Utopia

Savage

Utopia

“My friends call me Savage because I’m plain; I’m a real person,” the artist born Godson Ogaga Essi tells Apple Music. “I don’t know how to hide my feelings. I try to smile, but my face just remains so straight because I’m an introvert. So, people just read that: ‘This guy’s a savage.’ So, OK, let’s be Savage.” After studying mathematics at university, he moved to South Africa and launched his own clothing brand, Savage Space Couture. “Mathematics has actually played a big role in my life, because before I do anything, I know my next two steps ahead and calculate,” he says. “I know what to do.” Savage’s debut project, Utopia, celebrates being African and revels in the beauty of African women, interspersed with meditations on the hustle. Here, he gives us a track-by-track breakdown.
“Rosemary” (feat. Victony) “‘Rosemary’ is a song for all the beautiful African ladies—how we appreciate them, how sexy they are. African ladies are so pretty. That’s what the song is about. It’s a representation of all African women. And Victony is a very dope artist.”
“Mana Gyalis” (feat. Kojo Funds & Kida Kudz) [Savage & Skiibii] “For fine boys, the girls don’t let us rest. Men, at the end of the day, we like women. Kojo Funds did his thing, Kida Kudz did his thing. Skiibii is a very fine boy—he likes to be fresh. The ladies love Skiibii!”
“Buttons” (feat. Alpha P) “I’m a lover boy. We appreciated African ladies on the album. We’re talking about the button. That’s what the song is about. I was just trying to be naughty on that song. Alpha P loved the track, and he just jumped in and did his thing. It’s fire.”
“Pariwo” (feat. D Will Dreamz) “D Will Dreamz is a very good friend of mine; that guy is fire. Back in the days, in school, he was like our superstar. He basically came with an AK-47 to murder that beat. ‘Pariwo’ means ‘you can shout; you can go ahead and shout.’ We’re stylish boys. We have money. We don’t even need to listen to your noise. We don’t listen to everything you’re saying. Then, in the hook, we’re like, ‘We came from the hood/Ain’t got no flip-flops.’ Like, ‘We came from the streets. We don’t even got shoes to wear, but now we’re living our lifestyle—so, you can go ahead, say whatever you want to say. This one is for the streets, telling everybody that everything is good—[if] we just put in the work, [we’re going to] shine.”
“Blow Me Away” “I really appreciate love because my mom and dad are still together after so many years. My dad is always like, ‘Son, it’s one woman and one man,’ so I’m a lover boy. I actually sang that song to appreciate someone in my life; I was just looking at her and getting the inspiration. Every time I see her, she blows me away.”
“Confident” [Savage & Buju] “We are talking to a lady and she’s just shunning us, and I’m trying to let the lady know, ‘I’m confident, I’m rich, I can take care of you, just love me. As long as I have this Hennessy in my hands, I’ll tell you everything that’s inside my heart.’ At the same time, we’re trying to promote African confidence. The way the visuals are, we could have easily put in ladies twerking, doing all of that. But with ‘Confident’—I get a lot of tags [on social media] and people really don’t see the girly parts of ‘Confident.’ When I see people post ‘I’m Confident,’ and they tag the song, it actually [mirrors] the idea behind promoting African confidence. African people are actually very confident, whatever we want to do. I’m African. I love being African. I’m proud to be African. So, I like to portray the fact that I’m African, I don’t want to be anyone else; I love this skin. I’ve been a huge fan of Buju since ‘Spiritual.’ Every time Buju sings, it’s like he’s worshiping God. His voice is crazy; I can listen to Buju all day. I love his personality as well.”
“She Knows” (feat. Jay Teazer) “Jay Teazer—I fuck with him a lot. He actually recorded the song and sent it to me. It’s a lovey-lovey type of song. On the whole album, almost all the songs talk about ladies. We’re just appreciating the African ladies. ‘She Knows’ everything. We’ve been together indoors, so she knows everything [laughs].”
“Hard” (feat. Khaligraph Jones & Emtee) “I actually recorded that song with Emtee first [in 2020]. I had a verse on that song with Emtee. It’s a very hard song. There’s this girl I met in a club, and we just went home, and she was just screaming, ‘Hard, hard, hard.’ And that night, I had to record the song. There’s a producer I work with in Cape Town, Zino D; he works with Nasty C and actually produced ‘SMA.’ He came in that night, and I just did my thing. The first thing that came into my head was ‘hard, hard, hard.’ He did this Travis Scott sound, and it was just crazy. Emtee liked the song and did his thing as well. Khaligraph then heard it and wanted to jump on the song, too. So, we’ve got West Africa, South Africa, and East Africa—that’s dope.”
“Freaky” “This guy—I don’t know if you’ve seen him on Instagram. I can’t remember his username, but he always says, ‘Freaky freaky’ whenever he sees the girls. He’ll be like, ‘Freaky freaky.’ He’s saying, ‘This girl wants to finish me, but she’s still sexy.’ So, we’re saying, ‘This girl, she’s so freaky, she wants to freaky freaky on me.’ This song is fire. You know the girls, whenever they see us, are going to go freaky with us. D Will [Dreamz] did the backup and also did some harmonizing on this track.”
“So Real” (feat. So Trap) “My cousin So Trap is actually one of the realest people I know. The song is so special to me. So, he’s talking about how real we are and how we started from the trenches, the hustle. So, when So Trap says he had been hustling since he was 12, he wasn’t kidding, because he [was always] just trying to make something out of nothing. This song is actually really important to me, and sometimes I paint a picture in my head when I listen to this song, about struggles in life.”

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