Local rapper Shane Eagle took time to sit down with City Press a few weeks ahead of the release of his latest project, a performance you can stream called Xenergy.
Crafted using some of the work from his latest album Dark Moon Flower, Xenergy is a slick repackaging of seven songs performed in a large studio that makes the set seem like it’s taking place in the subconscious, untouched mind space.
Projections appear behind him as he stands on a platform surrounded by dark waters. It feels like a window to his id, all on your screen. We met at a secret location in Johannesburg.
The 24-year-old rapper from Rabie Ridge in Midrand is quite choosy about who he speaks to and even more discerning about who he lets into his inner sanctum.
Eagle, whose real name is Shane Patrick Hughes, has cemented his standing in the rap lane since his days on Vuzu’s rap talent search The Hustle.
Now international artists come knocking at his door for collaborations. He already has strong ties to US rapper J Cole’s Dreamville Records via his a collaboration with Bas, a member of that vibrant stable.
Eagle even toured with the label last year through a valued connection he has with Cedric Brown, an in-house producer at Dreamville.
“I have certain key people who I check in with to see if this is okay, is this the right move right now? You know, older heads and one of them right now is a homie who became a good friend. He’s a Dreamville producer and I met him when I went on tour with them. So, he worked on Dark Moon Flower. Since then, I’ve been using him as a reference. If I work on something, I’ll be like, yo, what do you think of this? Give me an honest critique,” he says.
Xenergy has been released in instalments leading up to its complete release on October 16.
Eagle has been approached by a few companies looking to build a show or performance around him, but he had ideas of his own.
“So peep this, though – everybody came to me with this concept because I’ve been trying and people have been trying to book me for shows during this time [of the pandemic], but they all had the same concept. Look, I had already built this particular concept on my own, but everybody was trying to get me to sell tickets to my fans. So it’s like, okay, Shane, you do a show, we’ll do a digital show. You sell it to them at R60 a pop and they can come watch you on this digital space. I was like, cool, I hear you.
“But I don’t like the idea of selling a ticket to my fans to come watch me on a digital show.”
He is one of a few artists who actively tours the country in the spirit of giving back to the people – the fans he says gave him everything he has.
Last week, he made headlines for giving the fans a little too much with a raunchy picture on Twitter, showing off his male appendage.
Speaking to him, a demeanour of clout chasing was not apparent, and he genuinely seems invested in his craft.
He revealed that he was exploring the works of Mos Def and he also let us in on a secret around a pending collaboration with Harlem-based rapper Dave East.