Daniel Savio – Breakage
FFLP48 // DANIEL SAVIO – BREAKAGE
Breakage is a tribute to and continuation of the era when rap music conquered the world,
one boy room at a time, by means of the drum machine and sampler.
Cover: Daniel Savio
Mastering: Tomas Bodén
Release date: 2023-08-24
Format: Digital and 12″ vinyl LP
In rap music, the tertiary album is what separates the chaff from the wheat. Sophomore efforts are hard, tertiary pure titanium. In a genre that has spawned gazillions of one-hit wonders, there’s an abundance of one-album groups. Producers and groups with two albums to their credit aren’t that rare either, but after that, you pretty much get a picture of what’s a fad and what’s built to last.
Also, among the classic groups from the mid school era – early golden age – only a few held the fort in the evolution of a genre that went from novelties galore, schoolyard rhymes, dozens game raps and simplified disco instrumentals to rock hard beats and harder messages. Even though it is wholly instrumental, Breakage – the third album in Daniel Savio’s Hip Hop trilogy – is just that, rock hard beats and harder messages. Savio has many more records in his name, and they are all steeped in hip hop culture to some extent, but the last foray is pure hip hop.
//2. Earth is Hell
//3. Heavy Metal
//4. Out II Bomb
//5. Rolling Thunder
8//. End Theme
Breakage is a tribute to and continuation of the era when rap music conquered the world, one boy room at a time, by means of the drum machine and sampler.
The choice beat anvils of the old school – The Oberheim DMX, Linn Drum et cetera – got pushed to the side by the Roland TR-808, E-mu SP-1200 and the AKAI MPC, and upped the ante in the hands of rhythmic wizards like Ced Gee, Marley Marl and The Bomb Squad. Rap music got heavier, denser, more crushing.
If Savio’s albums Hip Hop and Phase II were sonic letters of love to Davy DMX, Arabian Prince and Pretty Tony, Breakage is a call and response to hip hop lovers that never stopped fiending for the adrenaline rush of tunes commanding you to dance. A younger sibling of that hip hop that didn’t get sucked into the vortex of radio friendly edits for airtime slots and prime time video, i.e., that hip hop that was most at home at block parties, jams, and dancefloors.
In comparison with its two predecessors, Breakage comes out even harder and more condensed, like the set of a headlining DJ following two majestic warm-up sessions. Put in another way, we’re treated to a trip down a path along one of the least explored alleys of rap music since the ushering in of the golden era.
In 1988 hip hop culture was at the crossroads, but the fork in the road was invisible since it was the richest year in musical history. We got served everything and its opposite on a platter, dope beats and flimsy samples, conscious lyrics, and party raps. It was no less so with the beats, so how could we possibly have been missing out on something?
When rap music started to colonize the airwaves step by step, it lost sight of the dancefloor to a certain extent. Savio never forgets the fact that the dancefloor was the incubator of hip hop, and that sort of is the message.
Leaning more towards the stripped down core of electro made possible by new technology than to the gluttony of late eighties sampladelia made from the same technology, the message comes across ridiculously effortlessly.
The very name of the album and the eponymous tune recalls the centrality of b-boying in eighties’ hip hop, something some hip hop producers lost sight of as the eighties turned to nineties.
It’s somehow akin to how fond Breakage is of graffiti; the dark banger “Out To Bomb” is a call to leave the sketchbook to go up on trains, and by the sound of it, aims to go all city. Taking no prisoners, taking no shorts, Breakage goes straight for the jugular, watch it, peep it, listen to it, don’t sleep on it.
Nathan “Nasty Nate” Hamelberg, hip hop custodian