If you’ve ever met a person like Masego you know one thing is for certain, you are going to have a good time and also hear great music. After being granted the opportunity to sit down with arguably one of the most talented new artists of our time coming from Newport News, VA, it was evident that he was highly talented and still in the midst of reaching his prime. When you’re aware of your name meaning, Blessing, in Tswana (the official language of Botswana) there is no way you can’t be but joy-filled, groovy, and living life to the fullest. This is exactly the energy given off when you meet Masego the man behind some of the hottest new songs floating around the world right now.
Lately, Masego has been finding a lot of early on success after releasing his Pink Polo EP and Loose Thoughts. He has also been growing his fanbase day by day as people continue to catch wind of his new sound. When listening to his music you can expect to hear several genres including jazz, hip-hop, pop, funk, soul, trap and more all rolled into one; as his sound is highly unique. This is amazing because after listening to the first song you could care less what genre it falls under as it’ll make you feel good and want to move. One of the most enjoyable parts of his music is the simple fact that it is a cross-blend of many of the genre’s we have all come to love over time no matter what you’re musical preference might be. At the end of the day, this makes him a solid musician and artist as he’s proven this by learning how to play 7+ instruments, producing and songwriting songs that old and new fan of music can appreciate.
To kick things off we took a trip down to the sunny Virginia Beach area to Work|Release, where he shot his music video for his single, Girls That Dance. Upon getting there we learned more about his humble upbringing of being birthed in Waterhouse, Jamaica, joining a Go-go band in high school, and becoming interested in Jazz after watching We’re Back! Dinosaur’s. Though his influences are wide ranging from childhood films to old-school performers like the famous Cab Calloway, Masego’s influential way of bringing them all into the fold of his sound is amazing.
As all young aspiring professionals Masego went to college after graduating from high school in Newport News, VA to study Communications at Old Dominion University. After spending some time in college, spending tons of money and feeling frustrated as shared in his song, I Think I Hate School, he dropped out and decided to pursue music full-time. To get us up to speed as to what he did next he spent some time with us in his favorite piano room at ODU (where he also wrote the lyrics for Late Night by GoldLink) to ideate for songs and shared his thoughts on his future and dream. Read below for the full interview:
Stereo Champions: Who are some of your musical influences?
Cab Calloway is at the top of the tier because that man’s energy and his songwriting was cool because he was able to talk about very serious topics with a smile on his face. He’d talk about cocaine, hoes, and women but at the Cotton Club during the Harlem Renaissance in front of all of these posh people and he would talk about these fierce topics which was cool.
Also, a guy from YouTube name Ebrahim, he introduced me to looping and he has a lot of soul when he sangs. Jamie Foxx is also a big one because of the comedy and music thing. I think he’s seamlessly, fuses the two and he can play the keys really well. Andre 3000 because I like people that are not rappers but they are rappers.
Why did you name your EP the Pink Polo?
I benign watched anything Kanye on YouTube for two weeks. I’ve always been a fan of his production wise. The thing that kept standing out to me was “They thought the pink Polos would hurt the Roc,” that line just stuck out to me and it just became an inside joke between me and my friends. I say that because I would be the one doing something different from the masses. It’s like going against the grain. So I wanted to make a full beat tape about just music that went against the grain and that the music industry didn’t accept.
If I’m playing the saxophone to anything other than jazz it’s kind of frowned upon. That phrase was like saying ‘be scared of innovation’ so I wanted to create a project that was innovative.
What are some of your favorite venues to perform in?
I like Work|Release, it’s the location of where we shot the Girls Who Dance venue. They were the first people that allowed me to just do what I wanted to do and pay me for it. It’s my favorite venue in Virginia because it’s such an eclectic venue and as you can see it changed a lot too so it’s continually growing.
How was it working with DJ Jazzy Jeff?
M: I think the best way to describe Jeff is like Chef Gordon. He’s going to invite you into his home, he’s not going to kick you out, he’s going to throw all of this wisdom at you and give you everything you need to succeed. It was just crazy I mean I can’t describe it. He’s a really nice guy. He has so many stories and I’m all about that.
What is Trap House Jazz and how did it get started?
Basically, all the musicians that I think are dope we all would just meet in this abandon building and just have sheds. We would have portable generations and just have jam sessions and we would just take that to different places. I called it the Trap House because to me it looked like you’d sell drugs out of this location, I’m pretty sure it was a Trap House. It’s all about energy to me, trap has an energy and so does house music because it’s full of dance and jazz as well.
If there was anybody that you could collaborate with right now, who would it be?
Describe your style.
