Savage (song)

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"Savage"
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Major Lazer - Savage (Remix).png
Major Lazer remix artwork
Single by Megan Thee Stallion
from the EP Suga
ReleasedApril 7, 2020
Recorded2019
Genre
Length2:36
Label
  • 1501 Certified
  • 300
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)J. White Did It
Megan Thee Stallion singles chronology
"Freak"
(2020)
"Savage"
(2020)
"Savage Remix"
(2020)
Lyric video
"Savage" on YouTube

"Savage" is a song by American rapper Megan Thee Stallion. It was released on March 6, 2020 as part of her EP Suga and later sent to US Top 40 radio formats on April 7, 2020 by 1501 Certified Entertainment and 300 Entertainment as the third single from the EP.[1] The song was written by the performer with Anthony White, Bobby Session, Jr. and Akeasha Boodie. The record was produced by J White Did It It and DJ Prince [1]. It went viral on video-sharing app TikTok, with people performing the "Savage" dance challenge during the song's chorus.

A remix featuring Beyoncé was released on April 29, 2020. The remix reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 26, 2020, becoming Megan Thee Stallion's first and Beyoncé's seventh (as soloist) number-one single on the chart.[2][3][4] As of July 2020, the song had accumulated over 2.1 million units in the US.[5]

Recording[edit]

According to engineer Eddie "eMIX" Hernandez, Megan did the song "on the spot", in under an hour. Hernandez explained the recording process: "The collaboration was going on at the same time. We were building as the song was forming. While he [producer J. White Did It] was laying down the snares and the kicks, she was writing to the skeleton of the beat. Once he had the production all ready and sent it over to me, she was ready to go. She had all her writing done. Her recording? She knocks them things out".[6]

Composition[edit]

Candace McDuffie of Consequence of Sound noted, in the song, Megan "paints herself as 'the hood Mona Lisa' while celebrating her complexity".[7] Megan employs huge bravado on the song, which, according to HipHopDX's Aaron McKrell, works to her advantage, as she "surgically pummels a formidable J. White Did It beat into submission, and still makes time for cool quips like \'I need a mop to clean the floor, it's too much drip, ooh\'".[8] Complex's Jessica McKinney said the beat is "reminiscent of nostalgic hip-hop music videos set on a Miami beach, and its chorus is expressive, which is perfect for dancing".[9]

TikTok challenge[edit]

The "Savage" dance challenge was created by TikTok user Keara Wilson, whose viral clip racked up 15.7 million views and 2.4 million likes as of March 20, 2020.[10] Wilson posted her video for five days continuously, until it started going viral, and on March 16, Megan posted her own video, as well as videos of her fans and celebrities performing the challenge.[11] The challenge involves people completing a "quick and energetic" choreographed dance.[11][12]

"Savage" was the most-played song on TikTok for March 2020, accumulating more than 7.5 billion views for the month.[13]

Music video[edit]

A Gracie Rothey-created lyric video premiered on April 7, 2020. It sees an animated Keara Wilson doing the TikTok dance she created, as the lyrics pass through on screen.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Result Ref.
2020 MTV Video Music Awards Best Hip-Hop Won [15]
Song of the Year Nominated
People's Choice Awards Song of 2020 Pending [16]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download and streaming[17]

  1. "Savage" – 2:35

Digital download and streaming – Beyoncé Remix[18]

  1. "Savage Remix" (feat. Beyoncé) – 4:02

Digital download and streaming – Major Lazer Remix[19]

  1. "Savage Remix" (feat. Major Lazer) – 4:59

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Argentina (Argentina Hot 100)[20] 95
Australia (ARIA)[21] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 23
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[23] 16
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[24] 20
Denmark (Tracklisten)[25] 16
Estonia (Eesti Tipp-40)[26] 15
France (SNEP)[27] 26
Germany (Official German Charts)[28] 33
Global 200 (Billboard)[29] 52
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[30] 8
Ireland (IRMA)[31] 3
Italy (FIMI)[32] 42
Latvia (Latvijas Top 40)[33] 36
Lithuania (AGATA)[34] 16
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[35] 67
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[36] 12
Portugal (AFP)[37] 11
Romania (Airplay 100)[38] 51
Scotland (OCC)[39] 12
Singapore (RIAS)[40] 26
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[41] 20
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[42] 16
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[43] 18
UK Singles (OCC)[44] 3
UK R&B (OCC)[45] 14
US Billboard Hot 100[46] 4
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[47] 4
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[48] 8
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[49] 1
US Rolling Stone Top 100[50] 6

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[51] Gold 35,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[52] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[53] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
United States April 7, 2020 Top 40 radio
  • 1501 Certified
  • 300
[1]

Beyoncé remix[edit]

