FM4 Soundpark is a web platform, community, and radio show for and with Austrian musicians. Each month, one act is chosen to be featured on-air and online: the Soundpark Act of the Month for May is Vienna rapper Donna Savage.
It only takes eight seconds for Donna Savage to go for the baseball bat. Her first video makes it clear that the Vienna rapper is not messing around. Her subsequent releases promise “Tritte” (kicks) for metaphorical foes, or perhaps an excursion to the “Blutwiese” (field of blood)? In the latter video, Donna Savage, with a few of her friends, makes the source of this rage clear: sexual harassment and assault. The fact that they are still far too common in our society has spurred the reaction: “We’ve had enough.”
The vibe on the next song is totally different, though, both lyrically and musically. “Crush” was the starting gun for summer of 2022, where house beats reached the forefront of the rap and R&B mainstream. And FM4 wasn’t the only station that had the hook on heavy rotation. The experienced Vienna producer Brenk Sinatra is the man behind all these musical transformations, as well as Donna Savage’s label boss. Their friendship is based on a compatible sense of humor, and the fact that they both find bad rap music hilarious – for instance, in an interlude on the upcoming EP Parole Donna, we hear a heart-rending interpretation of this Spektacoolär chorus from the 90s, recorded as a voice message by Brenk.
For the six songs on the new record, Donna Savage and her producer worked more closely with one another than ever before – bunkered together in a studio on the edge of Vienna for two days, taking only short breaks to eat. At the end, there was an EP showcasing the various facets of the rapper from Simmering. “Big Mama” has swagger and diss enough to spare, and she’s not about to get überholt (overtaken) anytime soon. But this time – with a breathless account of a police chase and notes from the hopeless end of a love affair – we get to know Donna Savage the woman a little better.
Besides her and Brenk on the beats, Parole Donna doesn’t need anybody – with the possible exception of OG Lu from Frankfurt, who got in touch with Donna online when she was just starting out in the rap game. After she sent her first song over, the sisterhood was cemented. They made a track together while OG Lu was visiting Vienna; in the video, the BFFs masquerade as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie:
After Parole Donna, it’ll be interesting to see where Donna Savage goes from here. The Vienna native already has more listeners in some German cities than she does in Austria, and she just got back from shows in Hamburg and Berlin. In any case: there’s no doubt that the future of German-language rap is female, and that one of its major exponents comes from Vienna’s 3rd District.
Donna Savage live:
17 May – Das Werk Vienna (EP release)
27 May – Lighthouse Festival Poreč, Croatia
22 July – Poolbar Festival Feldkirch
29 July – Moonshinerz Festival Leutschach
Translated from the German original by Philip Yaeger