Shane Eagle's new EP is what we want more of in local hip-hop

Never Grow Up: Shane Eagle demonstrates how a debut album should be followed up
Never Grow Up: Shane Eagle demonstrates how a debut album should be followed up Pictures:supplied

Shane Eagle follows up his critically acclaimed debut album Yellow with a surprisingly stunning E.P, Never Grow Up. Phumlani S Langa couldn't get enough 

Shane Eagle

Album: Never Grow Up

Available on iTunes at R69.93


Yes, I might be #Trending’s resident hater when it comes to reviewing music. But the reason I don’t compliment mediocre work is because I think our artists can do better. Shane Eagle’s new tape is what I want to hear more of.

This is grown folk music, jazzy instrumentals with a wavy rhythm section and a better Eagle than we got on the last album.

He raps like a dude who’s been doing this for a long time. The flow on Ap3x is playful and full of sentiment. I couldn’t believe it, but it gets even jazzier on Ronnie Hughes – hearing beats like this on a local album makes me think of the good old days of Optical Illusion and Proverb riding a sample of Martin Luther King Jr having a dream.

Eagle always seems to be looking to heaven for the answers as he ponders life through his music. Thank God for this, because besides swagging off in his raps – you know, talking about his girl or a Desert Eagle (gun) – his darts have a gravity about them. There’s a cold reality to the raps, a sense of pain in his poetry. Wait, this homie said: “My wallet won’t fold / my story’s untold / had to go and get the Desert Eagle just to hold / cause where we from them boys cold.”

Fears and Demons sees Eagle spit a bit like US rapper JoeyBadA$$ on his never-to-be-repeated classic 1999, which I don’t mind. For one thing Joey doesn’t even sound as good as he did back then and I’d rather have that than Drake/Tory Lanez lite.

Ride Dolo – What You Wanna Be is a bit more new age with a winding bass line that growls obediently as Eagle gets to rapping a bit more like he did on his SA Music Award-winning debut album, Yellow. You know how I feel about the romantic track on any project, but at least this beat fits the vibe. I could picture being in a car rolling around with a somebody doing things people do at night when they’re into each other.

I must give a shout out to Apple Music for holding #Trending down but it may be time to rethink a feature in which the production credits can be viewed. I had to email them to find out it’s EXT 9 Sound, Lostboy.wav, ShooterKhumz and Like. I’m just really pleased this had drums on it, like those old original drums, not just an entire album of 808 Mafia sound-alikes. Purple Rain, which closes the album, is a cold-blooded head jerker. This instrumental passes the screw-face test. You know when a beat is so bad (I mean good) so nasty (lovely) that your face tightens up into an approving snarl. The idea of having beats styled like this and then using them to reminisce on things from young love to dreaming about what you might become one day is smart. I imagine Shane came up listening to music that sounded a bit like this – dusty-sounding beats that are stitched together to sound broken. It’s a beautiful thing.

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