Savage - Brutal Beats
New Zealand’s biggest selling hip hop export Savage is a cool customer even in spite of his fierce determination to make it big, and with his US success vindicating his ambition, he’s fast become an unstoppable force. 3D’s Rezo got the lowdown from the man mountain himself.
Raised on the streets of South Auckland, Samoan-born Savage is now taking his dreams to Hollywood, and well versed in the game, isn’t one of those fly-by-night types who creates golden nuggets by accident.
Savage is killing radio right now with his debut American single Swing. A million hits on YouTube and the odd bidding war between a few big labels later, Savage has now been signed to Universal Records in a multi-million dollar deal. Yet he remains surprisingly coy on the achievement: “What can I say - things have been going great. I'm the first Samoan hip hop artist to go platinum in the US; that's a great achievement. I'm taking everything one step at a time and I'm embracing it all.”
Considering himself a career MC, savage explains, “I’ve been doing this for a while now and have had various thoughts over that time that I could make something out of it. You know, eventually you get a grip on things, and I decided I could get a record out. At the time - and today as well of course - I am surrounded by really talented people. Between us we have a collective knowledge that helps us visualise our dream.”
Indeed, the New Zealand scene has nurtured and raised a considerable number of amazing hip hop crews. And Savage thinks part of the reason is that the country loves to be different. “We absorb what’s fresh in the international scene a lot quicker than larger countries. The fact is that it is a small place and the whole joint rides on this tall poppy syndrome, where people are forced into distilling what they say or do about anything. So when something that is potent comes up, often it gets accepted.”
Take a little East and West coast, a sprinkle of quality albums including his latest LP Savage Island, a few remixes by big names like Souljah Boy and Pitbull, with a few million record sales in between and you have the recipe for the most successful New Zealand rapper ever.
If that isn’t enough, consider his live show, and lyrics that touch a raw nerve, and you can easily imagine what gets people hyped to talk about the super-sensation that is Savage. The man possesses a strength rarely found in live music, and coupled with a relaxed, liquid style it’s easy to understand why he commands the respect of his peers as well as crowds around the world.
WHAT: Savage Island through Universal / Dawn Raid Entertainment
WHEN: Out now