Watch the video: https://youtu.be/C4A8pGxeVjg
There has been a big push in all forms of media to have strong female characters. Outside of narrative media the other explosion of females are the massive increase in rap and R&B. From rise of Nicki Minaj to Lizzo, or Doja Cat it has been massive. There is a new artist to join their ranks, Megan Three Stallion (very strange name, but not as weird as Dababy, so I digress). Only, with all the biggest female artists there has been one big person often looked over when it comes to modern rap and R&B, but is massive nonetheless, Queen B herself, Beyoncé. Together they bring a remix to Savage.
Savage is a female empowerment anthem as well as a female brag rap. It has all the traps (ha, pun) of modern brag raps with a repetitive, but enjoyable beats, ad lib onomatopoeia at the end of lines, sound effects, specifically gunshots, and talking about cars.
The individual verses and chorus do not build a whole cohesive story, but just reinforce how bad (in the good way) these ladies are at the end of the day. How they make moves and want to be perceived.
The chorus is the weakest part of the song mostly because I am so out of my depth and frame of reference. To break it down, the chorus just has the ladies saying they are savages, along with be classy, bougie, ratchet, sassy, moody, and nasty. It just say that, and does the confrontational “Bitch, what’s happening” like someone is all up in your business. It’s straightforward, however I have questions.
Again, I cannot reinforce enough how out of my depth I am on this. But, why is it good to be ratchet, moody, nasty, and sassy? The others, bougie, and classy make sense. That shows how you’re on the come up and grown. But how does being nasty and ratchet do that? The tone and possible reading of the song is that they want to be rich so they have an excuse to be rude people. That is not the intention (I assume), but how it comes across. To boil it down simply, it does not sound empowering to be moody and nasty to people. That is a very teenager mindset (that could also be because that’s the main audience for these songs but I’d have to do more research).
Spinning out of that, the verses do a much better job of portraying the song in its intended way. There is no direct analysis to do of a whole verse, but there are good lines that build it over time. “Talk big shit, but my bank account match it,” sounds endlessly satisfying. The ability to say you are great and have proof by showing all those numbers sounds great. As well as being complimented for how you look by guys (assumably someone they like because, based on the greatest How I Met Your Mother bit, it’s only attractive if you find them attractive. Otherwise its creepy).
The second verse it has interesting lines like “If you don’t jump to put on jeans, baby you don’t feel my pain,” has multiple meanings. The first is one of being in somebody’s shoes (of jeans in this case). They can’t know what you’re going through if they don’t walk a mile in your pants. Another read is one of “jump to put on jeans…” being a sort of business analogy. Where it’s putting on pants to do real work and make moves. The final, and one Beyoncé and Genius reference is the literal effort some women have of putting on jeans because of their body shape. Also believable and a fine enough statement. All body types are valid and have their struggles. Fair enough.
The other line that really sticks out in Verse 2 is, “And my mama was a savage, [n-word for no reason], I got this shit from Tina,” which is a great throwback to even early R&B with Tina Turner and roping her in (wait, checking Genius… umm okay, also cool). Turns out Tina is Beyoncé’s mom so it is literally “mama” in this case and not one of metaphorical mother. Cool.
Verse 3 has a great empowerment line of “Talkin’ to myself in the mirror like ‘Bitch, you my boo,’” which is then built on in Verse 4 with “I’ma flip my hair and look back while I twerk in the mirror.” These two lines really enforce just how self empowering the song wants other women to be. To be strong enough to talk into the mirror and say you’re the most important, and make sure you feel good about yourself.
This does not mean every line is great. There are some that feel filler, and there is one line that is real bad. “Always keep my word, no, I don’t do crossword,” is clunky at best. It’s meaning is just that of being true to what you say is a good sentiment. However, rhyming word with word is real cheap, and putting down an inherently intellectual game, like the crossword shows a shallowness to only act big, but not be sophisticated (I say that as someone who doesn’t do the crossword puzzle, but think they are impressive endeavors to complete over doing a Rubix cube). Actually, that ties in with the chorus problem of feeling like they only want to act sophisticated, not be sophisticated. Just being rich to seem smart, but not actually try and reach that’s
The video, which also has Nikki Minaj and Iggy Azalea (of all people), is just reinforcing the main ideas of bragging and empowerment by having all the girls looking fabulous and hanging out. It’s fine. It does the job. It does have one fatal flaw, the different girls and videos were clearly not filmed together, and that they women never interact, and the Beyoncé footage is clearly old music videos.
The reason that’s a problem is because one aspect of the song that is really unique is how the two women feel like they are close friends. They constantly compliment each other, turn the song to the other person, and act as each other’s hype (wo)man. It’s something that not even male brag rap can do. I mean last week when looking at THE SCOTTS or Life is Good, those are two artists working together but they are either too similar to be redundant like THE SCOTTS or so disparate that there is no reason for them to be together like Life is Good. Savage, meanwhile, hits that perfect balance of remixed feature that it feels like they are really girlfriends who hang out and act like savages. It’s quite a feat.
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