Its quite difficult for me to approach writing a story for someone who takes pride in writing about his life so much and it’s again more difficult to pen down a story about someone so exceedingly self-aware of his position and level within our current hip hop culture. Im talking about a kind of self awareness that delivers articulate lectures and dialogues that clearly shape his approach to music, and is further able to dissect his works in connection to previous and current cultural subjective topics. To be frank, Shane Eagle is a super-conscious individual that hand crafts all that he is doing which is ultimately why he is constantly met with high applause and praises.
For days now I’ve been searching for different sources of inspiration, even went to the extant of disappearing from my peers for a while, hoping that I would get inspired to write some “extraordinary” piece of Shane literature, but sadly that didn’t work for me. Growing up, I’ve always been an acknowledged introvert that found delight in the underdog circumstances, perhaps my overlooked persona developed an attraction towards those that I could relate to such as Batman (not the billionaire Bruce Wayne persona though…) who has no superpowers but is arguably one of the top most recognized super heroes of our time right? And this is where Shane fits in, his achievements in the past year have been nothing but remarkable – the countless ways he has impacted and continues to influence this hip hop culture of ours I’ve proudly grown up on – seems to be a mission I feel strongly to support and embrace. And so on this predestined Sunday morning, literally hours before this cover story was to be uploaded, the inspired scripts have finally come gushing out of me after realizing that I needed not to witness a white dove sitting on my bedroom window to find an inspired approach to write but because I had already written it in my sub conscious. All along I had been witnessing an underdog become a superstar right in front of my eyes. So I quickly jumped out of bed, grabbed my iPhone and wildly started typing away on the Notes app we journalistic know too well– while bumping that new ‘YE’ album for ambiance of course…
Shane Eagle is not this hip hop prodigy or god that people think he is – oh well at least I think that he doesn’t think that way of himself either. I think Shane is purely a messenger for the people, a hip hop messiah anointed to free the game from its bondage(s). I think that Shane is part of a greater scheme and that he is playing his supportive part within a larger movement the best way he knows how. Maybe it’s because of his authenticity, resilience and support structures around/beneath him that makes me see him this way. Look, he doesn’t have to convince me that he’s at the forefront of something grand– he knows we can see it and has quite a hearty respect for those that understand his dissimilarity from the rest. In the same seam, I don’t feel the need to justify my approval for his influence with hip hop because I feel it. So go ahead and try to box him into some common journalistic criticism and if you’re able to, please enlighten me because I could only criticize myself for not understanding him during his earlier days. His story really tells itself, and I’m simply just typing out my honest truths about him, and perhaps for my mind only…
With that said, as a build-up to the upcoming Yellow Tour, I briefly interviewed Shane Eagle, Kulture Kollektive Director, Jay Kayembe and visual artist Masonwabe who is also known as the 21st Century Blackman for you to enjoy and further understand why they all have come together to bring the game something never seen nor experienced before.
Okay before we get into the convo let me start by expressing myself… The first day I ever spent time with Shane I vaguely remember was early 2016 when I had my very first shoot for my first HYPE mag as editor. It was the only day I would spend some time with him prior to the artistic evolution he would soon after go through. We were in my home city and the day consisted of a max 2/3 hour shoot in one location conducted by, what I always recall, an orgy of photographers who have now become close friends. Anyways when Shane came through for his slot, he wasted no time being cooperative with the whole proceedings – I mean a quick peek at his history and you can catch that this may be one of the most humble SA hip hop acts in the game at the moment and I’m not even exaggerating, I’m typing facts straight from my head to you… Fam I swear to you 3/4 years ago I never thought I would be placing Shane amongst the highest spots of hip hop influence in my life today, especially considering the “mainstream” introductory platform he stems from. But one has to admit that his bravado character (which was the side that I initially didn’t mess with) grows on you at the same rate as he grows himself plus he truly seems like a guy that has real plans to create a better world not only for himself but those willing to follow him. A better world for those willing to purely trust him because what is the purpose of trust if it is not practised amongst our beloved selfs? Over the past few years we have all witnessed Shane become the guy that clearly has the torch in his possession at the moment, a torched proclaimed to help those that seem lost within themselves or external influences. I actually believe Shane’s light will guide us through the bullshit (quote me). I believe the game truly needs Shane (quote me again) I imagine that constantly splitting your attention between yourself, the people & mainstream media is not an easy act, but when you reach a level where you’re so conscious of your task in this uncertain world, it at-least makes it seem easier. I again have realized that being content with who & how he serves the game acts as an advantage for Shane and his works because him having gone through a transcendence over the years, highlights his entire artistic ethos if you look closely… Because we probably all can relate by confessing that we’ve all, at some time in our lives, been exposed to the wraths and negatives found in our developing culture. Wraths and negatives that expose the difficulties the majority of young artists go through to feed their aspirations & build up their “hype”. So best believe that it actually does feel… good… to see the results of inherited prosecuted ambition shine in a positive manner through seeing Shane Eagle as a physical embodiment of the light at the end of the tunnel we all hope for.
