By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
Reason is a testimony for anyone with a dream and doing everything it takes to get there.
Hailing from Carson, California, the “Better Dayz” rapper life changed last year when he signed with TDE, home to Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, and more.
With his ability to spit substance in his flows over hard-hitting production, Top Dawg decided to re-release Reason’s standout project titled There
You Have It, in addition to an opening slot for Jay Rock on The Big Redemption Tour.
AllHipHop caught up with Reason at the top of the year, right before he head to Dreamville to record with J. Cole for Revenge of the Dreamers III.
AllHipHop: I know artists tend to have their own favorite records on the project that aren’t singles, what are yours?
Reason: It switches a lot so it could be different in a month. Right now, it’s “State We In.” I still count this next song as a song on the project even though it wasn’t released on the TDE project but it’s on YouTube, but it’s called “Spring Diaries.” That was the original outro to the album. And I love “F##k With Me,” just because it makes you feel better. Whatever day I’m having, I’ll listen to it before I go out to the club or if I’m with the homes. That’s one of my favorite records on there.
AllHipHop: Talk about how you first connected w/ Moosa through a DM.
Reason: It took us about a week and a half to connect, because I was ignorant to who Moosa was at the time. I didn’t know. There’s a lot of people that I unfortunately offend sometimes — I’ve only been in the industry for 4 years, so I don’t know everybody. I’m just being honest. It’s not like I treat people badly, I just don’t treat them the way they think I should be treating them when I first meet them. Luckily, Moosa isn’t one of those people who is cocky and hung up on himself that he felt a way. When I met him, I learned who he was quickly.
AllHipHop: You say you’re Top 5 in the West Coast, who are the others?
Reason: That’s a great question. Boogie’s my favorite rapper on the West Coast. He’s Top 5 for sure.
Of course Kendrick, that’s easy. Nipsey he had an incredible year so I’m glad he’s back. For the fifth slot... that’s tough. West Coast is in a very good space right now.
But I’d say YG. A lot of people might be surprised by that, but I saw YG’s whole entire come up, when he was outside of parties passing out CDs and albums. YG is extremely talented and what he does. Nobody can do what YG does at the rate and consistency he does. I’m a huge YG fan.
AllHipHop: Best memory on tour with Jay Rock?
Reason: Pranking my DJ. We fake fired my DJ, we got him a plane ticket and everything. Shout out to DJ D-Ron. I was a big TDE fan but my DJ was a TDE stan. He knows everything about every single person on TDE. He’s met them all before we got signed. You imagine how I feel but for him, this is a big deal. He has every single project that has ever dropped, stuff you don’t even know.
For him to be on this tour, the running joke was “bro, you’re only here because Reason is here, we don’t really mess with you like that.” He knew it was a joke, that’s just how TDE jokes. We used to always mess with him because he’s such a big TDE fan, which is such a dope feeling to be able to put him in that situation.
We thought he would be the perfect person to fake fire just because we know how much this means to him versus everybody else.
It was a show Jay Rock’s DJ couldn’t deejay, so D-Ron did it. The stars align and it just so happens the bass blows out at the show, so we make D-Ron feel like it’s his fault, even though we know it’s not his fault. We tell him Top was at the show and that Top was upset.
We told him Top walked out halfway through the show and he was pissed off. In a couple of days, we get to Seattle. We make him pack all his stuff up, got him an Uber, and got him a plane ticket.
AllHipHop: Dang, y’ll went far!
Reason: We even got the Uber driver to drive him halfway to the airport, and come back. We had been pranking so much on the tour, that you have to go this far to convince somebody. But you could tell it started to really sink in. He had called his brother and his girlfriend, telling them “I don’t understand, I didn’t even mess up that bad.” I felt bad during it, but I’m so glad we did it. If the label doesn’t put out the footage, it’ll be on my personal trailer for the show. It’ll come out soon.
AllHipHop: Did they prank you?
Reason: Nah. They tried to prank me once but I’m telling you, after the second prank goes out, it’s hard to get people. Everybody alert. [snaps] There was this girl who slept over on the bus, I don’t know who she was. They grabbed a tampon and put it in ketchup, and put it on my bed. [laughs] And I wasn’t on the bus that night, so they just sent me a picture — it was hot sauce with a tampon on my bed, and I was freaking out. They had me for a minute and a half, but then I zoomed in and saw what it was.
AllHipHop: That is so f##king funny.
Reason: They joke at TDE. You gotta have tough skin, ‘cause they’re not pulling no punches.
AllHipHop: Happy New Year. Do you have any New Year resolutions?
I want to stop drinking as much.
I want to stop smoking hookah as much. I smoke hookah way too much, it’s so addicting. Before the end of the year, I want to give up hookah all together. I want to at least slow down.
With the exception of being on tour, I want to at least be in studio 4 times a week. I do a lot of writing at home, so I’m not in the studio as much as people think I am, but I want to force myself to be in there more.
I want to make a certain amount of money this year from music. That way I know that if I made that much money this year, I’m where I need to be in my career. I just want to keep my foot on the gas.
AllHipHop: Talk about going on tour w/ JID.
To be honest, JID is a very smart guy. This tour will be fun. I think the personalities mesh really well. If you talk about any upcoming hip-hop artist, JID is first on the list as of right now.
He can rap. I was only announced 4 months ago, I feel like it’s a good pairing of “that’s where I want to be at.” I was glad they reached out to me to be direct support for this tour.
AllHipHop: You mention writing your verse for “Seasons” in 15 min. What’s your creative process in the studio?
Reason: In the studio is something I had to get used to when I got signed because beforehand, I never used to write songs in the studio. Only because I paid for studio time, so I didn’t want to waste time writing. I’d always come to the studio with 6 or 7 songs written and just start recording.
Now, I usually have a conversation with the homies because I usually always have someone with me in the studio. Based off of that conversation, if there’s anything that I want to talk about or get off my chest, I write it that way. I’m the person that’s always writing stuff down throughout the day.
If I’m in traffic and something comes to my head, I write it down, just because you never know what could spark the idea of something else.
For “Seasons ,” that’s one of the fastest verses I’ve ever written. I think it was just ‘cause I was so amped up on adrenaline that there was even an opportunity for that.
I was like, “I know Top is leaving in the next 30 minutes, I need to write this right now and get it recorded. That way when he’s about to leave, he can hear this verse right now.” I didn’t want to miss that opportunity.
AllHipHop: Do you have the same producer too?
Reason: Before I got signed, I didn’t have any producers, I was on YouTube. That’s one thing they have been helping me with. They’ve been linking me with some of the best producers in the world. That’s been an adjustment because I wasn’t used to being there from the beginning of making a beat, all the way through. But I actually like the “making a beat” part even better. I didn’t know all of that went into making a beat and how much control you have over sound, so I’m still learning how to communicate those things to producers.
AllHipHop: Do you produce yourself?
Reason: I started learning how to produce only to be able to communicate better to producers. I can produce, I work off of Ableton, but I wouldn’t call myself a producer. I feel like they’re specialized in that. I don’t want to offend a producer by saying I’m a producer.
AllHipHop: Are you open to working with new people?
Reason: 100%. I’m a little different. A lot of artists have their one producer that they run things through, I’m the polar opposite. I’d rather work with a ton of different producers and just make it one cohesive sound myself.
AllHipHop: Any goals at the moment?
Reason: There’s certain things I wanted to give myself goals with, but things have happened so fast for me that I don’t even want to put limitations. I might set a goal and hit that goal in March. That’s just the way God’s been mapping it out for me lately, it’s been a blessing.