It’s a big combination of “I don’t care.” Like anything I’m wearing right here somebody gave it to me because I’m not going to spend money on clothes. It’s just not happening. I wear Hawaiian shirts because they look cool to me and they’re comfortable. My hair is like this because I just don’t care and then everything else is either somebody gave it to me or a woman is involved.
What were the challenges like when balancing school and your music?
Every time I get inspired to make a song, I have an assignment due or someone is kicking me out of whatever room I’m practicing in. School always felt like something that was in the way. I felt like I was paying so much money to learn how to be a producer when I was a producer in real life.
What are some of the things besides women that inspire you to write?
I’m always observant about what’s going on around me. Let’s take Hey Arnold! for example, he has this big array of friends and he’s the guy that they all come to for advice. That was my role. I have some friends that are ballers, nerdy musicians, gospel people, etc. I’ve been in so many environments and they all inspire me when I write.
If you could go anywhere right now where would you go?
I feel like I have to go to Dubai mainly because it says in my bio that I’m there so I need to get that popping. I need to go back to Jamaica because I haven’t been there in a minute. Also, Santa Cruz because they have the meanest chicken and waffles there.
Explain the story behind Sego Hotline.
I was about to get a new phone and the number was 9968844. That was about to be my actual number but it’s not. It’s about a girl from back in high school that was with this dude but she would just complain about him every day. Then one time I just came up to her real bold, like that nigga ain’t it and you need to drop him and holla at me. Moving on to now when I was in college it was the same situation. Shorty with a dude she don’t like it and I told her to just drop dude. It’s like apples to oranges but then I thought to myself how would we get that into young people’s heads. Then it came to me, iPhones to Androids. It was just that metaphor that makes sense to people as far as you’re just with a dude that just has nothing do to with you and you’re in a different world but you need to come over here.
What’s up with I Had A Vision?
Oh yeah! I haven’t dropped vision. I had to pause a lot of these songs that I know are going to be hits. I want to make sure I balance it. People are going to love it because people love melanin and stuff like that so it’s going to be fantastic. I’m trying to get my lyrical dexterity up around it so I don’t know if I’m going to change the verses up or something. Hooks, wise I’m that guy. I can get something stuck in your head, that’s easy. Making sure we have more lyrics to go with songs and the musicality is always going to be there but to challenge myself I going to start dropping more songs with more verses.
What do you want your legacy to be?
To be a person that brought the old and the young together. The amount of musicality that I have attracts the older ear because they respect that a young person is even picking an instrument up. Then with young people being able to be relevant but not too relevant where you go away. If I’m over here making songs called, Dab On Me Baby, I’m going to be gone two months tops but it’s going to be extremely popular, which people confuse popular with ‘I’m the guy’.
My legacy should be that he did some creative things. The fact that I flipped, Before I Let Glo is the type of thing I’m cool with being known for. I’m just mad creative and I bring people together with my ideas.
What do you think is your most slept on piece of work?
Wild Minds, easily. That was my way of saying this is what I’m into now. It was back in the old days it’s like Trap House Jazz beat tape. It had like a thousand plays in six months and I was rejoicing. It’s a slept on piece, of work but that’s just the nature of things today. But Jazzy Twerk got popular out of nowhere because it was just as unpopular as everything else I did back in the day.
When I came out withLove Be Like with JR Jârris, the people started checking out my old work and then they found Jazzy Twerk and then they understood that you just combined, Take Five by Dave Brubeck with Knuck If You Buck by Crime Mob. That’s just the kind of thing that I feel like are bringing old people and young people together. I feel like that’s a lane that’s not really being touched by anybody else but myself.
Wild Mind, is an incredible track because it takes you on a journey, which I think is cool music. Because I’ll be talking to a shorty then the music is like this; then I’ll be with my homies and then there’s more energy to it and if it’s at night it’s like night driving music but the song has that entire journey. I feel like that’s the best music. I go on trips a lot so that’s what I make it for. Just to be able to keep myself up and entertain myself while I’m driving.
What makes you a Stereo Champion?
What makes me a Stereo Champion is the fact that I know who I am creatively and being an innovator. I realized that I’m not the nicest with all of these instruments but I figured out that my unique creativity is what makes me shine out of the pack amongst all of the people out here. That’s why I’m a winner because I identified what’s unique about me and made it shine.
Overall, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to see what Masego is up to next as I’m sure he will go on to do some amazing things like score movies, develop a new genre, or simply take the world by storm. If that doesn’t give you any insights on why you should follow him just understand it took me a long time to figure out how to describe this young man in words. He’s full of energy, comedy, and talent. I know for certain he’s just getting started with what he’s going to bring to this world and I’m looking forward to seeing him evolve as he continues building onto his legacy. Definitely be sure to follow Masego’s court for updates.