Brooklyn bred, Flatbush born, emcee Sav Killz (Jamel Hampton), product of the "Bedstuy do or die" era,
Sav has emersed himself in the Hip-Hop culture for as long as he could remember, first starting out as a graffiti writer, he tagged "Savage" doing throw ups and fill ins through out Brooklyn, later Sav had then become inspired to become an emcee on a serious level, he had been rhyming since childhood but when he seen how his words and unique style affected those around him he found his true calling, engaging in numerous rap battles and street corner cyphas building his reputation all over Brooklyn.
He later honed his skills amongst a Wu-tang Clan cypha, spending many nights rhyming in the 36 Chambers studio and Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn, which was ran by Popa Wu (one of the Wu-tang elders who inspired the Wu-Tang Clan). Beyond Wu-Tang, Sav has also performed at various open mic events becoming a staple in the underground scene, coming up with artists like Stronghold Crew, Immortal Technique, Planet Asia, C Rayz Walz, Loer Velocity and more. Finally, all those late nights seemingly paid off, as Sav's lyrical skills were honed and sharpened like a sword.
Sav has been an active member of the Nation of Gods and Earths for several years. The Nation inspired Sav to stay positive, help his community and strive for the best things in life, you can see and hear this in his music. While Sav Killz music is street and gritty, there is still a feeling of hope shown in his fervor.
A few years ago Sav linked up with DJ J-Ronin, who then became his manager, working with Ronin helped take Sav to the next level, releasing 3 mixtapes which all together has sold over an impressive 35,000 units.
We stand again at the edge of another press release.
You wonder as you look over the edge.
It is you pondering what will come after the fall. Will it be a painful end, full of pain and ruin? Or will it be the moment when you take flight to something greater? Being that man cannot literally fly of his own volition, I am speaking metaphorically. I step out on faith and I go forward to the edge with an open mind and willing ears.
Here we go...
Sav Killz's mixtape Bangers And B-Sides is a street mixtape. As a personal rule I tend to stay away from them. It's not that I believe myself above them as a subset of hip-hop. Nor is it some latent prejudice against street records in favor of more thoughtful hip-hop. That rule is based upon past disappointments with more gritty mixtapes that sound stale and like something I've heard too many times before.
Sav Killz hit a different note and made me think instantly of that olde adage. You know the one-there an exception to every rule.
I listen to the production and I am firstly impressed there. It's a motley mix of sounds that sound as if they've been brought together from every region of hip-hop in the country. Then Sav Killz adds volume and verse to each beat it happens to fall on.
Case in point would be the song I am listening to now. It's a track "Look What I Become". Just based off the production here I was put in mind of some early E-40. With that being said this track showed me what I would come to recognize as versatility.
"I Love You (A Tribute To Hip Hop)" is pure East Coast as far as my ears are concerned. I hear the influences of rappers like Fabolous and Freeway here. Something in the throbbing tempo of the beat coupled with Sav killing (no pun inteneded) the words he spits out to us.
"Take A Moment" to me sounds like a lost track from Jay-Z. And that's not me putting on airs for the sake of this interview. It (that is to say, this track) plays in that intelligent gangsta way a lot of Jay's tracks do.
"Retrospect" has a similar vibe.
Also listen to: "The Good Die Young", "Incarcerated Scarfaces Freestyle", and "Winter".
I'm happy to say that Sav Killz has killed my preconceptions about street mixtapes by giving me a shimmer of hope in them.
E pluribus, unumOf many, one. Sav Killz is the one.
Sav Killz- Bangers and B-Sides hosted by DJ J-Ronin
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*Review Courtesy of Lucious Black for @RoyaltyMagazine