Masego Masego
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

Take Five: Masego's Whirlwind SXSW Calls For A Much Needed Break

Masegos takes five minutes out of his busy SXSW festival to chop it up about having as much fun as possible while making the show experience a lasting one.

If you saw Masego—the rising Virginia saxophonist, singer and producer with a vibrant, carefree personality—walking around SXSW with his sax at hand, it was clear he had a ball. Aside from his infectious cheek-to-cheek grin, it was evident in his shoulder-rubbing moments with other musicians, solo sets and myriad crowd appearances during the bustling Austin, Texas fest.

Committing to a heftier amount of shows—at least seven events had Masego's name on the bill—sounds like a draining endeavor to most, but the experience proved to be more rewarding than anything for him. He made sure to find the fun in all he attended and convey that sense of amusement to his crowds. While catching a breather at VIBE's Artist Lounge at the Bud Light Factory, Masego chopped it up about throwing (fake) money at his shows, sipping on fancy cucumber water and not saying "no" to shows.

VIBE: South-By has been a whirlwind for you this year.
Masego: Yes, yes it has!

Please tell me what your experience has been. I saw you yesterday turnin' up at Fader Fort in the corner. Losin' your mind. Throwin' money!
Here's the thing! I feel like I'm in the stage where I have to prove myself with every show, like everyone doesn't know who I am yet, which makes it fun. Everything's introductory. With that, Fader Fort, I wasn't allowed to have a mic, so I just got creative with it. I had pre-recorded things that I had said, being triggered at the performance. I just wanted the challenge! I'm not even a DJ, but I wanted the challenge, so I DJ'ed, I got a huge crowd, and then I just played the sax for everyone. It's all about destructing reality, and I feel like I've done that while I've been here, so I'm really happy about it.

And how's the reception been? I actually saw you get out and walk through the crowd. You were flooded by fans afterwards.
It's weird like that, I don't know. You know the young folk. But it's been good reception. I'm trying to think of what else happened with it. Everyone here has seen a show before, so the challenge is, "What can I do to make you be a part of it, make you appreciate it?" You turn everything into an inside joke. When you tell someone about the show, "Man, he was next to me! He was right next to me, he bumped shoulders with me playin' the sax!" It just makes it a better story to tell and something fun.

Who have you already seen, or want to see, that you just wanna and enjoy their show?
Snarky Puppy. They inspired a little bit of the sound. Back in college, I first heard them and I was like, that's somebody that I could kind of fit in with musically. I wanna see them. I wanna see Anderson [.Paak]. Gotta dap him up. I'm just gonna dap up every celebrity and then turn into one.

It's already on the way!
We don't know that!

I know you're going from place to place to place, and a lot of people don't get breaks at South-By. How have you seen spending your downtime if you've had any? How many shows overall?
I feel like we're on like nine shows maybe. We just don't say “no” it seems! When you're grindin', you're just kind like... But downtime? I just feel like we joke on each other, we just step back and enjoy the moment. We went to see Jazzy Jeff's performance, and his was great. I brought no phone, I had a notepad and I just was takin' notes. That's what we've been doing, just watching other people's sets and seeing like how we can tweak ours. And just joke on each other. Eat some random places, but just step back and be like "This is some good weather, I'm healthy," and just chill.

That goes into my last question, the most important question of South-By: what food spots are lit? Where have you gone? Where is the best food that you've had?
I mean, that chicken taco spot in that little Fader Fort area, that took me in. I don't know if it was because I was, like, dead hungry or whatever it was, but it's like, everything else. I don't know. Austin got a lot of salt in the food! Can we talk about that?!

They don't have salt in Virginia?
I don't know, it's like they just dumped it on there like everybody haters in the food. But, naw, we did all the cool stuff. What-a-Burger. Stuff where you roll the R's, I don't know. I’ve been enjoying this cucumber water! You know what I'm saying?!

Mr. Bougie over here!
Pinkies up!

I can’t support the pinkies up, but I feel you. When are you leaving here?
I’ll put my thumbs up then. But Monday.

Oh, you’re in here for a long time!
Shows on shows. So we added two shows, like, yesterday. That's what a turn up do!

You drinking your water?
Cucumber water! Keepin' my thumb up!

 

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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A look back at the collaborator's up and down relationship.
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Remember The Time: 10 Times Drake And Kanye West Were Stronger Together

Kanye West and Drake aren’t exactly in the best place at the moment. West’s Dec. 13 Twitter rant detailed their issues, in which he accuses Drake of “sneak dissing” and threatening him.

“You sneak dissing on [Travis Scott] records and texting Kris [Jenner] talking about how’s the family.” he wrote among many other tweets and allegations against the Scorpion MC.

While this is a bump in the road, the two haven’t always been enemies. Despite the shenanigans surrounding them, Kanye West and Drake have had a very fruitful relationship. All drama aside, the duo have created many memorable moments in hip-hop and pop culture. They’ve written and recorded some incredible songs and shared countless stages during concerts and tours.

To abstain from dwelling on the negativity, VIBE has collected a list of moments taking you through the high points in the rappers’ relationship. Check it out below.