"Savage Remix"
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé - Savage (Remix).png
Single by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé
ReleasedApril 29, 2020
Recorded2020
Length
  • 4:02
Label
  • 1501 Certified
  • 300
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)J. White Did It
Megan Thee Stallion singles chronology
"Savage"
(2020)
"Savage Remix"
(2020)
"Girls in the Hood"
(2020)
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Brown Skin Girl"
(2019)
"Savage Remix"
(2020)
"Black Parade"
(2020)
Lyric video
"Savage Remix" on YouTube

On April 29, 2020, a remix featuring Beyoncé was released.[54] All proceeds benefit Bread of Life Houston's COVID-19 relief efforts, which includes providing over 14 tons of food and supplies to 500 families and 100 senior citizens in Houston weekly.[55]

Background[edit]

A snippet of the remix leaked online on the same day of its release, and was then quickly uploaded on Tidal.[56] Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé, both natives of Houston, Texas, first met each other at a New Year's Eve party in 2019. Megan recalled when she first learned that Beyoncé would remix the song: "I got a call one day and they were like, 'Yeah… Beyoncé's gonna do a remix of 'Savage' [...] I was like, 'Shut the f— up!' I didn't believe it". She explained she kept the surprise to herself, "respecting Beyoncé's method of working in silence".[57] She explained the significance of the collaboration to her, saying: "You grow up and you friggin' watch Destiny's Child, and you go to the rodeo to see them perform. You don't grow up and think you're gonna meet Be-yon-cé!".[58]

Composition[edit]

Brooke Marine of W magazine noted "the remix itself is essentially an entirely new song, with the exception of the chorus which has remained the same".[59] The remix finds Beyoncé rapping two full verses, as well as providing backing vocals. She raps in a flow established by Thee Stallion, while employing her "signature tongue-in-cheek lyricism to convey a message of female empowerment".[60] Kiana Fitzgerald of Texas Monthly said Megan sounds "strikingly similar to the late Houston legend Big Moe, who was well known for his evocative singing".[61]

The remix starts off with Megan Thee Stallion's first verse, whereafter Beyoncé gives a "cheeky verse and masterful delivery", with, as noted by Insider's Callie Ahlgrim, "sharp, racy bars about women stripping on late-night Instagram livestreams, a phenomenon known as 'Demon Time', and a subscription service known for nude photos called OnlyFans".[60][62] Beyoncé goes on to rap about her "famous posterior": "If you don't jump to put jeans on, baby, you don't feel my pain."[62] She also alludes to the song's popularity on TikTok with the line "Hips tick-tock when I dance".[63] Toward the end of the song, both artists take turns singing and rapping, with Beyoncé returning to "her usual heavenly vocals".[64] Producer J. White Did It's beat is reworked on the remix to include "minuscule instrumental changes", including an extended air horn in the background during Beyoncé's first verse, and a flattened soundscape during her second verse, which, as noted by Texas Monthly's Kiana Fitzgerald, gives "Bey ample space to work with". Fitzgerald further noted Megan's confidence, as she "sounds like her usual captivating self, but she sounds tighter and deeper in her pocket alongside Bey".[61]

Critical reception[edit]

Pitchfork named "Savage Remix" Best New Track, stating that "Beyoncé upgrades the original from a good song to a multi-dimensional one".[65] Michael Cuby of Nylon described the song as a "made-for-the-history-books smash", stating that the remix is a throwback to when artists would completely reinvent their songs on remixes rather than simply adding a guest feature.[66] Craig Jenkins for Vulture agreed, describing how Beyoncé and Megan "brought back the lost art of a killer remix" and adding that "it's so rare in this era for a remix to feel like an event and not just a few new words plopped onto an existing song".[67] Jon Caramanica for The New York Times described the track as "fantastic, far more involved and intricate than most blink-and-you'll-miss-it collaborations".[68] Jael Goldfine from Paper declared the song "a perfect reminder that Beyoncé is a gifted rapper, whether taking control or backing Meg up with sexy little 'Okay-okays', and 'them jeans, them jeans'".[69] Brittany Spanos from Rolling Stone wrote the song "feels like it was always meant to be a duet between the pair, with Beyoncé offering up multiple verses as well as some vocal runs that seamlessly blend with the smooth beat".[70]

Writing for GQ, Max Cea called the pairing "a natural fit" whose "styles complement each others': Beyoncé's breathy flutterings punctuate Megan's gusto; Megan's snappy choruses act as a sturdy platform for Beyoncé's various modes (singing, rapping, growling, seductively whispering)."[71] Kiana Fitzgerald for Texas Monthly praised the remix as a track that "pairs Megan's insuppressible, ebullient energy with Beyoncé's perfectionist work ethic, and benefits their shared hometown of Houston", where "Megan, an upstart MC, and Beyoncé, a cemented veteran, came together as artists from south Houston to represent something greater: the fact that they're fully realized women, with lives that mirror those of their listeners despite the difference in their respective lifestyles."[72]

