Nina Chuba gives credit to “Average” girls

Should I cut my serotonin with a lie to make it last?
Should I power pose in panda face and cry, “I’m never sad”?
If I joke about the end, could I trick myself to laugh? Ha
Say I’m savage when really, I’m just average

“Average” by Nina Chuba
Nina Chuba

The Berlin-based singer-and-songwriter Nina Chuba released her new EP “Average” on the 4th of June. 

When we listened to it, a particular line caught our attention: “Say I’m savage when really, I’m just average” (“Average”). “Savage” is a recurrent word we hear in R&B, rap, or hip-hop tracks. The remix of “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé hit No.1 on Billboard Hot 100 last year. 

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time Nina Chuba uses it in a song. In 2020, her single “Jungle” began with “Sorry if I’m coming up savage”.

What’s a savage?

Well, the definition can be slightly different according to your perception or your sensibility. Songs tell us a “savage girl” is a badass. She expresses herself proudly. She only counts on herself, and she is satisfied that way – if a significant other is in her life, that’s because she wants it. She stands up for herself, and she knows where she is going. In other terms, a savage woman is a strong woman. She gets past her struggles, and she fights her battles with sassiness. 

Female rappers or pop artists celebrate this representation of the modern woman. Being a savage is presented as a good thing, and it is because it’s time women stand up. However, this movement isn’t new. In the ’90s, female artists such as Missy Elliott already traced the path.

A “savage girl” advocates body positivity. Female musicians using that term are well aware of the misogyny and the sexism of the music industry. They make fun of prejudices made against them, and they reappropriate them. That’s how songs like “Savage” become massive hits. These songs got a feel-good vibe. Every woman is encouraged to embrace their body and their personality. It sure does sound easy to identify to them during a song, but…

How do you become a “savage”?  

Is the girl-next-door a savage? There is no guide, and confidence doesn’t come that easy. That’s how we understand Nina Chuba’s line: girls and women are encouraged to be “savages” on their own. Describe yourself in this way is for sure a pleasant feeling. But really, how do you do it?

Nina Chuba’s flow is impressive in this second EP. Its melodies sound like what we’re used to hearing when female raps. Let’s now take a deeper look at the lyrics. Nina Chuba is hesitant towards her actions and seems to question what inspires her: “I find that everyday that it gets harder to admit That when the mask misfits and my stomach feels sick Maybe I’m a piece of shit? (Yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah) Maybe I should just quit? (Yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah)”.

Let’s imagine the mask she’s talking about is this “savage attitude” we often hear about. Are you still relevant if you don’t wear it every day? She calls out the audience to know what to say or what to do to enter the game or to stay in it. Her monologue is like a questioning woman may experience: how do I truly become the strong person I’m told I can be?

“I really wanted to show my intent to rap, and with the new EP, I’ve definitely gone a step further in that respect.” Nina Chuba

She tries to match the “savage girl” codes, but it isn’t supposed to apply to all of us. “I got enemies, got a lot, okay not a lot” (“Who Hurt You?”). It’s easy to relate to this point of view. Average is okay because you’re still free to speak your mind the way you want to. A “savage” isn’t something that others validate for you. You have to find it yourself, and it might be easier than it seems. 

Start by giving an opinion that goes against the grain. It has to be honest. Defending a different point of view is a great way to stand out from others.  

Average is okay

Nina Chuba tends to do it with the first track “Babylon Fall”: “The song is a tongue and cheek social critique of all the stuff I think that should go first when the world finally ends.” The empowering music and the sharp lyrics deliver a powerful and ironic message: “How you been, how you doing? How much money do you make prе tax? Why the fuck you didn’t comment or react To the candid photo of my ass?”

Nina Chuba

By simply criticizing greed and clichéd discussions at an event, she says out loud what others think, and that’s how the “average girl” becomes “savage” too. Let’s not oppose these two terms, but remember Beyoncé’s verse in “Savage”: “I’m a bad bitch, she’s a savage, no comparison here”. Admitting you’re average and still fighting for yourself is courageous. Strength is available to every woman. There is no competition, only complementarity

Working hard in an equal way

Nina Chuba already described her new EP as defying any convention. Rap, hip-hop, electro, and piano constitute its universe. The German artist also allows herself to be vulnerable by admitting how bad a relationship can be: “Crash into the skyline, break through the night Watchin’ the ground rise up, act like it’s fine Like we’re levitating” (“Levitating”). It doesn’t always go her way, and that’s okay. 

“Beluga” is a fun and catchy song that gives us some Doja Cat vibes. That track proves that we can reclaim what we know and do our best to win in a world dominated by men – the music industry or society.

Mélanie Domergue

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