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A-Reece/Khuli Chana: HYPE x NEDBANK (DEVIANCE COVER STORY)

[object object] A-Reece/Khuli Chana: HYPE x NEDBANK (DEVIANCE COVER STORY) Khuli Chana A Reece2 1

HYPE MAGAZINE & NEDBANK

PRESENT

DEVIANCE.

FT. A-REECE & KHULI CHANA

STORY BY RUDZANI “ROO” NETSHIHENI

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY

 

MAKE UP BY

 

STYLING BY FILA

STYLED BY:
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A-Reece & Khuli Chana Dressed By FILA

I could never have imagined that I would’ve  gotten these two together for this. Those that know me know that I’ve always been about trying to create not just unique content but purposeful content that we at HYPE hope will act as a source of new information/inspiration for those searching. This ‘DEVIANCE’ cover story featuring A-Reece and Khuli Chana was created to highlight the differences and similarities between two hip hop generations. The respect and relationship that A-Reece and Khuli have always been looked as an ideal one because not only has Reece verbalised his appreciation for Khuli but Khuli continues to showcase his admiration for Reece. This ‘DEVIANCE’ cover story is a special one and however is reading this, I hope the conversation below helps your artistic journey. I hope you embrace your destiny.

Love Roo.

“I had Khuli open up for me at my first show, it was a favor
I don’t treat it as a simple thing
I was 16 when he did that”- A-Reece (Meanwhile In Honeydew)

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Fellas, Khuli Chana, A-Reece, thank you so much for coming through.

Khuli Chana: Yeah thank you.

You know we did some awesome stuff today and it’s quite an honor for me to have the both of you guys. And I know before this we were talking about some crazy stuff but before I get into that I just wanted to ask you a personal question. How did you guys actually meet? Who approached who? Who saw who first?

Khuli Chana: A-Reece… Was it through pH? Was it through Raw X?

A-Reece: Nah, it was before that. It was through, I forgot the cats’ name though but he was trying to manage me and all that. He was trying to turn me into a gospel rapper and that couldn’t happen.

Roo: [Laughs]

Khuli: [Laughs] Whose that?

Reece: His name escaped my mind but he was the one who took me to Raw X studios but you had a performance at… Well, they changed the name of the place now…

Khuli: In PTA? But I remember the first time I heard you was on that joint… was it about Cassper?

Reece: Yeah, ‘Cassper’s Picture’.

Khuli: Yeah ‘Cassper’s Picture’ that was the joint.

Oh, really?

Khuli: Yeah and then we connected, I think through Gavin, then you got introduced to Raw X. There’s a homie of mine, Gavin, who used to talk about him all the time.

So what was your (first) impression of Reece? And I’m going to ask the same to you (Reece) about Khuli…

Khuli: First time I heard Reece, it was mind-blowing you know for me it was just like sh*t I guess there’s a whole lot more from where we come from. And then I knew it was Motswako inspired. I could pick it up. I already knew where he was from so it felt like okay cool there’s definitely like a brighter future for the sh*t that we do.

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A-Reece Dressed By FILA

And what was your impression of Khuli? I’m sure it was a huge moment for you when you met.

Reece: shhh…

Khuli: [Laughs]

Reece: I remember I grew up on like 50 Cent you know? Shady Aftermath if it’s not that is like your Last Emperor, Immortal Technique so when I heard Motswako Originator man it changed my life. Because I was like damn this is crazy… Okay, let me put it this way right, back in PTA, before I even started rapping there was like a group called Tsotsi Mentality. It was a bunch of dudes that were like rapping about some thug life sh*t you know what I’m saying? And they used vernac and it was so Pretorian so I was like damn.

Khuli: Where were they from?

Reece: Right in Pretoria, where I’m from, West View. Right there. CDs and everything. Bro those ni**as would burn their own CDs and write the name of the album with like a koki…

Khuli: [Laughs] And then push the sh*t…

Reece: Yeah they had to…

That’s like that old school method… And I think what’s so interesting about what we’re doing right now is like I was explaining to you Khuli, the generational gap between both of yall. Khuli Chana without a doubt a living legend you know what I mean? A-Reece is this young god… I’ve always wanted to know, Khuli you’ve maintained your career for such a long time and you’ve maintained your popularity for such a long time… We’ve seen so many examples of the old generation artists fading out until we forget about them. But you (Khuli) have kept yourself within conversations. How did you do that?