In July 2020, "Savage Remix" was named "the Song of the Year so far" by Complex, with Jessica McKinney declaring "There was no other moment in music this year that demanded the collective attention of popular culture when it dropped like "Savage Remix" did".[73] In June 2020, the remix was listed as the second best song of 2020 so far by Billboard.[74]

Commercial performance[edit]

The original version reached a peak of number 14 for the week ending on May 2, 2020.[75] Following the release of the remix in the middle of the tracking week, the song reached a new peak of number four the following week, aided by the remix's sales and streams. After a full tracking week, the song climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated May 16, 2020, becoming Megan Thee Stallion's highest-peaking song and Beyoncé's 19th top 10 entry on the Hot 100 as a solo artist.[76] This marked the first time four black women occupied the top two spots of the Hot 100 chart.[77] "Savage Remix" topped the Hot Rap Songs chart the same week, becoming both Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé's first number one on the chart.[78] The track also topped the Streaming Songs chart, receiving 42.1 million US streams, up 53% from the previous week. Due to the strong sales and streams that the remix received in its first full week, Megan Thee Stallion's Suga EP reached a new peak of number seven on the Billboard 200, with 39,000 equivalent-album units moved for the chart dated May 16, 2020.[79]

"Savage" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated May 30, 2020, becoming Megan Thee Stallion's first and Beyoncé's seventh number-one single as a solo artist, and eleventh as member of Destiny’s Child. Beyoncé became the second act in history after Mariah Carey to top the Hot 100 in four decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s) including group chart appearances, and the second solo act to top the Hot 100 in the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s.[80][81][82][83] The song also topped the Digital Songs chart the same week, selling 30,000 downloads, up 55% from the previous week, becoming Megan The Stallion's first and Beyoncé's eighth number-one.[84] As of July 2020, the song had accumulated over 2.1 million units in the US according to Rolling Stone.[5]

In Canada, "Savage" reached a peak of number nine, becoming Megan The Stallion's first top ten and Beyoncé's 15th as a solo artist in the country.

Live performances[edit]

Megan Thee Stallion performed "Savage Remix" at the BET Awards 2020, with the set being inspired by the Mad Max franchise. Brendan Wetmore of Paper wrote that the performance "shut down the show" and "despite being pre-recorded and edited, still manages to evoke the same raw emotion of Megan's live show".[85] Megan also performed the song in the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, featuring Beyoncé's pre-recorded vocals. The performance paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, with recordings of Malcolm X and Tamika Mallory being played and Megan condemning Attorney General of Kentucky Daniel Cameron for not bringing justice after the police killing of Breonna Taylor.[86]

TikTok challenge[edit]

New TikTok challenges were made for the song, including by the original "Savage" dance challenge creator, Keara Wilson.[87][88]

Challenges were also created by Cassidy Condie, as well as Shayné & Zhané Stanley, aka the Nae Nae Twins.[89] Unlike Keara's version, which uses the song's intro, these dances use the second verse. Megan reposted both of their viral dances on her Instagram page and posted a video of herself doing the one created by Shayné and Zhané.

Virginia-based dancer Morgan Bullock went viral for performing Irish stepdance to the remix on TikTok. Despite receiving racist comments due to Bullock being a black woman performing Irish folklore, she received praise and support from admirers including Riverdance creator Bill Whelan and Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles, and was invited to perform in Ireland by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.[90][91]

Impact[edit]

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that both Megan and Beyoncé will receive their own day in Houston, with Turner acknowledging "both artists' contributions to uplifting our communities".[92] The charity also saw a significant boost in donations, with over 500 new donors in the first 24 hours after the song's release.[93]

The subscription content service OnlyFans, which Beyoncé referenced in the remix, saw a 15% spike in traffic after the track's release.[94][95] Ottilie Landmark and Ryan White of I-D wrote that the track "immortalised the platform in history".[96]

Caitlin Kelley for Forbes.com opined that the remix sets the precedent for "the dawn of TikTok remixes" and "reinforces the app's hold on the charts".[97]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Result Ref.
2020 BET Hip Hop Awards Song of the Year Won [98]
Best Collaboration Nominated
Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse Won
MTV Video Music Awards Song of Summer Nominated [99]
People's Choice Awards Collaboration Song of 2020 Pending [16]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Argentina (Argentina Hot 100)[100] 58
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[101] 35
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[102] 50
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[103] 9
Euro Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[104] 20
Global 200 (Billboard)[105] 52
Global Excl. US (Billboard)[106] 117
Italy (FIMI)[107] 28
Lithuania (AGATA)[108] 18
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[109] 28
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[110] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[111] 17
Singapore (RIAS)[112] 28
US Billboard Hot 100[113] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[114] 38
US Dance/Mix Show Airplay (Billboard)[115] 17
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[47] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[116] 7
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[117] 1
US Rolling Stone Top 100[118] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[119] Platinum 30,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various April 29, 2020
  • 1501 Certified
  • 300
[120]
United Kingdom May 8, 2020 Contemporary hit radio [121]
Urban contemporary [122]

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