California-hailing conscious rapper Souleye (aka Mario Treadway) teamed up with South Africa’s own heavyweight producer and We Are PIGS vocalist and musician Esjay for a searingly emotive track titled “Protected”.
Conscious is the operative word here when it comes to Souleye’s work. The rapper and hip-hop artist – who is also married to the one and only Alanis Morissette who he collaborates with often – pens verses which speak to the human condition and our place in the world. In this way he forms a cog in the conscious music movement which has grown throughout the USA in recent years which seeks to speak to the people in imparting messages of importance through the lens of popular sound.
“Protected” is no different. Laser synths and a singular plucked guitar line kicks the track into play, while Souleye’s grating, almost industrial vocals tear over the top. Snappy, quick-tongued verses spool out a reminder to allow the lessons of past hurts to shape one’s future, before a pulse beat begins to surface and Esjay lends some breezy EMS-style femme vocalism to the mix.
“It’s always a true gift working with Esjay,” says Souleye when commenting on the collaboration. “I’m excited to share this latest collaboration as an exclusive with Texx and the City and Esjay’s deeply loyal South African fan base. “Protected” is all about the power that our past wounds have in shaping our present when we open our hearts and feel them, and use the lessons imparted to build strength moving into the future.”
“I’ve been a huge fan of SOULEYE since first hearing his 2012 Iron Horse Running album, so when we met up at one of his shows six years later in Los Angeles, I felt like the stars had aligned and collaborating was pre-destined for us,” adds Esjay. “I am so excited to share this creation with the world and especially my homeland of South Africa first!”
This isn’t Souleye and Esjay’s first rodeo together and it’s not likely to be the last. The two spin a unique strain of popular sound in collaboration – to uplift and edify listeners in equal measure, and they have a whole lot of wisdom to impart.
Feature pic supplied by artist