Shane Eagle's monumental Best Hip-Hop Album win at the South African Music Awards for Yellow is significant for the culture in several ways, but we will focus mainly on ones that really prove that the rapper's ascension has truly disrupted the convention. And yes, we opened this feature like an essay because Eagle's impact on the local Hip Hop landscape ought to be studied!
At just 22 years old, Shane's come up has functioned somewhat on the periphery of expectations. The way he was introduced into the scene through a mainstream television competition, as well as opting to remain an independent recording artist placed him even further down on those 'next so and so' lists.
Having first shot to fame as a contestant on The Hustle, hopes were high that he would be a commercial success far beyond the television series, but few actually had faith that he could. Indeed, how many music talent TV show Top 5 contenders go on to build massive careers, particularly within the Hip Hop context? We'll wait....
Shane continued to disprove doubters when he joined V-Entertainment as a presenter in 2016, furthering his footprint in the television space and finding his own nook in local showbiz. And later, perhaps in part thanks to that platform, he leveraged much of the spotlight to start crafting and splaying his sounds out to the universe, a journey that saw him experiment with a few sounds while showcasing his undeniable lyrical showmanship.
It's this virtuosity and other aspects of his storytelling and unfettered artistry that informed much of the success of his debut album YELLOW, the gold-selling and critically acclaimed record that shifted the soundscape in 2017.
"This a huge blessing & Honor", wrote the Mihi rapper on his IG. "... thank you to everyone who been rocking with me before or after they saw me on that first episode of TheHustle, dis for you."