Soaring On His Own Terms
Shane Eagle, born Shane Hughes, turned 21 this week. The rapper from the township of Rabie Ridge, in the east of Johannesburg, has come a long way since recording his first track at the age of 13 in a friends studio. Independent and introspective, Eagle charting a path less travelled up the hip-hop hierarchy.
After matriculating from high school, Eagle took part as a contestant in the first season of the hip-hop talent show, The Hustle on Vuzu. Despite not having the favour of AKA, who was one of the judges on the show, Eagle reached the top 3 finding favour with many of the show’s fans along the way. One season on the show propelled his career further than he had been able to since he started making music with the hitmaker JR signing him to a deal with Feel Good shortly after the conclusion of the show.
Eagles star only grew brighter with features on the hits ‘Now Or Never’ and ‘Mayo’, the latter of which was recently certified gold. With massive hype around Eagle, it was a surprise to some when he announced that he was leaving his deal with Feel Good. But with an amicable split from JR, things became clear with his first release on his own label. ‘Cutting Corners’ saw Eagle turn a blind eye to the glam and brashness of the hip-hop we’ve become accustomed to on commercial radio. The track saw fans draw comparisons to the consciousness of J Cole in his music which is quite a coincidence which Eagle having opened for Cole when he performed in South Africa.
His latest track, ‘JULIA’, sees Eagle continue down the same lane as ‘Cutting Corners’. With production by Shooter Khumz who has been working with Eagle since high school, Eagle gets introspective over the laid back beat. The rapper gets deep addressing his come up, the lingering wounds of our perverse history and rappers rapping about diamonds rather than the violence. The evolution is establishing Shane Eagle as one of the most real rappers on wax and it’s difficult not to support the journey he is on.