By Vanessa Nim
“Here I say, ‘for Big Boy we mourn.’” Over the sounds of Bay Street construction, Savadouchi (Sava) played me a short line from his song “Man Down.”
Best known for his popular song “Katana”, the up-and-coming Scarborough rapper reflected on the subtle inspiration behind his music.
“In the majority of my songs, actually, I have this little ad-lib ‘R.I.P. PJ Raps.’”
Small references like these can be found scattered throughout Sava’s tracks and social media pages in honour of the rapper’s best friend, Patrick Jordan. Better known as Big Boy or PJ Raps, Jordan passed away unexpectedly in March 2016.
“On a Wednesday, [Big Boy] showed me four songs and he was like, ‘These are the songs I’m going to put out’, after five years of him making songs,” Sava recounted. “I said, ‘Okay, sick. On Saturday, I’m going to come to your house and record.’ Then Saturday came, and my other boy called me and he says, ‘Hey, Big Boy died.’”
Sava and Jordan started making music together as teenagers. Today, Sava credits Jordan as the main inspiration behind his music.
“My goal when I die is to — when I see my boy — just to show him, ‘I did all of this for you’,” said Sava. “That’s what made me really start doing music, taking it seriously — it’s just to continue my boy’s dream.”
Since Jordan’s death, Sava said he has “used death as a motivation.” In his song “Casket” from his recently released music video, he writes about how losing his friend inspired a new mindset for him.
“Now that I see my boy’s life was cut short - it opened my eyes to a lot of shit in the world. I stopped stressing about the little things,” he said. “There’s a line in Casket, in the chorus it says, ‘How can I die if I’m alive in my mind,’ which basically means nothing can kill me as long as I’m good up here.”
As an up-and-coming artist in the saturated Toronto market, Sava talks frequently about struggling in an industry that can sometimes fuel inauthenticity. “Casket,” he said, is about breaking away from external anxieties and creating a mindset that keeps you alive and authentic to yourself.
“I want people to know Savadouchi as a Scarborough kid who made it from nothing, who was inspired by something real," Sava said, reflecting on the future of Savadouchi and his place in the public eye.
“I just want them to know my story and why I started doing this. I want them to know my boy. I want everybody to know my boy who died.”