This post was most recently updated on December 23rd, 2019
Far from your regular gang rapper, 21 savage is a household name in rap. His body of work consists of two studio albums, one collaborative album and two mixtapes alongside two extended plays (EP). He has also featured frequently on guest verses, with artists ranging from trap to pop.
21’s breakthrough came in 2016 when he released a joint mixtape with trap’s most in-demand producer Metro Boomin. The mixtape featured tracks such as X, ocean drive, feel it amongst others. This mixtape introduced 21’s relaxed lean intoxicated flow coupled with his ‘bedroom’ voice.
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His lyrics just like most other trap artists are drug and gang-related, but what makes 21 different from his peers is his calm flow which is a bit reminiscent of NWA’s Eazy E. 21 also benefits from having street credibility which is extremely important in hip-hop.
Before savage mode, 21 had released 3 projects, 2 mixtapes, and an EP. It is interesting to have watched 21 go from spitting nursery predictable rhymes to multisyllabic rhymes.
His improvement can not go unnoticed. He has also over the years released songs that indicate his lyrical growth. Songs like nothing new, where 21 raps about police brutality and other social vices really highlight his growth.
These tracks feature 21 Savage as a leading artist. It does not include guest verses.
This is 21 savage in full braggadocios mode. On bank account, he raps about his wealth over a dark beat.
The beat was produced by Metro Boomin and 21 Savage himself, with the latter admitting he was responsible for the most of it.
It features an addicting hook with 21 savage countings how many ‘Ms’ is in his bank account.
The song peaked at #12 on the billboard hot 100 charts. This is the second track on his 2017 studio album ‘Issa’.
A Lot (J Cole)
There are few tracks that highlight 21’s musical and lyrical growth as much as a lot.
Off his 2018 album, savage alongside rapper J Cole make a classic. J Cole unavoidably stole the spot on this one, but that doesn’t mean 21 didn’t come correct.
21 gets personal on this track, reflecting on his earlier gang days, life choices and eccentric upbringing.
The highlight of the track is unarguably J Cole’s verse, as he has some words for clout chasers.
X is one of the most significant songs in 21’s career. It introduced him to a mainstream audience.
Produced by Metro, from their 2015 joint mixtape savage mode. On X 21 savage and Future talk about stunting on their exes. The track befitting of Future after many public outbursts with his baby mamas.
A standout track from his 2016 savage mode mixtape.
Can’t Leave Without It (Gunna & Lil Baby)
It is easy to get lost in Gunna and Baby’s heavily autotuned world but 21 savage finds his flow and matches their tenacity.
The hook by Gunna is as infectious and melodious as it sounds.
The trio boasts about wealth, guns and jewelry stating they cannot live without them.
The production from Cubeatz and Wheezy is top-notch.
Nothin new is 21 Savage in full political criticism. He voices against police brutality and racism, acknowledging the fact these societal flaws have become the order of the day.
The keys by Zaytoven are beautiful. Metro is also listed as a producer on the track.
I particularly love this track purely based on its shock value. I can imagine 21 himself didn’t see himself making this type of music years ago.
Nothing new is a song off the Issa album.
21 raps about his earlier struggles and childhood delinquencies. He gives us an insight into what it feels like living in the trap. ‘7th grade I was caught with a pistol’, this tells you how rough it must have been growing up in the streets of Atlanta.
On No Heart, 21 answers questions regarding his newly found wealth.
According to the Atlanta rapper, he felt the song was whack and didn’t want it on the album. But after Metro did his magic it sounded cool.
Production from Metro Boomin, Cubeatz and Southside provided a dark beat for 21 to express his feelings. The track peaked at #42 on the billboard hot 100.
Another track from the Issa album that presents a deeper and more lyrical 21 savage. He talks about his beginnings and how they still haunt him despite his wealth. He tries to cover the pain with luxuries and good drank.
Produced by frequent collaborator Metro Boomin, numb the pain is like a soldier detailing his experience with PTSD. Except, in this case, 21 is a street soldier.
This is Savage in relationship mode. He raps about a girl that’s been with him since the start. But won’t still give up the lean for her.
21 claims he’s a savage in the streets but he’ll be gentle towards her.
Feel it is the 8th track off savage mode, a collaborative mixtape between Savage and Metro. Zaytoven assists with production on this track to produce an eerie instrumental.
This is one of 21’s pre-mainstream songs. It is off his 2015 mixtape The Slaughter Tape and produced by Fukk 12.
Skrrt refers to the sound of a high-end vehicle such as a Ferrari or Wraith. The slang is mostly used as an adlib for artists such as Migos and Future.
21 raps about gang violence and drugs over one of the scariest Trap beat you’ll ever hear.
Rap Saved Me (Offset and Quavo)
In 2017 Metro Boomin, Offset and 21 Savage released a collaborative album. Rap saved me is the second song on the album. It features Offset’s Migos colleague Quavo.
On rap saved me, the trio rap about how their life was on the brink of extinction till they started rapping.
Produced by Metro Boomin the song peaked at #64 on the billboard hot 100 charts.
Asides from being a gang rapper, 21 has added more diversity to his music. With songs ranging from love to violence and then songs with a conscious lyrical approach.
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