2Ice Up on a Time
The name is bam savage aka black fist. Born in west Africa Freetown, Sierra Leone.. The artist, the producer. ^#^has been in the life for over 13 years master the art of soul projection, by fusing style of music. He has past ten years doing shows, and opening for many act, the Roots, Ray J, Nas, common, and many more. Masters @ Hip Hop. ^#^trip hop, Reggae. R&B. dance, & afro beats * The Boston Globe Musician hooked on W. African, hip-hop blend By Russell Contreras, Globe Staff | October 19, 2006 Turn on some music -- any music -- and Bam Savage will close his eyes, nod his head, and tell you how that tune was made. That hip-hop beat was made with the software Fruity Loops 6, he'd say, or that live reggae song was mixed using Pro Tools 6, but the artists should have used a different microphone. It's a unique listening skill the emcee/independent music producer has developed over the years as he has moved from a mere fan of hip-hop, R&B, and traditional West African music, to a creator of music that draws from all three. Now with his third independent CD set for release next month, the Lawrence resident said he is ready to take his music to the next level. And possibly change the culture of hip-hop on his journey. In an industry dominated by reputations, who-you-knowism, and romantic visions of drug and ghetto-fabulous aesthetics, Savage said wants to use his talent as a producer to fuse hip-hop with the West African music he grew up with. By doing so, he hopes to subvert mainstream hip-hop and bring it back to it's socially conscious and traditional roots. Or at least get artists to tell a good story. The 31-year-old producer, who has worked and performed with some of the biggest names in the game, including The Roots, is in the midst of a major push on the Internet to promote his work and other like -minded artists. ''The guy is amazing. He's very creative,' said Natural Soul, a hip-hop producer based in Lowell. ''He fuses music from his culture and hip-hop, and comes up with some great stuff. He's definitely the real deal.' Yes, he lives in Lawrence, and, yes, he's navigating a genre drowned in materialism and I've-been-shot-nine-times rappers. Yet, Savage believes his skills, the Internet, and his reputation will help him transcend all those barriers. Besides, he said, fans of hip-hop are tired of the same ol', same ol' from the gangsta lyricists. ''Not every two or three lines have to be a curse, you know, or screaming, or saying, 'I'll shoot you' or 'I'll kill you' and all that,' Savage said in an interview at his Lawrence home. ''We're much smarter than that, man. I know that money and drugs drives hip-hop right now. But it's doesn't have to be.' At least, that's not how Savage picked up his love for music. Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Savage was introduced to music by his family, who regularly blasted the music of Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley around the house. (The name Bam is short for Bamiekole.) At a young age, Savage listened to how the artists spoke of present-day conditions in the Americas while telling a good story. Then he would switch to the popular music of his homeland. Page 2 of 2 -- He came to the United States as a teen when his parents moved to Washington, D.C. During those days, the popular hip-hop group was gangsta rappers N.W.A., who rapped about shooting up police, drug dealing, and drinking 40s. That group was fine, though strange, for a West African teen trying to adjust to American life. But it really didn't sit well with him. Article Tools * PRINTER FRIENDLYPrinter friendly * SINGLE PAGESingle page * E-MAILE-mail to a friend * RSS FEEDSLocal RSS feed * RSS FEEDSAvailable RSS feeds * MOST E-MAILEDMost e-mailed * REPRINTS & LICENSINGReprints & Licensing * Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article * powered by Del.icio.us More: * Globe City/Region stories | * Latest local news | * Globe front page | * Boston.com * Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | * Breaking News Alerts Then, he heard Boogie Down Productions' ''Criminal Minded.' On the tape was KRS-One's fast moving lyrics about how an artist could be an educator, a preacher, and leader all at the same time, but in today's hip-hop world, such efforts are classified as criminal. Savage couldn't believe his ears. But how many times must I point you in the right direction You need protection, when I'm on the mike Because my mouth is like a 9-millimeter windpipe You're a king, I'm a teacher You're a b-boy, I'm a scholar If this was a class, well it would go right under drama ''It was overwhelming,' he remembered. ''I was like, 'Wow. He's saying a lot.' I had to rewind it. He was kicking so much knowledge to me at once. I couldn't adjust.' Every time he rewound the tape, he wrote the lyrics down. Then, he memorized them. Then, he started writing his own lyrics. The son of West African immigrants was officially hooked. Audio AUDIO SLIDESHOW: Hear Bam's music The years that followed saw Savage try his luck at college football, soccer, and becoming a hair stylist, something he still does professionally in Lowell. But whenever he had a spare moment, Savage worked on his music, either by jotting words in notebooks or learning new computer mixing programs. After 13 years, Savage's reputation as a producer who fuses African and American music has spread among the growing hip-hop underground scene. Not only has he released his own music, he has helped other hip-hop artists and West African bands put together CDs. Natural Soul said he has been impressed by Savage's story telling skills. ''Stories are the backbone of his music,' he said. ''It's groundbreaking.' Savage has opened for Common, The Roots, and other well-known groups around the country. He even had a chance to perform before the inspiration of his lyrics, KRS-One. He made sure to shake his hand. Though living in New York or Atlanta would make better business sense for a producer, Savage finds himself in Lawrence for it's affordability, and for love. He came to Immigrant City because his childhood girlfriend from Sierra Leone moved to the city years ago. He and Sharon Taylor Savage now have two children. In his upcoming album, Savage continues to debunk popular hip-hop and tells stories about his homeland, a place where children are dying in wars over diamonds. Savage said he'll continue making music for him self and other artists like Suliaman Kutay Turay, because he knows that's what some people what to hear. ''We have to put a good product in people's hands so they can make good decisions,' he said. ''That's what music is about. Telling a good story.' Russell Contreras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org © Copyright 2006 Globe.