…And Shane, here at HYPE we see you pushing our hip hop culture forward and breaking down all walls that stand in your way. Shane today you are at the top of hip hop in South Africa and nobody can deny it. So much has happened over the years, the challenges, breakthroughs and victories. How have you still been able to keep yourself composed through it all, especially when one has witnessed artists switch up once they’ve achieved greatness? When you are a real person who is true to themselves in every situation, and the people around you are real, it’s easy to keep a level head regardless of the constant change happening around you…
So how did it feel then when you heard your name being called out for that Best Hip Hop album award? I imagine you were covered by a garment of pure graciousness when you walked on the stage, well it looked that way at least in my head. Before the award show I had mixed emotions about it, considering the politics surrounding whether awards are given to those who deserve it or those who pay for it. Every goal I have set for myself and my future, I have already visualized in my head so when it happens it feels the way it should. I guess I feel blessed to see Yellow get the recognition it deserves.
Word. Now when everyone in the game starts dropping the words “SA Hip Hop Is In Good Hands” attached with an image of you holding that trophy, what does that do to you? I try not to get too invested in people’s opinion of me and my music. I’m always gonna do my thing and be the person I know I am regardless of your opinion of me. If you recognize that quality in me, that’s cool , if you don’t, that’s cool too. I try not to let the opinion of others define me, I define me.
You prophesied that you would drop the best hip hop album which ‘Yellow’ is, why do you think the album was such a huge success? You must have filled up some void in the game… Because that shit is a classic my n*gga…
The ‘Yellow Tour’ is coming up and you’ve linked up with Kulture Kollektive. What makes this partnership a special one? I’m all about people with new ideas and concepts, and who are innovative. I think kulture represents that outside of the music. So partnering with them on the tour was the perfect way to bring those ideas to life.
You did mention that fans would be hearing out some new music during the tour and I like how you expressed that you and your team are basically from a different world and that you’re hear to take over the world. You working on a new album? I’m working on something special at the moment to tie the tour and the album together. I’m also working on new music, so fans might be able to hear some new shit on tour.
I’m not really a controversy seeker but I am curious on whether you did notice DJ Speedsta series of tweets that named dropped you. If you did what was your opinion on that but if you didn’t what’s your opinion artistic growth being a problem in between artistic relationships? There’s never been negative energy between Speedsta and I prior to his tweets. So I was a bit confused but I didn’t think it was necessary to respond because he apologised shortly after, it’s just crazy to see what people would say for clout and a few retweets.
Fan Support has always been an important part of an artists journey. What message of gratitude can you share to all your fans that have supported you all these years? My fans love and support me because of the music, and the only way I can show them how much I appreciate them is to keep giving them the best music I possibly can.
And it’s quite true that an artist cannot do things fully on his own and so to trust Shane Eagle means that you’ve got to trust the people around him that get him to these high levels. After recently announcing the ‘Yellow Tour’ towards a huge gathering of kids that came through to engage in Shane’s world within the newly established Kulture gallery that hosted a ‘Yellow Tour Pop-Up’ experience, we got to see the collaborative partnerships between Eagle Entertainment & Kulture Kollektive, not forgetting the 21st Century Blackman (Masonwabe Ntloko) with the arts. The people that Shane works with is testament to the authenticity that has been presented throughout his career. So of course not involving stories both from Kulture Kollektive & Masonwabe into this brief piece wouldn’t have made sense to me.
“I’m working on something special at the moment to tie the tour and the album together. I’m also working on new music, so fans might be able to hear some new shit on tour” – SHANE EAGLE
Its no secret that Kulture Kollektive has become one of the most innovative and creative entities in the game right now and having them being apart of Shane’s Yellow tour just makes perfect sense. So of course I had to talk to my big bro Jay Kayembe, who is the Director of Kulture to find out a little bit more about what Kulture is really all about and why their relationship with Shane Eagle just seems perfect.
“One of our main objectives is to break through or introduce/reintroduce artists and creatives alike to the masses” -KULTURE KOLLEKTIVE
The 21st Century Blackman (Masonwabe Ntloko)
Masonwabe is a name I only got introduced to after seeing the amazing work he has done for Shane’s Yellow Tour build-up and I’ll have to admit I was surprised that I had not know about him. When the opportunity came to get to know the 21st Century Blackman, I took it with both hands which found him talking about how it all started out for him.
“I’m always gonna do my thing and be the person I know I am regardless of your opinion of me” – SHANE EAGLE
Thoughts & Verbalz By ROO
Visualz Courtesy Of Eagle Entertainment, Kulture Kollektive & Masonwabe