Savage Souls
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Savage Souls

Charleston, SC | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF

Charleston, SC | SELF
Established on Jan, 2001
Band Hip Hop

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Savage Souls' studio is a no-frills room in an unassuming house amid the backwoods of Summerville. Inside, there are beat-making machines everywhere, records stashed in corners, and even a turntable in the fireplace. And a Neil Young Harvest CD sitting on a MIDI controller tells us these guys study up on all genres of music, not just hip-hop.

The group comprises Kae G The Original Seed, Fortune the Mic Mangler, and DJ Icirus, and they've been pretty busy this year with the release of two EPs, Illnastastic and Sword Gang, the latter of which reminds us of Space Jam. In the 1996 movie, Bugs Bunny whips out a bottle of "Michael's Secret Stuff" to give the Tune Squad a boost of confidence. We're convinced that since last year's CPMAs, Savage Souls have gotten their hands on a bottle of No. 23's secret stuff, because the lyrics off Sword Gang are full of boastful rhymes like, "We've invaded the continent/ Mission statement is dominance/ Couldn't remain anonymous/ Fill your brain with astonishment/ I'm too blatantly confident/ You shouldn't pay me compliments/ When I step on the stage every hater will face the consequence."

We asked Savage Souls why their last few releases have been so damn cocky as opposed to their earlier collection that were more about the struggle and their personal lives. "It's all pro wrestling. It's a spectacle," says Kae G. "Nobody gives a shit about us. Life is hard for everybody, and nobody wants to hear that. It's entertainment. Do a fucking backflip or get the fuck out of my face. Do something special. That's what we're doing now."

What the band is also doing is giving us a case of nostalgia. The harpsichords on Sword Gang tracks bring back memories of old Nintendo sounds, while they also give us a history lesson in hip-hop sampling. "All but one of those tracks are old French library records from the '60s and '70s," says Kae G. "They made these records because TV companies didn't want to pay licensing fees to use contemporary music. Studios would hire session musicians to put together instrumental tracks of funk, jazz and so on. It's gorgeous."

The chemistry of lyricists Kae G and Fortune is undeniable. Listening to the two rap together is like hearing old friends one-up each other, and you've gotta be quick if you want to catch all of their quick-witted knowledge bombs. "We try to use a bunch of obscure references so people who read a lot will notice. I say something about Hercules on the new Sword Gang joint to grab people's attention," says Fortune. "If you write regular, then you're just a regular dude."

"He goes smart and mentions Hercules and I'll go stupid and mention Thundarr the Barbarian," Kae G says. "[Thundarr] is a shitty '80s cartoon. It's like He-Man meets Star Wars."

All cartoons aside, Savage Souls are dedicated musicians, and they attribute their work ethic to the hip-hop lifestyle. There's no room for bogus personality. "I refuse to do anything that is not hip-hop," says Kae G. "My view of hip-hop is a tiny world, though. That's the beauty of it. I've lived this forever, so what I say is hip-hop — the end. Everybody else can go to hell.

"But I'll say that with a caveat," Kae G continues. "I do think that everyone should have that mindset about what they do. Punk, rock 'n' roll — everything." - Charleston City Paper


Ten years ago, Kae G the Original Seed and Fortune the Mic Mangler first began working together, but 2013 will surely be remembered as a banner year for the pair, who, along with DJ Icirus, make up the Holy City hip-hop act Savage Souls. They formed a loose coalition of rappers, launched a successful hip-hop night at the Oasis called Savage Saturday, and embarked on a truly ambitious project, recording one new song every week for well over a dozen weeks. The end result is Savage Saturday: The Mix-Tape, a hard-hitting blast of rhyming and stealing that conjures up acts like Wu-Tang Clan, Jedi Mind Tricks, and the Demigodz.

"The beauty of hip-hop production, to me, is the fact that it's entirely based on theft, and if you're doing it right, it's like you've stolen everything," says Kae G. "You know, you steal a groove from a Bob James record, and you steal some horns from James Brown records. I mean, the way all that converges together is crazy."

Icirus adds, "I think we all started in different spots. I mean I played guitar. I was in a band and I learned how to play drums. Then turntables came into my life, so I made my own beats, and juggled that back and forth."

Savage Souls' music isn't like the hip-hop you're likely to hear on the radio. "I'm not a gangster, man, by no means," says Fortune. "I feel like I'm a pretty educated dude. I've got two kids and a wife. I rap about adult things."

For Savage Souls, their DJ is what sets them apart from others. Unlike most so-called DJs in town, Icirus doesn't just flip open a laptop and hit play. "You can find a lot of push-button-play DJs. You might be able to get some that can do mixing, but no one, at least that I've heard, can do the scratchin' and flares he can," Kae G says.

Savage Souls is also interested in promoting hip-hop and hip-hop culture. "We felt like hip-hop was lacking in town in respect, and so we formed the Holy City Hip-Hop Committee. It's a group that represents not only music, but artists and teachers and just the whole hip-hop culture," Icirus says. Today, the Holy City Hip-Hop Committee includes Damn Skippy, The Bad Mojo, and others. "We're really just trying to bring everyone together in one group, so we can all support each other. We want to have artists who love hip-hop and then they have an art show and we can perform for them. Or there might be a teacher who really loves hip-hop and we want to find a way to support them. Rather than just being for us, we want to be for everybody." - Charleston City Paper


Kae G the Original Seed, Fortune the Iron Mike Mangler, and DJ Icirus make up Savage Souls, a crazy-talented hip-hop act from North Charleston. We're constantly in awe of this trio's prolific nature, putting out new songs and EPs every chance they get. And by every chance they get, we mean they put out 14 songs in 14 weeks last year. With one EP down so far in 2014 (Illnastastic) and another due by the end of the month (Sword Gang), these guys are on track to release a total of four EPs by the end of the year. Impressed yet? Either way, check out their standout single "Our Time," a hoppin', layered track off Illnastastic. —Kelly Rae Smith - Charleston City Paper


Discography

The Tortured Souls EP (EP) (2007)
The Fitting (Full Length) (2010)
All Day (Mixtape) (2010)
Savage Saturday: The Mixtape (Mixtape) (2013)
Our Time (Single) (2013)
Illnastastic (EP) (2014)
Sword Gang (Single) (2014)
Sword Gang  (EP) (2014)
Invasion (Single) (2015)

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Bio

Savage Souls continues a long running, albeit seemingly forgotten, tradition of lyrically driven/sample based Hip Hop. From the "pause-play" tape feel featured on their pseudo freshman effort "The Fitting," to the break neck vocal cadences of "Savage Saturday: The Mixtape," the vintage production style of "Illnastatic," to the sound defining "Sword Gang;" The trio brings a sound, both, fresh and yet incredibly familiar.

Kae G The Original Seed's dusty instrumental beds and gruff voice war bar for bar alongside the laser like precision of Fortune the Iron Mic Mangler's impeccable control of the English language and rhythm. If that weren't enough, DJ Icirus' tactical turntablism thrashes through each mix and brings an organized confusion to the ears of the listener; to bring Savage Souls' sound full circle.

With the release of "Illnastastic" in August of 2014, Savage Souls kicked off a year long initiative to release a total of four E.P.s that will culminate in a debut album in 2016. The release of "Sword Gang" marked the midway point giving way to the forthcoming E.P. entitled simply; "Invasion."

Band Members