Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sonic Saviors In Savannah


My home state and the blood that runs through my veins. As such I have a love for Atlanta hip-hop. But as I watch the number of Atlanta rappers, producers, and other artists grow I have a nagging question that bothers me from time to time.

When will the next Savannah rapper rise?

If you know me personally you know that I was born and raised in Savannah, GA. Because of that strong connection I love everything about my city except the small hip-hop contribution we have. Granted OutKast member Big Boi grew up in West Savannah before he moved to Atlanta. Although I appreciate Big Boi and his ode to his roots (“West Savannah”) I need something more.

The last hope we had of a breakout Savannah artist was lost to the violence that is typical of my birthplace.

Jason Johnson (stage name Camoflauge) was Savannah’s own bright star and local celebrity. We all knew him and we all loved him. In Savannah if you didn’t know the words to his classic track “Cut Friends” you couldn’t really be counted as a true resident. That was the kind of influence he had on us. And as with many rappers he lived the street life that he often brought to his lyrics. It threatened to take his career in true T.I. style when he went to jail surrounding the circumstances of what seemed to be a gang murder.

He returned and so did his music.

Around about the time of his third album Keepin It Real he did a track called “Laying My Stunt Down” with Cash Money founder Baby. Just based on that I thought that this signaled that Camoflauge had broken through and was preparing to sign with Cash Money at one point.

But it wasn’t to be.

My mother often says that you should be careful that your sins do not find you out. This was one of those times.

Camoflauge was gunned down outside of the studio where he recorded while he held his son. He was rushed to the hospital where he died. And in a way the entire city died a bit too.

This is not told as a sad story but as a working example.

Savannah needs rappers.

I write and I sing but my rapping has cobwebs all over it, honestly. But I’d gladly dust it off if there was a force, a contingent of us who were willing to make Savannah at least half of what Atlanta is hip-hop wise.

That is my appeal.

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