SavyBalboa walked into Bibo Coffee shop, clutching half a blunt in his left hand, followed by two cameramen taking photos of him.
“I do music,” he declared.
Born Joshua DuPee, 27-year-old SavyBalboa fell in love with music at an early age. He started playing bass around age four and remembers how his parents filled the home with gospel music. One of his earliest memories is riding around in the car listening to Brown Sugar by D’Angelo. DuPee said he listens to more R&B than rap.
Born and raised in Reno, he played football at Bishop Manogue. The first part of his stage name comes from his father referring to him as a savage on the football field. The latter part pays homage to a certain film icon.
“I fuck with Rocky, heavy,” DuPee said. “Rocky go crazy. I fuck with the third one when he’s fighting the Russian homie. I think it’s the third one. … He was always getting whooped, and he came out on top.”
In 2013, he went to Sierra College in Rocklin, California. After returning to Reno in 2015, he decided it was time to fully pursue his passion of hip-hop.
This year, he has released eight songs to streaming services. A few of his songs, including “Lightweight” and “The Wayy,” have made it to the airwaves on local hip-hop station Swag 104.9. Producer DatBoyGood makes all of DuPee’s beats.
“I make authentic music,” DuPee said. “If you hear a Savy song you can tell it’s from Savy. I’m not trying to sound like nobody else. You get me and every piece of me on that song. I talk about true shit, and that’s really how I feel at that point in time, how that beat make me feel.”
Artists from Reno he enjoys include David James, Curl Gang, Lil Traffic and INDYXHILL. “If you from Reno and you putting on and you for real about the music, I fuck with you,” DuPee said.
On the song “Comma,” he collaborates with Reno’s notorious redneck rapper Feeki, who has garnered attention from the likes of Viceland and Worldstar.
“Feeki is dope,” DuPee said. “He’s the coldest one out here right now. Feeki go crazy. Feeki doing his thing for real … He’s a super cool cat.”
DuPee looks forward to releasing a full album in the future. He said he currently has enough material for two albums and an EP.
“I’m really just stacking this ammunition for the war, trying to see what angle I’m trying to bomb they ass with,” DuPee said. “If I’m trying to send a missile or an atomic bomb. I’m just trying to see which way to market it best … The last time I released a project was August 18, 2017. I feel like they been thinking, ‘He’s been dropping slap, slap, slap. Now give me a whole meal.'”
Recently, DuPee performed at SoL Dispensary in the Washoe Valley. He played another show with Generation Next. His headlining slot at local bar Press Start sold out. He is currently in talks with LEX Nightclub to open for YG.
In the future, he wants to perform at the University of Nevada, Reno. He performed at the university’s Biggest Little Festival in 2016 and opened for Hopsin several years ago, but he’s itching to go back.
“UNR got so many people here,” DuPee said. “So many different cities in one community. I would touch a whole lot of different places if I did that.”
DuPee said he hopes to collaborate with such rappers as Nipsey Hussle and Lil Baby. When asked what he’s looking forward to, he simply said: “Music.”