The Hip Hop culture that flows out of South Africa is one which echoes, in its highest frequency, the political and social voices of the people. Messages against injustice, and those which ask for revolution and reformation, are a common topic of conversation for most south african rappers. Of course, this only makes sense when we take a look at the political narratives that have been under spotlight in the country.
Not all south african rappers choose to take a political route when working on their music. Several opt for a more social option, referencing trends they find influence their lives in fundamental ways. One of these artists, Da L.E.S, chose the latter alternative in his song Train Rides. The song begins with his hook where he talks about some new shoes he copped and women that want to “hop on the choo-choo,” a theoretical bandwagon that is represented through his growing fame. Da L.E.S, a D.C-born native knows exactly what it’s like to have very little. That being said, in Train Rides, he doesn’t miss an opportunity to flaunt his new wealth and style. In his second verse, Da L.E.S, which is short for “Less Equals Success,” said “now that I’m on a high level, whip gotta be bulletproof, seats gotta be courtside, feet gotta be horse high, everything on a God level so I can understand the foresight.” Here, if nowhere else, listeners can hear how passionate Da L.E.S is about making sure that we see everything he’s worked for through his possessions.
That being said, it would be wrong to suggest that Da L.E.S is not a conscious rapper. Many of his other songs discuss his involvement with Soweto, and how much he feels he needs to be a voice for south african people.