Music

In Conversation with Reason on His Collaboration With Swizz Beatz & Sibongile Khumalo

"It's about telling a different South African story than the one everyone is telling right now."

South African rapper Reason is working on his sixth studio album called Azania, a follow-up to last year's Love Girls.

The album's first single just came out and it features legendary jazz artist Sibongile Khumalo and Swizz Beatz who also produced the song.

Lyrically "Azania" is intense, which is what we've grown to expect from the lyricist. Reason talks about poverty, unemployment and all ills and how rappers choose to ignore all that.


He raps on the first verse:

"Let me remind you who I do this for/ My nyaope homies at the corner stores/ Getting less from addiction but always ask for more/ Just for a taste of them living above what's going on/ Coz they fit in the system that everyone belongs/ They see you pull up in Germans when you be at the mall/ See, they have never been driven, so they help you park"

Just like a majority of Swizz Beatz beats, this one also comes with a hook. Mama Sibongile Khumalo sprinkles some soul on the chorus.

"When I got the music," says Reason in an exclusive interview with OkayAfrica, "I was pretty happy with Swizz Beatz being on the song, but I needed something more special. Because the direction of the song was going to a place where it couldn't just be a rap song. I felt like a bit of musical integrity needed to be thrown in on it. I think Mam' Sibongile was the perfect Aromat to kinda take the song to that level. Especially as a wise woman in the community, her words for me were quite important."

"Azania" isn't your typical South African hip-hop single. It's somber and takes itself too serious to be the entry point to an album especially in South Africa. Asked why he chose the song as lead single, he says it sets the tone for the album, and is the opening song.

"I think having Swizz Beatz and Sibongile Khumalo on the song is a fucking big deal," he adds, "A big deal that needs to be thrown into people's faces to celebrate and uphold. Here is a mixture of mentalities, ages, environments and cultures, coming together and telling one story."

Speaking on the album, Reason says:

"There's a world of people out there that need to be reminded why they need to get up and go and fight and be entrepreneurs slash monsters. Because this is the Africa that we live in, being black is not easy. So we always have to stand up and fight and loosen up the circles. As you go into the album, there are other subjects where we talk about—the ballers in Africa, clubbing in Africa, self-medication… a whole bunch of things."

On the subject matter of Azania, he says:

"I think as a South African artist, my mission was to try and make a South African album. Politics being part of the conversation and some of the things that happen in society, they are part of it. But this is just one of the many different colors that represent South Africa. The direction of the album is telling a bunch of South African stories that have been seen and experienced through mine and other people's eyes. There is a South Africa that goes to club

Sibongile Khumalo in studio. Image supplied.


s every weekend, that pops champagne, and is balling. But we can't all represent that in the music. We can't all be that because not everybody in this world lives like that. I chose to tell my people's stories to the world, both rich and poor, happy and unhappy. It's about telling a different South African story than the one everyone is telling right now."

Listen to "Azania" below:


popular

Listen To A New Song From Nasty C’s Upcoming Album

Something different from the Durban-born rapper.

Nasty C's sophomore album, Strings and Bling is coming out in just two weeks, on July 6. A new song from the album is now yours when you pre-order or pre-save the project.

Titled "Legendary," the song sees the MC deploy the melodic flow that's now rife in rap. And, as usual, lyrically, Nasty C doesn't disappoint. He raps about his rise into stardom, asking himself how his life changed so fast. "Legendary, I'm just being legendary me/ When I'm feeling humble, smoke some ordinary weed," he sings on the hook.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

This Is How Muslims Observe Ramadan, Tiila and Eid al-Fitr in Tamale, Ghana

The month of Ramadan in the capital of Ghana's Northern Region capital is one of the most beautiful times in the community.

Although Muslims constitute about 18 percent of the population in Ghana, in a Muslim majority area like Ghana's Northern Region—where Muslims are about 60 percent of the population—the religious climate is refreshingly different.

According to data from the 2010 Population and Housing Census recorded by the Ghana Statistical Service, this is the region with the largest number of Muslims in Ghana. The month of Ramadan for many people of Tamale, the regional capital, is one of the most beautiful months of the year because the it dramatically changes many things in the city.

Below, I break down how the holy month is observed in Tamale. And before I proceed, this is not the meat Eid and no, Muslims don't drink even water while fasting.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Photo by A Kid Named Trav.

Relive OkayAfrica & Nike's Epic Naija Worldwide Bash in This New Video

Get a glimpse of the fun and good vibes featuring Burna Boy, Laolu Senbanjo, DJ Tunez and more.

Partner content from Nike

Naija Worldwide, presented by OkayAfrica and Nike, was the epitome of summertime vibes in Brooklyn this summer.

Partygoers came through to The Well to celebrate Nike's triumphant Nigeria kits as Team Nigeria headed to Russia with style. In this recap video, you'll get a glimpse of the fun along with some familiar faces like Laolu Senbanjo, DJ Moniki, DJ Moma and DJ Tunez, along with our surprise performance guest, Burna Boy.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.