the growth?
Reason: I think there was a lot of room for Hip Hop to grow. And what stimulated the growth is that a lot of people who are in the scene right now are a huge number of people who saw a gap 5 years ago. Now they are taking over and filling all the gaps. Hip Hop music has discovered its power, it’s influence and now is soaring. There are a lot of spaces that we have occupied that the rest of the industry doesn’t occupy and there are a lot of spaces which the industry has occupied but we haven’t occupied. I think hype is one and as much as we got the hype, but we don’t make the sales.
YV: What do you not like about the current state of hip hop?
Reason: Hahahaha. ……….Uhm. How do I say this without sounding some type of way?…. The lack of Hip Hop. Hahaha………. I have been criticized for being a bit too westernized in terms of my idea of what Hip Hop is but my thing about it is, there’s so many things that I grew up on that Hip Hop doesn’t have. Let me say, a rapper can say one thing today and do another the day after and no one will say anything. That to me is unrapper like. There is a lot of selfishness to a certain degree which never adds value such as influence. To me the Hip Hop culture has died and what’s left of it is the Hip Hop business.
YV: You were quoted as having said that the “The hottest MC list not true reflection of SA hip hop” Who would have been on your top 10 and in what order?
Reason: Oh man! My top 10 list would be controversial because I have people on that list who are not even as big as half of the people on the list. Hahahaha,…. Jack Parrow, OKMalumKoolkat , L- Tido would be on that list.
YV: In order!
Reason: No, no, no. I genuinely cannot put together a list of the hottest rappers in the country because we can’t quantify hotness and that’s the trap I think everyone was bamboozled into because at any given time this could be right. Someone can come to me and say but wait a minute Ricky Rick is more popular than Reason and come back and still say Khuli Chana is popular than Reason, Cassper is popular than Reason, AKA is better than Reason or K.O is better than Reason. And that to me says ok that’s the more popular list but who is hot, has the better verses, albums, videos and shows?. Then that confuses a lot of people in that section which is why I felt it was better for me to come out and say I am big to not be a number 6 and not part of top 5. I didn’t understand that. So my mentality shifted and I said to myself, “forget about the list because I am too big and I am so big that I got Pearl Thusi to twerk”!
How can your fans reach you or buy your album?
Twitter : @reason4audio3d
Facebook: Reason HD
iTunes: Buy Audio High Definition by Reason here