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Beyond Bars: Reason Talks ‘The Second Coming’, Reason Season & Mzansi Hip Hop

We had an insightful and exclusive chat with local rapper Reason about his work, thoughts and life. Read on

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At no point are the intersections of intellectualism and Hip Hop easier to discern than through hooks armed with double entendres that lyrical genius Reason brandishes so well. Quite simply, revelling in his creativity is an everyday practice. But beyond the stage? As all good things must, we had the privilege of catching up with him recently to converse about everything Reason. Here, he scratches the surface on xenophobia, his mandates with ‘the second coming’, Reason Season and Hip Hop.

QuenchSA: Please shed some light on the genesis of your interest in pursuing a music career. When and how did you start doing this?

Reason: Coming up I was hanging out with Zubz, ProVerb and all those guys. And I actually went to see them doing their thing. Aside from that I’ve always wanted to do it for fun because you’re always like ‘I wanna be a rapper, I wanna be an artist and it looks like I can do this thing ’. (But) you never really realise it can be a career. So only after seeing people who were actually in the business, people who were actually doing it and living it did I really wanna get involved…

QuenchSA: Did you doubt yourself at that point or have you always just known, ‘I can do this!’?

Reason: I had a lot of doubt because to a certain degree, the industry was going a certain direction in terms of what type of music it wanted to vibe with. It was commercial Hip Hop and I wasn’t really into that, so I did doubt myself. I wasn’t sure if the world was going to accept me for what I do.

QuenchSA: You mentioned Mzansi Hip Hop pioneers like Zubz and Proverb. The reception of Hip Hop in SA has changed a lot since then. The genre has gone from being an alternative voice to being mainstream and a commercially viable option. Since you began doing this, can you describe how things have changed?

(Thinks)…I don’t know if it has changed as much as people had hoped. The way we make music has evolved, the way we make beats has evolved, the way we release songs has evolved, the way we shoot videos has evolved, even the way we release videos. Everything has evolved, everything is just much faster and much more comprehensive. There’s a lot more business structure, there’s a lot of business involvement, there’s a lot more money in the industry. So I think it has evolved. I don’t know if it has changed so much, but I think it has kinda morphed into something else that is bigger and better.

QuenchSA: Tell us about ‘Reason Season’.

Reason: Reason season is a timeless time! (laughs). It’s going to be taking place soon. As an artist I’m growing and I’m becoming a better version of myself. It’s based on huge wave of music that is coming out that has my name on it … a huge wave of work that is coming out  that has my name on it. To a certain degree it’s like the second coming.

QuenchSA: A recent trend in SA hip hop has seen local rappers battling it out to reach gold status. Are you also pursuing this standard and what are your thoughts on this gold rush?

Reason: Erm…You are about to find out soon! I can’t really answer that question because it’s something you are gonna find out soon.

QuenchSA: Perhaps your music gave it away however you one can never draw such conclusions, who has had more influence on your music, Tupac or Biggie?

Reason: (Laughs). Funny enough I actually looked up more to Biggie. I relate to him a lil’ bit more. He’s the one guy who was more appealing to me just in terms of the style, his flavour, what he talks about and how he approached his music. And the other guy… just in terms of how he approached life. On the music side Biggie was my guy and at an artistic level Pac was my guy.

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Reason to live: the rapper joined Ma-E and L-Tido to showcase his life as a working father on reality show Rap Dads

QuenchSA: Do you look up to anyone locally?

Hugh Masikela. I like to learn from the guy in terms of who he was and the guy he was trying to be at that time. He was in a position where he wasn’t even allowed to make or release music in his own country at that time and the desire to actually grow from that to an international career, international collabos, and establishing himself back in his own time…I think that was a very interesting life that I want to aspire to.

QuenchSA: There’s a strong perception that you straddle the lines between conscious music and commercial appeal. Do you think there’s any truth to this?

I guess I’m whatever people see me and get. As long as you get the music and buy the music, come to the shows and you download the music, I’m very open to being considered whatever there is.

Personally for me there should be space to just be able to be an artist at all times, it doesn’t really matter whether they call you a club artist or a conscious artist or whatever, you should just be able to do everything.

I guess sometimes people have boxes that need to actually explain what they are looking at. Maybe some people want to put up a box and say that ‘we looking at a conscious rapper that can do some commercial stuff’ or ‘a commercial rapper that can do some conscious stuff.’ For me I think it’s all about creation, it’s more about making music and being able to do everything.

Reason RED Shhh

Reason remains mum on the Gold issue

QuenchSA: How did the No More Xenophobia collab come about? More specifically, was your participation in the song telling of how much the issue meant to you at a personal level?

7. Psyfo was actually the one who called me up one night, suggesting that we should actually do something about it and he had a very interesting perspective about it which was to actually take the point of view of the victims and that was quite interesting thing because in the back of my head I didn’t know what we were going to do or what the song was going to achieve just based on the fact that everybody was making one. He had a very interesting angle that I thought was really necessary and that was the perspective of the person who is actually feeling the pain, and that was actually quite cool, creatively it was quite cool. It was a nice way to approach the situation

QuenchSA: Do you think you have done enough this year to be positioned higher in the best MCs in land?

(Laughs). We are about to find out!

QuenchSA: What’s next?

Reason: Reason Season…

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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