RTB Next: The Savagez
By Kiani Belgrave
Since its genesis, women’s contributions to hip-hop culture have been extraordinary. From Sugar Hill Records founder Sylvia Robinson and early rap group The Sequence, to legends like MC Lyte and Lil Kim to contemporary superstars Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, female artists have continued to be trailblazers and game-changers in the world of hip-hop. Today, the women of our culture are more vigorous than ever, with NPR calling 2020 “the year female rappers dominated,” it’s clear that we are witnessing the rise of the queens.
For the last few years, female emcees have had the game in a headlock. The emergence of artists like Megan Thee Stallion, City Girls, and Latto have solidified the arrival of the “Hot Girls,” as they craft some of the most infectious bounce and trap records that’ll bring the bad bitch out of anybody, creating a worldwide phenomenon one club banger at a time.
Los Angeles-based emcees Kellye “Kell’ Hardy and Jessica “Jet Dope” Thomas have a dose of bad bitch energy to serve themselves as two southern belles who are set to prove that they can be Savagez too.
The Savagez describe their sound as “Southern trap with a West Coast bounce.” both hailing from the dirty south, Jet Dope from Dallas, and Kell from Spartanburg, South Carolina, the duo channel their bad bitch energy over hard-hitting 808s and G-funk worthy synths. “We definitely like chopped beats. In Texas, being at the strip club is the culture just like Atlanta,” Jet Dope explained. “The first club I went to, I don’t even think I went to a regular club. I went to the strip club when I was 18. So, being in that lifestyle and listening to that type of music, that definitely influenced our music coming out here to the West Coast.”
The duo made a name for themselves individually as influencers and club promoters in the Los Angeles area party scene until Jet Dope would start recording as a solo artist performing at local nightclubs.
“We met because I had moved to LA to pursue acting and modeling, and Jet was doing that as well. We used to do skits together at this place called the Sketch House every week when Vine was big, and that’s how we really grew our following.” Kell said when asked about the group’s origins. “Jet was a solo artist, and we were hosting around LA, and I was like ‘I gotta get on a song.’ so we made ‘Jumping Off a Jet,’ and it’s been up from there.”
The transition from social media influencers to rap pop stars was no easy feat at first. Faced with some ridicule and criticism from their early tracks, Kell and Jet Dope had to make a name for themselves in the LA music scene to gain traction from local fans. “At first, it was a little hard. Going from posting skits to music, people were like, ‘what are you doing? Y’all are just some pretty girls; why music?’ But as they seen that we were consistent with it, our music was getting better, our music videos, people started fuckin’ with it.”
The Savagez attribute their sound and energy to be influenced by dirty south titans like Gucci Mane, Lil Jon, and Lil Wayne for their no-holds-barred attitudes and contribution to hip-hop music. The duo takes the energy of their male influences and sex appeal and tenacity of their favorite female emcees to excerpt an unmatched level of female machismo on their infectious bounce and trap anthems.
“Growing up, I was inspired by Missy Elliot. I just loved how creative she was and how she used her voice, and I loved her music videos,” Jet said when asked about her influences. “I also loved Eve’s rawness. She definitely made me become a savage today; just say whatever you want, but still, make fun music for the girls... That’s the type of music I’d like me and Kelly to do.”
As the female emcee continues to dominate the charts and hip-hop culture, The Savagez are determined to solidify their space as the next duo to look out for. Now more than ever, it’s clear that there’s room for many queens to claim the throne of hip-hop royalty, and The Savages are ready to take their seats.
The duo’s latest single, “Rich Bitch Shit,” is an anthem that embodies the Savagez’ mantra. Calling all the independent ladies and rich bitches to action, to “drop it down and buss it on ‘em.”
“Our new single 'Rich Bitch Shit' is a bounce song—it’s fast. It’s for the strip club, twerking. We always represent women empowerment and getting your own money,” Kell explains. “We tellin’ all our sisters, our cousins, everybody—go to work, get your bread, follow your dreams. That’s really what the song is about; being independent.”
With more singles on the way and an upcoming EP, The Savagez shows no sign of slowing things down. With their infectious club bangers and undeniable energy, the duo continues to break down the boundaries of the music industry and inspire us all to get on our “Rich Bitch Shit.”