Atlanta rapper 21 Savage had a huge 2016, going from relative Atlanta obscurity to stealing the show on tracks with Drake, Future and Travis Scott. By now, a lot of people have seen the unmissable knife tattooed to his face, so it’s understandable his success would awaken a couple haters, notably 22 Savage and 23 Savage.
Last fall, Louisiana one-time parody rapper Mighty Mike rechristened himself 22 Savage and released the diss track “Ain’t No 21.” Just this week, the rap world was more shocked than it should have been that a new rapper named 23 Savage emerged with his own diss track “Ain’t No 22.”
There’s no evidence that these three rappers have ever been in the same state, let alone have a reason to beef — other than the joy of jacking names.
While some rap traditionalists may look at this feud as the latest reason why “hip-hop is dead,” truth be told, it’s one of the most classic reasonings for a hip-hop feud imaginable.
Back in the ’80s, when rap was young and the only Savages were Fred and Randy, one of the most notorious feuds was the infamous Roxanne Wars. It all started in 1984 when respected rap group U.T.F.O. dropped “Roxanne, Roxanne” a tale of the members all striking out romantically with the same girl.
Mere weeks after the single took off, a young teenager named Roxanne Shante recorded “Roxanne’s Revenge” a scathing diss aimed at U.T.F.O. that claimed to be a rebuttal. This was followed by yet another diss record from a rapper calling herself The Real Roxanne. Soon, everyone from Roxanne’s Doctor to Roxanne’s Parents to Roxanne’s Coroner were weighing in.
So, as things in rap continue to be “Savage AF,” rest easy knowing it’s a rich hip-hop tradition.