Reason Uses His TDE Shine To Spotlight The Mixtape That Got Him Signed (Video)

This month, Top Dawg Entertainment revealed that they had a new MC in the roster. From the same city of Carson, California as Ab-Soul, Reason followed his exceptional 2016 Free Album mixtape (embedded below) with a video single, “The Soul.” The a la carte look followed an appearance on The Black Panther soundtrack, which topped the charts early this year.

After “The Soul,” the Del Amo representative goes back to cast a beacon of light on The Free Album. The mixtape that likely played a massive hand in him being signed to TDE is a massive listen for fans of soulful Rap from the West Coast. “Better Dayz” is among the highlights from the self-released project that includes a Kendrick Lamar interlude. It captures the hunger of anybody fighting for survival. “A lot of ni**as pray for whips or hoping to get their cheddar raised / I’m just praying for better days / They hit the block with Glocks and let Berettas spray / Damn, I’m just praying for better days,” goes the chorus.

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In the video, Reason raps from a pool of his own blood. In many ways, this video shows a worst-case scenario of somebody from gang-infested streets, surrounded by predators. The first verse is demonstrative of what makes Reason so standout:

My older cousin been dabblin’ in cocaine sniffin’ / Love him to death but feeling like I can’t hang with him / Went to Atlanta to hopefully get some change with him / Woke up the next morning, the ni**a chain missing / Oh well, pray for his safety but hardly miss him / Shame that when I make it we can’t be Bacardi sippin’ / ‘Cause the drugs got that ni**a living with a foggy vision / And I’m tryna make a living with mics like Scottie Pippen / So many friends that I’m starting to lose / Prayin’ my crew don’t become a party of two / Progression seem tight but like gears on a bike / Boy when you switch up that’s when it’s hardest to move / ‘Cause ni**as clown Drake for being so sentimental / They see the same ni**a over every instrumental / Ni**as spittin’ raps by pointing gats out tinted windows / Knowing they ain’t never owned a pistol.” Reason wrote about his cousin in “The Soul” too, a song where he discusses his label-mates, and not relying on Soulo for an introduction.

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The third verse’s close also packs a wallop: “I don’t need new Lamborghinis or wheel stuntin’ / All I spit is real, the fans gon’ feel from it / I will make it, you will know me, you will love it / So much, will in these raps you think Uncle Phil love it / Competition lacking, every verse I kill something / Music like old pimples, ni**a, it’s still bumpin’ / We focused on getting bread, my ni**as is meal hunting / But still givin’ that real, these ni**as could feel from it.” Dedicating the song to all who can relate, Reason’s video sees no better days. Instead, it is the juxtaposition of bad luck and circumstance set against a message of hope.

At a time when so many artists clamor to release new material, TDE and Reason are shining a deserving light one of the best free projects of the last several calendars. Reason is presently on Jay Rock’s The Big Redemption Tour.

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#BonusBeat: The Free Album: