Elvis is known as the King of Rock and Roll, but it’s also known that Elvis got his inspiration from black culture. From his gyrating hip movements to his soulful sound, Elvis was one of the first white artists to bring black music to the mainstream. Sure – there were black rock stars like James Brown and Little Richard, but for every James Brown there were five white artists taking full advantage of a sound created by blacks. Today’s music landscape is no different in looking at the success of Iggy Azalea and Macklemore, both Grammy-winners for their rap-rooted music. We’re decades into this cultural thievery.
Enter The Reasn – an ultra confident singer who declares himself a black rockstar. “I’m bringing back Rock and Roll into black music and I’m adding today’s urban culture to it,” he says. “We started this music, we set the trends, and everyone else profited twice as much from it. I respect what all the greats have done (Elvis is one of my favorite artists), but I know where he got his sound from.” It may seem a strong stance to take for an artist, especially with the heightened racial sensitivity in current American culture, but The Reasn’s message is more about equality than it is division. “It’s not about white people doing black music or black people doing white music, it’s about great artists making great music with no boundaries. I want to make it okay for the white guy to love hip-hop and for the black kid to love rock and roll.” Dyana Williams, co-founder of June Black Music Month and noted radio/TV personality, elaborates, “Take one listen to The Reasn and you will clearly hear that he is an inheritor of the Foundation artists, such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and other pioneer rocker/music trendsetters. His music is a gumbo of various genres that works well for the current global palate.”
What exactly does a black rock star sound like?
Check Out Blue Flame
The Reasn’s music is a hybrid of various music elements. With dominant guitar riffs over 808’s and snare drums, groove-inducing R&B, and just the right amount of classic rock nostalgia, he brings together the worlds of Hip Hop/R&B and classic rock. As the only writer on his project, The Reasn doesn’t consider himself a “songwriter” but more of a truth teller. “If people actually wrote what they feel, music would be completely different. I don’t have to be coached to get my feelings onto a record because I’m writing about things that are actually going on in my life that people can identify with”. From his alcohol consumption to his sometimes-unhealthy relationships, The Reasn leaves no stone unturned. “I know these are things people are dealing with on a day to day basis. Most people think that good music can’t have substance and also make people want to dance.”
His new single “Blue Flame” gives listeners insight into one of The Reasn’s volatile relationships. It dives into the life of a girl searching for a life that isn’t attainable. “ As humans we’re thirsty for certain things, but the closer we get to them, the further from ourselves we become, the more the flame burns us”. The Reasn describes the song as his most personal story, in saying, “I could never write “Blue Flame” again, it describes exactly what was going on at the time. I try to finish all my lyrics the same day because I want to capture the true emotion in its truest moments.”
Over the years, The Reasn developed a “no rules” mentality by hearing NO and CAN’T a lot. “My ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude comes from being told what to do and having industry people try to shape me into something I’m not, which never worked.”
The Reasn is truly the black rock star of our generation and gives us a reason to appreciate a new era of Rock and Roll.