Hip hop fans far and wide have been anticipating the return of one of the hottest record labels in the game, TDE, otherwise known as Top Dawg Entertainment. The label, which boasts a select group of elite west coast artists like Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, SZA and others, originally signed Reason two years ago, as he released his 2018 single “The Soul” to celebrate his signing with TDE.
After releasing three singles earlier this year, “Might Not Make It,” “Trapped In,” and “Pop Sh*t,” Reason is back with “The Soul (Pt. 2),” a sequel of sorts to his original 2018 single. The highly introspective single displays Reason’s unrelenting energy, as he seamlessly injects his contagious passion and emotion into the song. While he reflects on his recent success under TDE and the hard work and persistence required to achieve success in the first verse, his second verse sees Reason continue to seek out motivation to stay driven and ambitious. Reason asserts his place among the greats of the rap game not because of his talent or his name recognition, but because of his dedication to his craft and his desire to give back to hip hop what it has given him, or as Reason continuously puts it, “I do it for the soul of it.”
Reason calls out two hip hop figures that both appear to be questionable on the surface, as he takes jabs at TDE great Kendrick Lamar and rapper Logic. On the song, Reason notes a conversation he had with Lamar, and reflects on listening to both everything that was said, as well as everything that was not. He recalls Lamar laughing, and interprets Lamar’s laugh as a shot directed toward him from Lamar, even if Lamar was unaware of his gesture, as he raps, “I sat and spoke to Dot, and I listened to everything said / I mean, everything / So much that when it’s not said, I hear it / Like, when the n***a laughed, I heard him mock a n****’s spirit.” Reason’s internal ability to turn Lamar’s laugh into personal motivation for him to keep putting in the hours of work is not only reminiscent of a Michael Jordan-type self motivation technique, but it also reflects his desire to work as hard as he does because of his love for hip hop. Reason also calls out Logic on the song, rapping, “See y’all mistake my name for Logic’s, y’all got me fucked up / How you compare a nigga that take from the culture / Versus a nigga that’s for it?” Reason’s disdain for being compared to Logic, an entirely different rapper stylistically, can be a possible reflection of how black communities view American society; Logic’s massive mainstream appeal is extremely rare for rappers to attain, and while Logic certainly deserves the success he has attained, others are left wondering why a half black rapper (who looks caucasian) can achieve such national popularity while plenty of black artists struggle to break out.
Reason’s new single will hopefully be the first in a slew of new released for the TDE label. According to Hip Hop Numbers, artists under TDE take an average of 904 days, or two and a half years, in between project releases. There is no shortage of talent under the TDE roster, and with Reason getting ready to release his second studio album in the near future, perhaps other TDE artists have new releases somewhere on the horizon.