The Renegade Style of Masego

“I feel like what I’m doing feels so natural that I don’t see it as odd anymore”

At the top of 2017, we caught up with Masego as part of the #17OntheFrontline series, since then he’s been enjoying his current state of contentment, keeping the possibilities fluid and staying open to the universe’s direction. Since his ‘Loose Thought’s EP, Masego’s dropped a few loosies this year and taken a decidedly more relaxed approach when it comes to his creativity, “I’ve been going on a lot of dates, trying to find my wife,” he says happily “haven’t had much time to make music, catching a lot of twerks, that kind of thing. I’ve been trying to study the greats, watch a little Michael Jackson documentary here and there, and ah, look at those principals that made people so timeless, you know? And just kinda like, enjoying life. I felt like before I was all grind, grind, grind, to create and create. I think now I’m just trying to secure my moments, look at the scenery a lot. Appreciate women. Just figure out perspective.”

Back in London recently for a string of dates, Masego arrived in an East London studio to put his TrapHouseJazz persona to the style treatment, with stylist Abena Ofei and photographer Philipp Raheem. Capturing Masego’s spirit unfiltered photographer Philipp Raheem explains his approach, “I just wanted to capture a classic both in nature and in aesthetic. Masego is one of the few artists who is actually a pure musician. I tried to maintain the classic feel with the images but in the same breath wanted to capture what makes Masego who he is.”

Philipp and Masego have built up a rapport over the last three years, a relationship that lends a certain effortless air to translating his dynamic energy and love of music, “Masego has a bright and bubbly personality filled with energy that is contagious to everyone around him. When I first met him two or three years back his spirit resonated with me. The fact he can shine such a positive light on everyone around him is what was inspiring about this shoot. Shooting a musician to a fashion model does have it’s differences but for me it’s all about capturing the personality of who’s in front of me. Fashion models are usually developed in their craft and this applies with Masego and his self-confidence. It’s these aspects that make shooting musicians such as Masego an ease.”

When it came to styling such an dynamic personality, Abena Ofei mixed prints and colour, “Masego was very open and had a willingness to explore different style aesthetics. I tried to create looks that were rather eclectic that would reflect Masego’s renegade style. I wanted looks that challenged and were atypical, so we explored a very old school look with knitted polo shirt by Prada and teamed it up with a hat by Marcelo Burton, but brought a modern edge by accessorising with sunglasses from Grey Ant and turning a woven crown headpiece by Rich Royal Cloth Culture (a range designed by Masego’s friend Anthony Alston Jr) into a belt. Half the looks focused on more classical silhouettes – hence the slim fit pants – printed shirts courtesy of Matches Fashion with the breadth of designers they currently stock from Prada, Gucci, Comme Des Garçons Shirt to Raf Simons. When paired with brands and designers known for their innovative use of fabrics gives a look that feels unique and more importantly authentic to the artist. The other half of the looks created was about introducing a more sports-luxe aesthetic.”

I feel like every song is like my child, I wanna make sure when they going to school they got their shoes tied and everything.

Masego remains coy about what he’s been working on musically, although he claims he’s not had much time to make music, you get the impression this excitable, multi instrumentalist, the ‘TrapHouseJazz superhero’ is never not creating. “At this point, it becomes a matter of choosing what to put out. I wanna make sure everything has it’s own send off – a proper send off. I feel like every song is like my child, I wanna make sure when they going to school they got their shoes tied and everything, you know what I’m saying? I think at this point, I got money now so I buy more instruments and I just try to learn how to play them and I feel like when it’s in your soul, it just kinda clicks – you know?”

For Masego, right now, the pressure is off. Having already attained critical acclaim and home-town recognition, there’s less to prove. Less to prove however, does not mean less to achieve. Masego has instead entered a realm where speed is less important, rather, these are the times for refinement, “I feel like what I’m doing feels so natural that I don’t see it as odd anymore. You should spend 15 years and learn some instruments. You should hang out on YouTube and just learn some things – YouTube University. You know?”

Masego breaks out in a spontaneous beat boxing riff. “What’s coming up? You just gotta wait and see.” 

Grooming by Abbie May at No Chiefs Agency using Lab Series
Set Design by Sarah Gobourne

For Stockists see here.