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Provided by SavageRealm via Instagram.

Q&A: ‘Mad-regular’ rapper SavageRealm discusses the world of ‘meme rap’

Today’s hip-hop industry is often criticized for being too corporate or overproduced, with notable artists such as Kanye West having recent albums receive poor reviews. And with songs titled “Tax Evasion Freestyle” and “I Pee on the Toilet Seat,” one rapper is taking a different approach to avoid that fate.

Enter Nicholas Onkoba, better known by his stage name SavageRealm, who’s trying to meme his way to the top of charts.

Onkoba who describes himself as having a “youthful stoic complexion, hilarious umbrella-like haircut and an odd resemblance to the Oscar-winning film The Blind Side's Quinton Aaron,” considers his music to fall into the rising genre of ‘meme rap.’

The genre, filled with artists such as Yung Gravy, bbno$, DBangz and more that pride themselves in their work, can be best summarized as music without meaning with the sole focus of making the track as entertaining and fun as possible. In short: bangers

Beyond his music, Onkoba runs an Instagram meme account, @savagerealm, which boasts nearly one million followers and has been fueling his rise to relevance.

The Post talked with Onkoba about his music, personal life and more.

The Post: What does a day in the life look like for you? Is your music and meme page a full-time job?

Onkoba: That’s basically it, man. Other than that I just exist.

P: What’s the difference between SavageRealm and Nicholas Onkoba? Are they the same person, or is SavageRealm completely separate from your personal life and thoughts?

Onkoba: In real life, I’m just mad regular. It feels weird saying this but I’m just a mad normal person. I’m just super relaxed and chill all the time. I feel like a lot of people would see me and how I look and be like ‘I don’t know if I want to talk or approach that guy.’ And then they say something to me and I’m just mad chill. It’s pretty funny.

P: Your brand is humor. Obviously, there is much more nuance to that but at its surface, it’s simply humor. Does that hold you back from expressing something serious? Do you feel somewhat desensitized to the world around you as a result? 

Onkoba: Nah, just as far as music goes - I keep forgetting that people don’t know the unreleased s--- I have and that, a lot of people don’t know that I produce. I have my hand in a lot of buckets, you know? For example, I dropped a lot of funny bulls---. I dropped Feeling Great, which is kind of a more serious song, but the song was more mainstream or whatever the popular sound is. And that s--- really popped off too so people support it. And as far as talking about serious s----, I feel like if I ever actually had to bring attention to stuff, people in the past have always f----- with me.

P: You describe your music as “meme rap,” what does this mean to you? Is there a deeper meaning to your music at all, or is it purely made to entertain? Does music have to have meaning? 

Onkoba: I’d say if there’s a deeper meaning it’s just that people need to be less serious about life. I feel like people are too serious, man. 

P: So you think rap is too serious, like, the current rap industry?

Onkoba: Yeah, there’s some fun ones but there’s a lot of f--- s--- going on. It doesn’t really feel responsible. So I’m just in my own lane doing my own s---. I’m independent, not signed to anything. Especially with a lot of artists passing away too, it’s a lot of violence and I just kind of stay in my own lane of making whatever music I want. I’ve been learning more and more on my spiritual journey, but really just being calm and present throughout everything. I just want music to be a fun hobby like playing basketball or like going to the arcade or some s---, as opposed to ‘well I’ve really got to put together this body of art,’ and try to impress Rolling Stone. I really just take a nonchalant approach and I feel like it’s for the better.

P: What’s it like behind the scenes, working with names such as Roy Purdy and being on stage with Gravy and Baby? Is it always fun and lighthearted, or is there an unknown soft underside to the meme rap genre?

Onkoba: We are also humans so we do talk about random s--- a lot of the time. We’ll have normal a-- human conversations, but a lot of the time we’re just geared towards having fun and having a good time, like tour is super euphoric, you know? All your homies are here, you’re traveling on this bus, living together for like a month, seeing different cities together. It’s a real fun experience, but if any of us is ever sad about some s---, we got each other’s backs. We’re all human too. 

P: What’s the future look like for you? Do you envision simply continuing the work that you’re doing? Or would you like to explore other areas of content and other genres of music?

Onkoba: I’m gonna burst into f------ whatever, man. Rap is fun and all, it’s a hobby of mine, and it’s doing good and I’m grateful, but all I ever really wanted when I was younger was freedom to do whatever I really want and make money while doing it.

mg568618@ohio.edu

@mattg444

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