MUSIC CHAT: Reason
While most South African hip-hop artists who have been on the scene since the 1990s are purists, stuck in the bygone years of battle raps and backpacking, Reason is ushering the genre into the 21st century.
On his sophomore album, Audio 3D, the wordsmith breaks down previously accepted definitions of local hip-hop by opening himself up to a variety of sonic influences.
Electro, alternative rock and dance beats are married with his raps, resulting in a progressive album with massive crossover appeal.
Kanye West was a major influence when Reason was creating the album.
"I referenced a lot of his music," Reason says.
Originally from Katlehong on the East Rand of Gauteng, Sizwe "Reason" Moeketsi first made compilations for Hype Magazine and did jingles on DJ Fresh's YFM breakfast show.
Since then he has come of age in hip-hop circles.
He is now signed to Tumi Molekane's (of Tumi And The Volume fame) Motif Records.
That deal, he explains, was made through a reimagining of a song by Tumi titled Bambezela.
"I took his song and made it my own. He liked it and took interest in my music. He kept coming around to the studio, watching and sussing us out," says Reason.
OnAudio 3D, Reason displays his knack for making something his own.
The album includes the songStay, which has the same sample as Teargas' Go Away.
"Using the same sample as someone else is often done in hip-hop. We're not doing the same thing, we're not treating it the same way. It's just a similar sample, that's all," he says.
"So, I thought let's change the whole song so you don't compare it in terms of feel, you don't compare it in terms of artists, you just compare it in terms of artistry."
There are also tracks about love, and a sociopolitical song called Don't Kill the Children.
The album's two singles, Stay and Do It Like I can, are on heavy rotation on most radio stations. The video shoot for Do it Like I Can is in progress.
Reason says he is not slacking off: "I want to challenge myself and experiment with other genres, collaborate with artists, grow and maintain what I'm about."