O.G. Savion Saddam: Street Life, Rhythm & Beats
O.G Savion Saddam respected artist like Outkast, The Ghetto Boys, Trick Daddy, Jay Z, and Biggie, rappers who talked about life and their mêlée of living in the hood, much like himself. “I was out there in the streets and stuff. I been to prison a few times,” he says. “I just started putting some of my thoughts together over beats, and I think that’s how it came about. I got serious about it about six or seven years ago, and I started putting out CD’s, whole albums and stuff like that.”
Even as an adolescent, the native of Kinston, NC, had a crafty way with words. Savion wrote in a notebook, and kept it filled with gritty sonnets about living in the hood. The verses elucidated his life as a teen, who was crippled by poverty in the rural area of Kinston.
As revealed, Savion’s family didn’t have much money, so he spent many of his summers toiling in the blistering sun harvesting in the tobacco fields between North and South Carolina so he could stash funds for school, his family, as well as his music career. Savion didn’t accumulate enough money to do any of the things mentioned. It simply wasn’t enough. But, his desires of being a rapper intensified. Savion found himself spending more cash trying to become an artist than yielding a profit from it. He hoped that someone would hear his sounds and sign him. However, in Savion’s case, being discovered as a rapper in Kinston, NC, was next to impossible. Therefore, he turned to the streets and started hustling, which landed him in prison.
Getting it "out the mud," that might be the best phrase, describing Savion’s success. He continued to make music even though he was in at out of jail. He released mixtapes like Salute to the Streetz (Young Buck), Grind Mode featuring Kool G Rap, Raekwon, and Maino. He also liberated The Voice of a Hustler and Somewhere in America. He released a slew of Urban bangers, including J.O.E, with MC Joe Green and “Social Media” featuring Young Buck and Choppo. His latest project, Contraband boasts a star-spangled mashup of frontrunner artist like MoneyBagg Yo, Project Pat, Philthy Rich, Rocko, Ghetto Barbie, Scrilla, Ricco Barrino,Troy Ave, AR-Ab and Oschino.
When Savion crafted his latest track from the compelation CD, Mudd, it was an impeccable correlation of his testimony, showing through gruff lyricism, his climb from the bottom of Kinston, NC, and mounting to the top… “I came from the mud. The area where I’m from in North Carolina, it’s a dead zone. Its absolutely nothing going on around there compared to Raleigh or Charlotte. It’s nothing. It’s the lack of resources, the lack of motivation, the lack of money, but I’m still making it happen. Nobody looked out for me. I did what I had to do to get where I had to go,” he asserts proudly.
Savion opened the stage for other artist like JadaKiss, Petey Pablo, and Jim Jones just to name a few headliners.
Judging from Savion’s vast body of work on and offstage, it’d be wise to say that he learned the business and took things to another level. He used the power of Instagram Facebook, and Google Ad’s to reach his fanbase.
According to Savion, the city of Kinston isn’t a thriving place for independent artist. “It’s a lot of people that try to do it, but there’s a lack of resources and knowledge of what to do. It’s like that everywhere, but it’s kinda hard. It’s a lot of talent but no direction. People can come up with some hot songs and maybe a few videos, but they don’t have real direction of where to do it and where to take it. A lot of people don’t have the budget to take it there. We are really lacking in that department. Once I got on the internet, and that was the cheapest way for me to go to get my music out there.”
O.G Savion Sadamm rocking out with JadaKiss.
“I’m trapped out, he says, “and the people that relate to that lifestyle, they support me the most. When they hear my music, they understand where I’m coming from. You might be trying to get to the money, and you might be going the wrong way about it, but every day it’s a struggle. Everybody [is] on a paperchase in some shape form or fashion.”
‘When these artists blow up, they get the big head, and they won’t work with another artist unless they they can come up from doing a song with that artist. Some of these rappers, they want the bread. They don’t value the artistry or the talent, but that’s what they do it for, to get into a position where up-and-coming artist will want to come and spend a bag with them, to get on their records. Most of the situations that I dealt with was like that. I probably wanted to do a song with someone, and I reached out to management. Once I found out what I needed to get the feature, I gave them the bag and they gave me the verse, you feel me? If I want to follow-up, I’ll do the video and see what I need to do to make that happen. For the most part, that’s how it goes. It’s only a handful of artists that you can’t approach, who won’t do the record unless there’s some money involved… Everybody wants the bread,” says Savion.
Savion encourages up-and-coming artist to treat each song like it’s their last time performing. “Back in the day, the artist that came through in the early 90’s and 2000’s, if they were good, their legacy held up. Nowadays, you can be hot this year, and be nothing the next year. You got to treat it like you’re going to fall off next month. You gotta go hard every time you go at it. You gotta move around. Just as much work that you put into the studio, you gotta put it into marketing. You need to build your connections and resources. You gotta go hard at that, too.”
He also states that you need to figure out what you represent as an artist. Don’t try to be something you’re not just for clout. “My advice would be, do you and be yourself. Focus more on marketing and promotions. You might not be outspoken. You might not be animated and that’s cool, but you need to find someway to pull people into what you have going on. If you aren’t from the streets, and even if you are from the streets, you don’t have to go out there and flash guns, do a bunch of gangster talk, or try to flash a whole bunch of money. You just gotta be unique. Right now, I think that the music industry is wide open. You don’t have to do a whole lot, but you got to do the work. You don’t have to be all extra, but if you do the work, it’s going to pay off, especially if your music is good and you’re willing to do the work, sponsorships, open mic, and all that, every day, every week, and every month. You are building your clientele, and you’re building relationships with the right people. It’s going to pay off if you don’t stop. When you stop, everything else is going to stop. I wouldn’t advise nobody to go out there and be extra because the polices are watching, and then once you put out that energy, it’s going to come back. It must come back. That’s how the universe works. You need to be on point. Look at Chance the Rapper, he isn’t a gangster or any of that. He put in the work, and the work paid off. His results might not be the next persons results; but I guarantee that you won’t be on no witness stand [Tekashi 69] forced to tell on somebody,” he scoffed lightly. “As long as you’re telling your story. You can’t fake that. Just give people the real.”
Savion is an old-school rapper just like his moniker suggests. He’s a storyteller—He says that type of inventiveness is what sets him apart from other rappers. “If you can tell a story and people listen to you, but the whole while that they are listening to you, they can visualize what you are saying, that means you are a good storyteller. That’s what I aim for when I do the stories. I incorporate storytelling in the songs that I do by myself. I don’t knock other rappers who are having fun and turning up. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, but at some point, it gets so repetitive and its nothing special about it. I look for more diversity. I don’t need everybody to sound the same. I don’t need everybody talking about the same thing.”
As far as business ventures goes, the rapper would like to start his own juicing company as well as a transport/currier service. Sadam wants to spread his wings and leave a legacy just like the predecessors in the industry did before him. He says that he relies heavily on the support from his wife. She provides the perfect balance for all aspects of his life whether it’s the music or the business. “You gotta have some help. You can’t do it by yourself. I definitely appreciate my wife for helping me out and sticking with me.”
In closing he says, “I got an all-star lineup that’s streaming everywhere. All I can say is, I hope people take time out of their day to check it.”