Premiere: Masego’s ‘Loose Thoughts’ Make For One Heck Of A Summer Project
It’s a special thing when someone uses their birthday to give gifts rather than to receive them. Masego has been raking in blessings in multitudes this year, so it was only right that for his 23rd birthday, he share a little bit of the positivity back with his fans via some new music. Enter Loose Thoughts, a compilation of tracks that have been floating in and out of select Masego performances and Twitter videos with no formal home. Until now, that is.
Kanye West’s birthday twin (who’s also one of Sego’s inspirations, see: Pink Polo EP), self-diagnosed himself WebMD style with “demo-itis.” The remedy? To gift-wrap loosies, EP and LP rejects and finished freestyles in one package before they didn’t have the chance to see the light of day. “This is just the stuff that if they don’t come out now, they’ll never come out,” he says over the phone. “This is like the B-squad. The cut squad ain’t varsity but they can all still dunk.”
The oldest song on Loose Thoughts goes back to his freshman year at Old Dominion University in 2011 and the newest addition joined the project’s ranks as late as this morning. The 11-track jambalaya of sounds flexes all parts of his multi-hyphenate being. “Do you play the keys? I can play that/Do you play the sax? I can play that/Do you play the marimba? I can play that/Do you play the cymbals? I can play that,” he sings confidently, not boastfully, on “I DO EVERYTHING!” And that barely scratches the surface. He takes the reins on most of the production. Vocally he’s stronger, showcasing just how much he can stretch his rasp and falsetto to enhance a song. So is his rapping. The metaphors are more sophisticated and the topics have matured.
“The premise for the whole thing is to come out with a project that does the same thing that Frank Ocean’s [The Lonny Breaux Collection] did,” he says. “It felt very demo-ish but it shows [his] full capabilities and was a really cool introduction to someone.”
Whereas his Pink Polo EP was predominantly high-energy, youthful fun, Masego is a little older and wiser now. Loose Thoughts reflects that. The project is not only a marker of the transition into his Jordan year, but his sonic evolution as an artist and timeliness with the summertime season. “This whole project is just how I’m feeling,” he says. “I made the first half of the tape the old me. ‘Girls That Dance’ and similar songs. Pure fun. Great energy and vibe. The second half starting with ‘Small Talk’ gets into the new me.” After Masego went to DJ Jazzy Jeff’s house for his annual mentorship retreat, he left with a recharged energy. “My songwriting got better, and I was able to dig a lot deeper and tell some stories. I think this does a better job at getting my fans to the new me.”
Join in on Masego’s birthday festivities by pressing play and see where his mind was during the creation of each loose thought below.
1. “YOU GON’ LEARN SOME JAZZ TODAY”
I freestyle so much on Twitter and none of it’s a song but everyone’s like, ‘Yo when’s the song drop?’ So I thought I’d just make this one a song and just enjoy myself in a Kanye-esque way, because I swear Kanye never writes any verses anymore, he just freestyles. The opening track is something I made completely myself. That was another thing I wanted to do on this project. There’s so much “Masego x Producer.” I just want to say, this is all Masego. I’m trying to show as much of myself as possible to build that foundation now that things have finally started with this career. My mom’s not gonna like the N-word in there, but we’re gonna have to just pray.
2. “I’m In Hollywood”
That’s another Twitter video, another one I made into a little song. It was actually my first time being in Hollywood and I was in the studio with Busta Rhymes and three other people that would look very hip-hop with gold chains around their neck. It was just like, welcome to Hollywood. There was all this equipment [in the studio] and the dude in there told me, use what you want. Let’s create some stuff. I was on top of the world at that time and it was just a nice little freestyle. And at that time, that’s when I started to get the calls back from home where some people were trying to say, ‘Hey, can I have something?’ and I had that little “How about nah” attitude going.
3. “Wifeable (Demo 3)”
The biggest show I’ve done in L.A. is the Regent [Theater]. That was SPZRKT’s first time seeing me. It just turned into yo, we gotta link. We created “Wifeable.” It started off with this looper pedal idea I had. It graduated into a full beat, but I produced that as well and it felt really good. With SPZ’s new name, Xavier Omar, he’s doing his own thing in a different direction so this song didn’t make the cut, but it’s still really cool. I wrote it when I first got to Miami. Everybody there was just beautiful but then I learned later that everybody’s bougie, so I didn’t want to wife ‘em up.