Khuli: Geez… You know for me man you go through so many phases and one of my worst fears was the ceiling. I’ve seen a lot of the dudes that came before hit that ceiling. And once, you know, words like Legend are thrown at me… I mean that used to give me a complex. It used to make me feel…What does that even mean? Are yall saying I’m done? Am I out of here? [Laughs] real talk it used to give me a complex but you know A-Reece, Kiernan, Cass… In many ways, all the guys that came after me made me kind of embrace it and I kind of say Kiernan sought of immortalized me by dropping my name on his records. He made me understand the influence that I had you know what I mean? Because I, from Motswako Originator, Lost in Time... I was also just so locked in. I wasn’t aware of the impact that I had but I’ve always been playing the long game. I’ve always been in it for the long term and you know, you make long term moves and that’s what keeps you around. And I think the relationships, the little things… I remember when I went to his (A-Reece) high school, it was a couple of years back!

Roo: Woah…

Khuli: Little did I know that it meant that much to him and years later he talks about it on a record. You know it schools, anybody that’s like new generation hip hop, it kind of introduces them to Khuli Chana. Anybody is like who the f*ck is that? To hear A-Reece drop those jewels meant a lot to me, so yeah just the long term thig man… I think I’ve always had that foresight and I’m just happy that he’s gone full circle… Because I’ve had that foresight about some cats who’ve just never got to meet the vision and never got to the finish line.

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Khuli Chana Dressed By FILA

“We want to see more wealthy musicians, you know what I mean? So that’s where I’m at right now, I want to make more classics but I want to be significant you know?” – Khuli Chana

Speaking about foresight that’s something that I also feel like you Reece have also adopted because you’re definitely at the top without a doubt. Have you thought about long term plans too?

Reece: Yeah… I think about it every time especially regarding the fact that I didn’t go to college and my parents wanted me to go to college but I just wanted to do this music thing. So I was like, I’m going to take this route. So I have to prove to them that I have a reason behind me doing this and Its not just because I’m ducking college or I’m just trying to do this because it’s the easy way out. I have a passion for it… And just having a long term plan aligned with your music that’s like leaving a legacy.

Khuli: Uh Huh…

Reece: So many dope artists are out there man but some of them are just R.I.P… The music is there but nobody is really paying attention, nobody knows their history though…

Khuli: Yeah…

And a lot of people like fans, just think that music is the only important aspect of an artists life but we know that there are a lot of other things like money (management) for example is also important. You don’t have to go into detail but could you just shed some light on the way you’ve maintained your finances too… Because you know that our culture, hip hop culture is majority about flexing you know what I mean?

Khuli: Yeah, very interesting man because I’m part of a huge campaign that speaks to that. So we’ve got this huge creative hub called AMPD and we host these masterclasses talking about money, talking about managing money and I’ve always been so conflicted between you being a rapper that celebrates splashing dough but on the flip side you’ve got to learn how to manage your dough but I think what saved me man was hanging around guys that are better than me. At a certain point, I started hanging around guys that weren’t rappers real talk. I hung out with the accountants, the lawyers, with the guys that live a completely different life from what I do. You know what I mean? And that kind of balances you out. And when you look at their moves, when you listen in to the conversations you like sh*t you know? As I said, my worst fear is the life after music and when you now become a father and sh*t gets real. And you know you want to go on holidays with your kid, you want to do normal sh*t so s/o to the guys like Phenyo, I’ve always had some really solid, forward thinker guys that understand money and they’ve kind of helped me out. And yo! I’ve also done some dumb sh*t with money. I mean I’ve learned from a lot of mistakes from before I even landed this AMPD deal… I tried to open a creative hub myself, no business plan, just like “here’s some money now build some studios, films….”. No projections, no business plans. Just passion and then next thing you know, money is down the drain and you’ve got to pick it up.

Reece with you, with regards to the finance topic, you’re young and all these kids are looking at your lifestyle. Do you think about the financial situation too or have you also gone through some sort of reevaluation process overtime?

Reece: Yeah definitely, reevaluation, I was in a reevaluation stage regarding my finances but me personally I’m not really like a big spender or whatever you know? So with me, it’s just learning how to use my money, it’s not really like learning how to save but like learning how to use it, what to invest in you know? The right people to talk to, all of that so right now I’m currently in the space where it’s about me meeting new people.

What would you say are some of the biggest mistakes that young artists do when they start blowing up? Because most of the time I see so many examples personally when an artist has got so much clout and a lot of things are happening but down the line… Are there certain mistakes that you have probably recognized that young kids continue to make?

Khuli Chana: I think every artist goes through it and you gotta go through it. We started wasting a lot of dough before we learned how to manage the money you know what I mean? We all went through a phase I think around, after Motswako Originator, JR was popping, Teargas was popping and we would all be hanging out together and it was that time where everybody felt like they needed to show up. And then guys started to grow up a little bit, but like I think what inspires me about him (Reece), put the money aside right, is his work ethic because that in itself is an investment. This guy’s catalog is crazy and he stays working. And that’s his intellectual property, that’s an investment so he may not know the big moves just yet, he doesn’t need to because he’s focused on his main thing. On the flip side, I got exposed to the brand partnerships and all these money moves but you kind of lose sight of the main thing. You watch it and say okay cool if I can balance these two out, have the work ethic and some business moves, you’ll be unstoppable.

