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."