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Drake's Freestyles Over Many Beats By 'Ye

Before he was one of the most sought-after rappers in the world, Drizzy has looked up to Kanye West and sampled his work. For “Say What’s Real,” a single off his mixtape So Far Gone, the “In My Feelings” MC sampled Yeezy’s “Say You Will” off of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. The admiration continued throughout the years, resulting in more freestyles over songs like “Swagga Like Us” and “Barry Bonds.” Both tracks feature beats created by the Chi-town native. 

‘Thank Me Later’ Proves Their Shared Power 

After meeting in 2009, the duo came together to bring Drake's Thank Me Later album to the next level. They collaborated on two tracks- the futuristic love songs “Show Me A Good Time,” and “Find Your Love.” With West holding down production, deep-pocketed 808’s and table-top scratch sounds were highlighted. The accolades for the latter song resulted in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as they created their own lane.

Drake Calls Kanye “The Most Influential Person”

In a 2009 interview, the then-industry rookie had some nice words for West. Speaking specifically about the 41-year-old’s 808’s and Heartbreak album, the Toronto rapper described ‘Ye as "the most influential person” who was important to young emcees in the game.

"Before I ever got the chance to meet him, Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes," Drake said. He knows how to utilize great sounds and great music. So before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."

Their Collaborations On Wax 

The pair has been making music together for nearly 10 years, with some standout tracks including “Forever,” the remix to “All Of The Lights,” and “Pop Style.” On their 2017 song “Glow” off of Drake’s playlist More Life, both rappers discuss their growing, limitless success. West was rumored to initially appear on Drizzy’s smash-hit “Nice For What.” He reportedly had a verse on the critically-acclaimed track until the beef between Drake and his G.O.O.D. Music cohort Pusha T became lethal.

The Joint Mixtape That Never Happened

Drake and Kanye are no strangers when it comes to making joint albums with other artists. Drake worked with Future on the platinum-selling album What A Time To Be Alive, while Kanye released Watch The Throne with JAY-Z to critical acclaim. However, it has been hinted for the longest time that the two were working on a full-length album of their own.

Kanye confirmed the plan to release an album with Drake to Vogue in 2016, shortly after hinting at a joint project during OVO Fest. The Take Care rapper co-signed the announcement, saying "What my brother was asking before was, are you ready if we make an album?"

Drake Writing For Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Drake wrote a song for Kanye’s 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo. The Canadian hip-hop star helped pen the Isaac Hayes and Nelly-sampled “30 Hours.” Drizzy was also reportedly on the original, unreleased version of Pablo’s “Wolves,” which featured Icelandic artist Bjork (the album version features Vic Mensa and Sia).

The Duo Become Friendly, Competitive Neighbors

By the time of their initial meeting in 2009, Kanye already clocked in nearly a decade of music industry knowledge, and Drake was making the transition from teen TV star to full-time rapper. But who would have thought the duo would have eventually become actual neighbors?

Drake eventually moved to Calabasas, Calif.- a neighborhood in Los Angeles many celebrities call home- around the same time West began publicly dating his now-wife, Kim Kardashian. In the 2016 bop “Summer Sixteen,” Drizzy jokes, “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye / And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying.”

 

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There goes the neighborhood

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Nov 7, 2016 at 3:05am PST

Kanye Supports OVO Fest

Drake created a hip-hop festival called OVO Fest in 2010. Not only does it feature notable acts in urban music, but it also gave a platform to upcoming artists from Canada who might not have gotten a platform back home. Kanye West was one of the first supports of the music event, performing at three of the festivals.

He also admitted that Drake inspired him and JAY-Z to record Watch The Throne during 2013’s OVO Fest, stating, "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this ni**a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects.”

Kanye Apologizes To Drake Over G.O.O.D. Music Album Rollouts

Earlier this fall, Kanye West apologized to Drake in a series of tweets for planning the rollout of albums by artists under his G.O.O.D music roster around the proposed release of Scorpion.

In one of the tweets, Kanye wrote “Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place. We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.” In another tweet, ‘Ye revealed that he never listened to the diss tracks between him and Pusha, and didn’t have conversations regarding Drake’s child with him.

Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place … We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.

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They Shared Laughs Over Meek Mill Memes

Drake and Meek Mill were in an infamous feud back in 2015. After performing his diss track aimed at Meek- "Back to Back”- at the 2015 OVO Fest, Drizzy, Kanye, and Will Smith enjoyed a laugh over the countless memes mocking the Philly MC.

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Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for music lovers.

Listeners enjoyed a buffet of diverse melodies, savoring in the choice of curating the tunes they craved as opposed to consuming more than they can digest. Rumored albums from veterans like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and The Carters' first joint project battled its way to the top of our personal charts alongside music's innovators like Noname, The Internet, Buddy, and Janelle Monae.

Within that aforementioned list of artists, a new generation of lyricists and vocalists found their footing with fans and critics alike. The rising crop of talent released projects that should motivate each of them to carve out space for forthcoming awards. While we took into account the albums released from Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 20, 2018, that moved us emotionally, we also checked off a list of requirements like replay value, overall production, critical reception, and cultural impact.

Here are the 30 albums (in alphabetical order, not ranked), that instilled pride in our culture, made us take a look within, and encouraged us to appreciate music all over again.

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