Masego Is Paying Homage to The Women In His Life With 'Lady Lady'
Masego has a lot of love for the women in his life. And not in any surface level way — on the contrary, his rolodex of meaningful encounters and interactions has only continued to grow, so much so that he’s created an entire album to pay homage. Lady Lady is the product of, in his own words, “every single emotion that I’ve felt over the past three years, all linked back to women.”
“It’s a bunch of stories about the women in my life, whether it’s relationships, conversations, and the impact they’ve had on my growth,” he says. “You know, fully realizing myself and understanding myself as a man and as a Gemini. All that.”
Masego is currently mid-tour, celebrating the Lady Lady release (it dropped yesterday). His music has always existed on the cusp of jazz and trap, toying with traditions from both genres to create a sound that’s wholly new and refreshing. His saxophone is his signature, combined with hip hop (“the old Kanye, Andre 3000, Pharrell”), “a very heavy Gospel upbringing,” and, of course, jazz.
“At first, it was a strictly Neo-Soul thing, because that’s what my neighborhood welcomed, that sound. And when I got on the internet, on Youtube, I just heard different genres. I started naturally blending all these things in my pot. So the music just kept expanding. It was a very organic thing. Constantly it keeps developing.”
With Lady Lady, storytelling is once again at the center of his craft. For Masego, narrative is everything — especially with his “Old Age” track, a song about a failed relationship with an older woman.
“I feel like storytelling was my favorite part about hip hop and music, so it became natural that I would accumulate all these stories and always be able to deliver them in such a way. I believe ‘Old Age’ was the best example of that — once you hear the backstory, it makes the world almost 4D, you know? I hear the beat, I hear the lyrics, the saxophone, whatever, but then I know the backstory behind it and it becomes this music video in my head before the actual music video ever comes. The people I come across, or who’s in my past; it just equips me to make these interesting stories. It’s a dreamworld, essentially, because of it is reflective, and half of it is seeing into the future — like, I might be feeling this way, and then the ways I felt in the past.”
The people I come across, or who’s in my past; it just equips me to make these interesting stories.
Writing music is a cathartic experience for Masego, but also allows him to look into the future — what does he feel now, but also, what will he feel tomorrow? A month from now? Twenty years from now? With Lady Lady he’s exploring that, and we’re along for the ride.
“Many times, it just felt like the song was way ahead of where I was at in my life,” he says. “Writing to help me understand my own situation. I see it as battle rap. You know you take in everything, and then when it’s time, whatever comes out comes out. Later on, you can look back to see what all that meant. Why did I feel that? Why did I choose those words? Why did I choose this melody? So it’s beautiful for me as well. I get out of the way of it, and I can evaluate just like everyone else.”
Lady Lady may be a window into the many female relationships and encounters Masego wants to archive and highlight, but it’s just one portion of his journey — a journey that continues to evolve daily.
“At the pace that I create music, I definitely evolve pretty fast. But my whole career is reflective. As soon as I get on stage, and hear a certain song, I jump back into that time, and it’s just as authentic and genuine as when I was writing it. The moment that I start playing those melodies, I’m right back in it. So I feel like it’s an endless journey. I’m constantly growing, constantly understanding where I’m at.”
Images courtesy of Madeleine Dalla; stylist: Hodo Musa