Track Meet: REASON Brings The Heat With "New Beginnings"
Updated: Jan 26
In the "Track Meet" series, we break down albums or projects track by track to show where sports and hip-hop meet.
REASON has been bubbling in the Los Angeles music scene for some time now and is making a big splash with his official debut project, "New Beginnings." The Carson, California rapper signed with Top Dawg Entertainment in 2018 and caught the attention of the nation with his appearance on the "Black Panther" soundtrack that same year.
While TDE has already built its legacy, REASON is not settling for riding the wave of what's already been done. He brings serious hunger to his craft and deftly executes braggadocious bars with the wittiest of wordplay. But he's named REASON for a... reason as he balances his ego with reflective storytelling growing up in the streets of Los Angeles, battling his personal anxieties and seeking real relationships.
The project pays tribute to several sports figures and weaves in many references as REASON is a former basketball player and an all-around Los Angeles sports fan. Peep this Los Angeles Rams jersey he wore during his 2018 Rolling Loud set.
"Death encounters, hand a handful, bruh/I could have left before expected, I had Andrew's Luck"
REASON opens "New Beginnings" with this reflective track pondering what he really wants in life. One of the lines is slick wordplay on former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. REASON says that he could have been killed or given up on his rap dream while waiting for his breakthrough. Luck retired suddenly before the season in 2019 at the age of 29. He had battled injuries the previous few seasons and left saying his heart wasn't in the game anymore.
"Pop Shit" ft. ScHoolboy Q
"Get shit off my chest/I took too many steps, Rockets/James Harden, my fame garnered"
"Let's be honest, I was balling way before the Bucks/Feel like Giannis Antetokounmpo"
REASON, a former hooper himself, has a few basketball nods on the popular single "Pop Shit." He takes the side of James Harden as the Houston Rockets star has gotten flack for his fancy footwork. Many believe he gets away with traveling too often, but perhaps he takes more "gathering steps" than most. REASON also bends the name of the Greek god Giannis Antetokounmpo to match his flow and explain his own tenure in the rap game. He takes creative license and pronounces the "G," but we all know real Gs move in silence like lasagna — or Giannis.
"I Can Make It" ft. Rapsody
"Now my crib look like jerseys, n*gga/There's holes (hoes) in it"
"Why your dreams ain't got no scores in it? You goaltending"
REASON enlists the power-punching Rapsody for a bouncy lil rap flex called "I Can Make It." In his boasts, REASON has some wordplay for how he has ladies in his home due to his rap success while his foes aren't making buckets, but pretending to prevent him from doing so.
"Flick It Up" ft. Ab-Soul
"Hoes got 6 like touchdown"
"Treat it like baseball, knock it out the park, now slid on safe/Knock it out the park, then slid on home"
"Flick It Up" has already made a bit of noise as REASON and Ab-Soul made a true celebration for Carson when they filmed the video at Del's Liquor Store. For his verse, REASON celebrates his escapades with women with some football and baseball references saying he's scored in both sports.
"This shit is easy as winning the spelling bee spelling the letter B"
Soulo employs a super dope flow as he champions his pure rap skills, saying it's as easy for him as winning a spelling bee with just one letter. Is the spelling bee technically a sport? Well, it's not exactly an act of athletic prowess, but it is an annual hoopla on ESPN.
BONUS: REASON starts the "Flick It Up" remix with a lil nod to star baseball player Albert Pujols.
"Sauce" ft. Vince Staples
"Lame bitches get blocked, O-lineman"
"Sauce" is so... saucy. REASON has this lowkey swag that is addicting and Vince Staples has another stellar, stellar verse. He remains undefeated. (See his verse on Aminé's "Limbo.") Part of the braggadocio throughout "New Beginnings" is REASON's ability to bag fine women, so those who aren't desirable get blocked like offensive linemen protecting a quarterback.
"Catch a pig, Randy Moss, yeah"
Vince really deserves a full breakdown of the wordplay and mental imagery he creates on his verse, but the sports reference here is when he shouts out Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, drawing the parallel between a pigskin that Moss would catch and the police pigs that Vince has to keep his eyes out for. Can we have a moment for this line too? "My dogs on the stick like a bomb suite/Cooking up, better duck, like a confit." Bars on bars on bars.
"Extinct" ft. Isaiah Rashad and J.I.D
"Before you fuckin, go purchase your Gary Paytons"
REASON graced us with an Isaiah Rashad verse!! The running joke among TDE fans is that REASON can't get his due shine because everyone always asks when Zay's album is coming out. Well, we don't have an answer for that, but we have a nice gravely verse from Lil Sunny complete with a super clever line about wrapping up before you get that home run with a shoutout to former NBA star Gary Payton aka The Glove. Oh, and J.I.D is on here, so it's quite a magical song.
"You n*ggas shootin' for hits, hopin' you land one/I make sure my shots finish more than and-1s"
"When I come back around, I play it like James Toney/Blocking that bullshit"
"Gossip" is one of the most introspective tracks on "New Beginnings" as REASON wrestles with the fact that he doesn't know who to trust as even his family members use him and spread lies about how he's moving. He decries other rappers desperately trying to make it big while he stays committed to his craft, making sure he finishes everything as completely as a basketball player making a foul shot, an "and-1." He also shouts out middleweight boxer James "Lights Out" Toney who dominated the 1990s. REASON is not here to play games, but defends his pride and integrity with the same fierceness as the champ.