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A-Reece Dressed By FILA

“I mean right now I’m unstoppable” – A-Reece

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A-Reece Dressed By FILA

That’s crazy and with the work ethic I totally agree, I mean this guy (A-Reece) is consistent with the drops. Lets talk about the music side or the artistry side, I guess I’ll speak to Reece first, how have you been growing as an artist because all your projects have always been different, for me they act like time capsules where you can sort of feel that this was a certain state of mind also a timeframe. How are you growing as an artist if you can define that?

Reece: I mean, this is like how I know. This is the first way for me to know, people telling me like “yo man I was listening to From Me To You & Only You and I’m listening to Reece Effect“… Damn, I’m like we here now you know? Because I need time to have a proper discernment on that because I’m always working. So I’m not like, I’m making that album and am going to sit down and be like “yeah this is my great work”.

Khuli: Yeah…

Reece: You know? I’m like man… I’ll end with this and then go work with something else. The latest project that I put out, I like to think it’s like…

Khuli: “Next Level”

Reece: “Next level”

Khuli: And you’re still independent?

Reece: Yeah, because like judging from me just leaving the label and having to do all those things on my own also like putting effort into the craft…

Roo: Like self-investment…

Khuli Chana: There you go!

Reece: If I could create something like Reece Effect for you with all that going on, you know I’m proud of myself.

And Khuli we’ve seen sort of how you’ve continued to grow as an artist over the past 2/3 years you did the One Source vibe, that was wild right? Right now we know you’ve got something on the way how have you also grown? Because it’s tough for me to imagine what kind of space that Khuli Chana is getting into now.

Khuli: Ay man for me the stars are aligning and I think as a business move it was the worst move but it probably was one of my best investments in the sense that I got to do the work, I got to spend more time in the booth. And it was a long journey because you just go through a phase where you’re confidence is not where it was right? And I’m grateful for having gone through that you know what I mean? And going back to the basics of just like rapping to yourself and just like practicing. And I met some really amazing artists, I got to do something with him (A-Reece) that’s really special and how everybody was just like willing, I did something with Manu Worldstar, real special… Yeah, it’s a very special project to me only because I had to literally build myself from the bottom musically.

Hmm… it’s hard to hear that you went through that break-down moment.

Khuli: Yeah, it was a weird time because like I said, the game is shifting, things are changing and on the one hand you’re traveling the world. I mean at one point I had become like a speaker, I’m out in Kansas city speaking, I’m out at Cannes doing… So on the one side, my mood was saying Absolut is great but I’m not banging in the streets, so there’s a disconnect and I could feel that I wasn’t as connected to the fans as I used to be so yeah I had to go back.

Did you (Reece) feel that? Like…

Reece: Yeah, I definitely felt it.

Reece with you, with regards to the finance topic, you’re young and all these kids are looking at your lifestyle. Do you think about the financial situation too or have you also gone through some sort of reevaluation process overtime?

Reece: Yeah definitely, reevaluation, I was in a reevaluation stage regarding my finances but me personally I’m not really like a big spender or whatever you know? So with me, it’s just learning how to use my money, it’s not really like learning how to save but like learning how to use it, what to invest in you know? The right people to talk to, all of that so right now I’m currently in the space where it’s about me meeting new people.

What would you say are some of the biggest mistakes that young artists do when they start blowing up? Because most of the time I see so many examples personally when an artist has got so much clout and a lot of things are happening but down the line… Are there certain mistakes that you have probably recognized that young kids continue to make?

Khuli Chana: I think every artist goes through it and you gotta go through it. We started wasting a lot of dough before we learned how to manage the money you know what I mean? We all went through a phase I think around, after Motswako Originator, JR was popping, Teargas was popping and we would all be hanging out together and it was that time where everybody felt like they needed to show up. And then guys started to grow up a little bit, but like I think what inspires me about him (Reece), put the money aside right, is his work ethic because that in itself is an investment. This guy’s catalog is crazy and he stays working. And that’s his intellectual property, that’s an investment so he may not know the big moves just yet, he doesn’t need to because he’s focused on his main thing. On the flip side, I got exposed to the brand partnerships and all these money moves but you kind of lose sight of the main thing. You watch it and say okay cool if I can balance these two out, have the work ethic and some business moves, you’ll be unstoppable.

