By Geoffrey Rowlands
21 Savage is an apt stage name for the man born Shayan Bin Abraham-Joseph. Savage perfectly sums up the existence of someone who spent most of his young life pursuing illegal activities on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.
“Getting into trouble, going to juvenile (detention), going to jail. Losing friends who got shot. Wanting to kill the people who shot them. Being cold-hearted and learning to not care about anybody. That was my life as a kid.
“It was fun shooting at people and robbing them. But it wasn’t fun when the same thing happened to me. I’ve been shot six times. Twice in my arm, twice in my hand, once in my collar bone and once in my neck. I only felt the shot that broke a bone. I didn’t even know I’d been hit the other times until things cooled down.”
Not that Savage helped his own cause. He made no secret of taking a gun to school. Fearful classmates informed teaching staff. He was not simply expelled but banned from enrolling at any other school in the county. The incident concluded with one of his numerous spells in juvenile detention.
An obvious candidate for their illegal way of life, Savage joined the Atlanta chapter of the Bloods street gang. Considering he has four brothers and six sisters, it is a surprise to learn he regarded becoming a Blood as giving him a family. He refers to other gang members as his partners. Perhaps this is an abbreviation for partners in crime.
Now 24, it was being shot on his 21st birthday which finally convinced Savage to take rapping seriously.
“I was rapping before but I didn’t want to be a rapper. I only rapped because my big brother was rapping and we just made a song. But getting shot on my birthday made me think I should try to find a better way to live. That’s when I thought I should try to rap.”
There has been a general move away from gangsta rapping in more recent times. But the gangsta lifestyle was the only personal experience that Savage could rhyme about in his songs.
“People think we all got money in Atlanta. People got the idea that we all wear Guiseppe’s and buy Versace. My voice was needed to tell the truth about poverty, struggling, hustling, robbery and killing. I brought back real street feeling music and the reality of that pain.”
His self-released debut single, Picky, was issued on November 12, 2014. This was followed six months later by his debut mixtape, The Slaughter Mixtape. Given away as a free digital download, it raised his profile dramatically. From being known as a local rapper, Savage suddenly found his fame had spread across America.
Although no more singles were released, videos were made for the tracks Skrrt Skrrt, Million Dollar Liq and Woah. Solid airplay on music television stations meant fans were ready and waiting for his debut EP, Free Guwop, and second mixtape, Slaughter King.
“My music tells the truth about life on the streets. I ain’t never sold no brick but I’ve been around people who did. Rapping about drugs doesn’t make you a street rapper. To me, it just means you’re a drug dealer. My music speaks to both crowds. The people selling bricks and the people buying them.”
Red Opps, a track from Free Guwop, became Savage’s first entry on Billboard’s Hot 100. It also found a place on both the Hot R&B / Hip Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts. Since then, all of his singles have become hits.
His second EP, 2016’s Savage Mode, peaked at number 23 on the Billboard 200. It also reached the top ten on the R&B / Hip Hop Albums and Rap Albums charts.
“I’m in hip hop to get rich and take care of all my family and my momma. I’m not trying to be the best rapper in the world. I just want my people to have nice houses and cars.”
Savage’s finances have increased significantly thanks to the success of his recently released debut LP, Issa Album. Now signed to the major label, Epic Records, and benefitting from their promotional skills, he has found himself at number two on three different charts, Top R&B / Hip Hop Albums, Top Rap Albums and the Billboard 200.
Lead single, Bank Account, has already become by far his biggest hit on the Hot 100 and is still climbing towards number one.
“I looked at maybe being the next Gucci Mane because we’re in the same lane and do the same kind of stuff. I didn’t look at being the richest rapper in the world but I’ll take all the money I can get from my record sales. Maybe I could be the next Gucci Mane and the next Bill Gates.”
It was 2009 when Long Island, New York, alternative rock quartet Brand New released their last album of new material. In fact, they were still a quintet when the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Daisy first saw the light of day. Guitarist/keyboardist Derrick Sherman decided to leave in 2013.
In the meantime, the band have issued two new singles and an album of old recordings, Leaked Demos 2006, so called because the songs had been leaked online on January 24, 2006. But all indications were that Brand New were about to break up.
Numerous statements were made about their impending demise. They even sold T-shirts which gave Brand New’s dates as 2000-2018.
If the band still intend to break up next year, they are seemingly determined to go out with a bang rather than a whimper. On August 15, they announced the vinyl release of their fifth album, Science Fiction. The LP would apparently be available in October. Two days later, 500 fans who had pre-ordered the vinyl edition received a CD of the album.
Science Fiction has now been made available for everyone to hear and purchase. It can be heard in full at (no www.) brandnewofficial.bandcamp.com/album/science-fiction
If you enjoy the LP, it can be downloaded for 9 USD
More of the band’s music can also be accessed from this webpage. Each album, EP or single is available to hear and download.
After setting a record of 431 consecutive weeks with at least one song on Billboard’s Hot 100, Drake’s incredible streak finally came to an end.
Drake’s time on the Hot 100 is two years longer than any other artist. The previous record holder was his friend and mentor Lil Wayne who racked up 326 consecutive weeks on the chart. Drake also broke the record for most hits by a solo artist. However, many of his 155 separate entries were collaborations with other artists.
The Canadian superstar expressed himself a little disappointed when asked about the ending of his run. “I need 500,” was his reply.
If Drake were to begin now and remain on the Hot 100 for 500 weeks, it would take him into 2027. He is already heading towards this goal by starting work on an album of new songs.
Dance music fans might like to check out Shinin’, a new track from Norwegian DJ, producer and Feedelity record label boss Hans-Peter Lindstrom.
Featuring vocals by American singer Grace Hall, it is the lead single from Lindstrom’s forthcoming album, It’s Alright Between Us As It Is, which is scheduled for release on October 20. The track can be heard at (no www.) lindstrom.bandcamp.com/album/its-alright-between-us-as-it-is.
An earlier song, Closing Shot, can also be accessed via this webpage.
Much more of his work, including Lindstrom’s remixes of songs by other artists, can be heard at (no www.) soundcloud.com/feedelity
An Italian rock band half of whom live in Manchester. This is the unusual background of The Lotus.
Singer and bass guitarist Rox (he doesn’t use his surname) and guitarist Luca De Falco took a motorhome holiday in England and enjoyed it so much that they moved there. Keyboardist Kristal Cross and drummer Marco Lanciotti still live in Italy which must make rehearsals a pretty lengthy commute.
The Lotus have just released their latest single, Perfect Love. The video is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x_tO8xJr7g
It is the follow-up to Mars-X. The video for this track is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiUiKRfYxxg
Both songs will feature on their forthcoming album which they plan to finish recording in January.
More of the band’s music can be heard at (no www.) soundcloud.com/thelotusofficial
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