It has been about 2 years since his appearance on The Hustle, and a lot has happened. He joined JR’s record label, and then swiftly left. He started his own label. He has had six singles, with his debut song Way Up receiving great airplay on Yfm, 5fm and Highveld.
We caught up with the rapper from Johannesburg, to find out about more about what makes him revolutionary and what he is doing to change the game.
The interview and photo shoot takes place at the RHTC Playground store in Braamfontein. He is incredibly easy to work with. At the end of the shoot he asks, “Are you happy? If you’re happy – I’m happy. Frank, friendly and thoughtful, those are the words I would use to describe the 21 year old.
Not one to mince his words, he speaks clearly and passionately.
When did you realise that you wanted to make music?
In primary school. I started rapping towards end of primary school in grade 7. I took it seriously in high school. That’s when I realised that I am good at this, this is actually what I want to do. I recorded my first songs in grade 8. One of my best friends, Tackz Musiqe opened up his studio in Alexandra for me to record for free. He really was one of the first people to believe in me. That’s when I knew that I want to do this.
What is the significance of the colour yellow? Why make it the title of your album?
It’s nostalgic. Memories and sometimes visions play in my head in a like pastel yellow. I think in yellow. Everything on the album, all the stories from my childhood and all through high school that I talk about in the album, appeared to me in the colour yellow. It is the colour of my thoughts.
Take us through the writing process of Yellow
It took me about a year and a half to write everything that is on the album. I wanted to capture an honesty in the way I wrote the songs. Me and everyone who produced the album, we kinda locked ourselves sonically away from everything. We boxed ourselves in to create a unique sound. My friend Shuda Coombs produced majority of the album. What I tried to do with the beats, was to have everything produced in house. Everyone had to know each other before working on the album. It made the sound more organic. I didn’t have anything produced externally. And that’s why it sounds the way it does.
What was the hardest track on the album to right?
Convos with God. That was the most difficult song to write on the album because I had to put myself in a place where I was chilling anywhere in the world, speaking to God – what would I say to him if he was standing in front of me? I had to put myself in a place writing where I had to have a conversation that was accurate and relevant. Relevant not just to me but to everybody else.
Do you have a favourite track?
My favourite on the album keeps changing. Every song on the album has had a time to be my favourite but if I had to put together a top 5 it would be: Aliens x Convos with God, Strange, Intro, Empty Highways and Can You See.
These all tell stories that are personal to me.In the songs, I share some of my deepest thoughts and lived experiences.
You once said that this album changed your life? Tell us more…
It made me realise that it’s perfectly normal and perfectly fine to be myself in every situation. There’s a note that I leave on the physical copy of the album that says “If you are yourself in every situation, that’s how you create the realest version of yourself for your reality.” Yellow made me realise that it’s okay to be myself with all the scars and all the beauty and all the drama.
Which artists do you consider musical influences?
Influences or inspirations? Because being inspired by someone and being influenced by someone is like two different things. When you influenced you sound like someone and that’s what I am trying to avoid. My inspirations definitely include Tupac, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Muhammed Ali, Micheal Jackson, Chris Brown. Those are like an elite group of people who have changed the world and inspired people to be revolutionary. Those are the people that I look up to.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
There are so many people that I would like to work with, the first name that comes to mind is 40. As an engineer he has done so much for his artists. His known for working with Drake, he has done all the recording for Drake. I’d definitely like to work with J Cole, with Chance the Rapper, Rick Rubin, Kendrick and Isaiah Rashad.
What’s next for Shane Eagle? What can we look out for?
The next step is the classic physical hard copies of the album that are about to drop. We have this whole idea of selling the album differently because what’s the point of having an album that sounds so different, if you’re going to put it out like everybody else? We have a campaign called 20k from the Truck where our goal is to go gold “from the hands to the fans”. We plan to sell it at places like schools, everywhere really.
I will just pop out and sell signed copies of the album and we will document everything.”Listen to the music. You’ll find me in the music,” Shane says.
Whether Shane is changing the game or not is yet to be determined, but Shane is definitely leading the new school sound with music that is real.
You can stream Yellow on Deezer and Apple Music
Photography: Cole Ndelu
Styling: Dimpho Mashile
Clothing: RHTC and Butan
Makeup: Courtney Du Plooy