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Khuli Chana & A-Reece Dressed By FILA

What were you thinking when you saw one of your idols go through that?

Reece: Man you know when I look at one of my favorites artists, I look at them as people first.

Khuli: Respect.

Reece: So for me, it was like ay man he’s doing his thing you know and it always happens. It always happens in hip hop. It always happens with your favorite artists. So I always knew that there was going to be a point where it’s like this. Like “I’m back in the gym”

And have you also gotten into that space too? As young as you are…

Reece: I mean right now I’m unstoppable.

Khuli Chana: [Laughs]

I wanna close this off because I don’t want to hold you for too long. Let’s talk about projection. I assume that when you were younger Khuli…

Khuli Chana: Yeah…

…You had a certain goal or a certain image of success that you wanted to reach. Like “I want to be at the top of SA hip hop” and you got it right? Next could’ve been “I want to build this for myself and my family” and you got that too. Oh and “I want to grow my influence pan African wise” and you did that. Where to from here? Is this project coming going to give us the answer?

Khuli: Yeah, we were talking before they started rolling, having a conversation. Its something I learned… That the come-up never stops. And that’s pretty much where I’m at right now, I feel like I’m on the come-up all over again. You gotta keep just reinventing yourself and like back to him, with his work ethic, when you stay on, you just keep exploring and keep discovering. There’s levels to this music and even in business, so for me right now, I think its more about significance. I want to be the change, you know with the moves that I’ve made with Absolut there was always some significance in it. That was about Africa’s creativity. Right now I’ve got AMPD studios, now it’s about the emerging artists, not only are these guys going to work as hard as him, I want them to manage their look better. We want to see more wealthy musicians, you know what I mean? So that’s where I’m at right now, I want to make more classics but I want to be significant you know?

Reece, I’m not going to ask you the same question, but it still relates. What story are you narrating right now?

Reece: Man like I’m just trying to just make this music and use it as well to discover some other talents. Before really getting into music, I’ve always wanted to write, whether its anything, I just love writing. So that’s one of my passions too, so this music is like conduit you know? Eventually, I would love to get into directing because I feel like I can do that.

Khuli: So we’re going to do a book deal? I need a book.

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A-Reece Dressed By FILA
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MashBeatz Dressed By FILA

Final question, you obviously spoke about Reece’s worth ethic as something that you respect but if he wasn’t sitting in front of you right now and I asked you to describe A-Reece, how would you describe him?

Khuli: A-Reece is, and I know this word has become watered down but he is authentic to me. He’s the one artist that really sticks to his guns and for me, that’s what inspired me because it came to a point where I came switching my style and the minute I went back to how I do it… It works for him, how he stays true to himself.

Reece, what’s the one thing that you’ve always wanted to ask Khuli Chana?

Reece: Man like I want to know about your music-making process because I love the music-making process and I love how every single artist has a music-making process. And I’ve listened to your songs, it’s like you have certain ways you go at them like… Let me make an example say you’re trying to make a ‘HazzadazMove’ right…

Khuli: Yeah that was an interesting one…

Reece: Definitely know the hook coming in first, you know what I’m saying?

Khuli: We actually did the adlibs first with that joint.

Reece: oh word?

Khuli: Yeah so we only had adlibs and then I wrote after. So we jammed that joint for like a full day with just adlibs and we were like this sh*t is a vibe it should actually go out like this. But its something I’ve seen Jabba do when I think he was recording Tswaka. We walk into the studio all we hear is thumping, bumping… “What this n***ga working on now?”, “Tswaka Tswa Tswaka…”. No verse no nothing and then right after that he jumps in and does the verse and it just comes together. And it feels like a live performance with all these adlibs, so here that’s how the joint was recorded.

Reece: What about when you pen down like rap songs? You know usually when you write a rap song it’s very written about a subject. So do you like go into your archives or you just straight-up bash how you feel?

Khuli: I just kind of bash how I feel and just find the subject as we move but a lot of the times man its just… Its weird man it takes me a while to write. Like I let myself go through phases and then that becomes a subject matter period. Like Motswako Originator was about not wanting to be broke no more. [Laughs] if you listen to every record its talking about “I’m tired of being broke” and it talks about wanting to blow up. It just had this hunger in it you know? Lost In Time you know the subject matter started to change a bit where I started to celebrate more but I’ve always been big in speaking things not existence so I just kind of design my life with the words.

Roo: Khuli is there something that you’ve wanted to ask Reece?

Khuli: Yeah, I think you’re really successful, to me you’re a success story right. When I check you out on social media, and I don’t even follow you that much, I look at your fans, this guy’s fanbase is cult-like and if you had to change anything right now what would it be?

Reece: man, I wouldn’t change anything.

-END-

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