4. “Send Yo’ Rita!”
I first heard “Send Yo’ Rita” in San Francisco, actually. When it came on it had the same feeling as the original. When those drums hit, I was like this is what I’m all about. It’s really innovating that sound of a classic. You know when you’ll see someone in an everyday environment and you just run these scenarios in your mind? That’s what it was. I saw this young lady in the club and… I don’t really engage in the club. I’m not like that “Girls That Dance” video type the whole time. I’m like that for like one minute and then I get back to my corner and just ponder. My mind went on a trip. You know when you’re about to go into dream mode and the picture gets foggy for a daydream? That’s what “Send Yo’ Rita” was. It was a daydream music video in my head.
5. “Too Much”
“Too Much” is dumb old. It’s like back in the early, early SoundCloud days when I met BNJMN [of FilmNoir]. That was my frustration with Virginia shows, honestly. I was doing all this cool stuff onstage and it just seemed like they weren’t entertained with what I was doing. What’s it gonna take? I used to perform “Too Much” in a more live instrument jazzy way, but it just didn’t work. So when BNJMN actually sent me that beat, I threw the same lyrics on that and then everybody started F-ing with it because it had the energy of trap. I treat Virginia like a girl, this frustrating person that I have a love for but agh, what is wrong with you? That was the big metaphor with “Too Much.” I’m dancing around trying to get your attention.
6. “Small Talk (TrapScat To Cali)”
“Small Talk” was a demo. It was a placeholder because I usually scat or freestyle something then write a real song to it later. But Jarreau Vandal ended up putting my demo out, a real song. But this is the fully matured version. I wanted to make the verses simply trap scatting and it be an innovating song. Even treat the beat at the end a little bit. I like this song because I’ve never seen something structured like this before. It feels like I’m saying something but I’m not, but I am. I feel like with this being “Small Talk,” the verses are the small talk.
7. “Plant A Seed (Rough Like Old Weave)”
I made that song after I tweeted something about how I sowed a lot of seeds early on and then when things are starting to happen good for me, it seems like it’s out of nowhere. I was trying to make the point that I do a lot of small things that might go unnoticed, little tweets at five in the morning or random things that seem like they’re not linked together. Both my parents are pastors, so at church they’re always talking about how it’s so important to plant seeds and be patient. It’s hard to be patient when it seems like everything online is moving. Everybody got a deal. Also, I did a fake Anderson .Paak verse on there. [Laughs] In the future, it’d be dope to get a verse from him on that type of song.
8. “I Do Everything (More For Cruisin)” & “I DO EVERYTHING!”
“I Do Everything” Part 1 and 2 is me flipping my own song. I want to show that change that’s taken place. The energy will always be joyful for me but as someone that does everything, I want to dig deeper and that song is instrumental as a way to reflect on that transition. This whole project is merely a preview to the first song on then next. Those hits are gonna put me on a platform to allow me to reach more people and take this to a new level.
9. “Disconnected (Shorty From VA)”
The oldest song is “Disconnected.” I wrote that my freshman year of college, and that’s when I first started to decide I wanted to be an artist. I met this girl and she was kind of on her Azealia Banks self-destructive-but-mad-talented stuff. She was the first person to really inspire a song and I was building a project around that. But that didn’t come out because of something and then something else I put on this project didn’t come out because of something else. So I was like, this is like the B-squad. The cut squad ain’t varsity but they can all still dunk.
10. “White Man”
“White Man” was when I thought I was making money but the bills and everyone’s cut took the bulk of it away. On top of that, I was frustrated that I felt like I wasn’t people’s top priority. I’m ready to move but I feel like since I don’t have a lot of money to wave in everyone’s face, they didn’t wanna move. Producers, artists, collabs and all weren’t moving at the pace my mind was. The White Man was who I blamed, figuratively. I touch on racism and different races that were holding the character in my song back as a way to vent that “I’m just trying to feed my young.” I’m just trying to put the ones I love on. I just wanna create my great ideas and bring them to fruition.