On August 8, 2018, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) a music label that is home to artists like Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Schoolboy Q, signed its newest artist. The newest signee, a rapper going by the name of REASON, has since dropped his debut album to positive reviews.
According to an online interview, REASON has only been rapping for four years but per a Hot New Hip Hop interview, he started freestyling to kill time at none other than Northwestern College. Previously known as Robert Gill, he graduated from NW in 2012 with a business major.
Born in south central Los Angeles, REASON is no stranger to what it’s like growing up and seeing gang violence, addiction and drug dealing firsthand. He continued in the Hot New Hip Hop interview talking about how he started making music on his MacBook for fun, but it shortly turned into an outlet for him to talk about what he was going through.
On one of his tracks, “Better Dayz,” he opens up about a cousin who almost lost his life to drug addiction. The first two verses come from a place of anger and resentment but on the third verse, you can hear the regret in his voice and words. REASON boasts in a freestyle performed on Power106 Los Angeles, that he’s “from the bottom but headed high” – a bar that could be taken both as a metaphor for going to heaven or achieving success.
Part of what makes REASON such a captivating artist is his lyricism. When he says he’s from the bottom, he really means it. He tells in a mass appeal interview that the reason he moved from south central LA to Carson is because his neighbor shot his wife in the middle of the day.
From not being able to go outside as a kid to playing basketball at NW and turning down a contract to play professional basketball overseas, REASON has remained himself and lives to tell the trials and tales of his life.
REASON had a specific purpose for signing with Top Dawg Entertainment. The rapper said, “When we would go to meetings with record deals, the majority of the conversation was about social media following and Sound Cloud plays. Hardly ever would they focus on the music, but TDE was different.”
In the meeting with TDE, they spent an hour and a half playing music and told him not to worry about his number of social media followers.
After he was signed to TDE, Kendrick Lamar was executive – producing the soundtrack to the Oscar–nominated film “Black Panther.” Originally, REASON wasn’t going to be involved; however, someone didn’t turn in their verse on time and he was in the right place at the right time. Being featured in the song “Seasons” in the film’s soundtrack helped REASON garner millions of streams and a larger audience.
Although his first project didn’t get nearly the same exposure that some of the more pronounced TDE artists have gotten, REASON shows both potential and poise.
Check out a NW’s notable alum and TDE’s most recent signee, REASON, on Spotify and other music services.