Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, better known as rapper 21 Savage, released his third album titled “Savage Mode II” produced by Metro Boomin, a sequel to his RIAA-certified gold “Savage Mode” LP, released in 2016.
You know what I find to be the most soothing sound in the world? Not a baseball popping in a catcher’s glove, although that is enjoyable. No, it happens to be Morgan Freeman’s voice. Well, it is needless to say that it was a pleasant surprise to hear his voice narrating the album, along with 21 Savage’s initial Instagram post promoting it.
Since “Savage Mode,” he released two studio albums, “Issa Album” and “I Am > I Was,” and a joint album with Metro Boomin and Migos’ Offset, “Without Warning,” before teaming up with Metro again for “Savage Mode II.”
This album wasn’t what I was expecting. A 21 Savage album coming out in October is nothing new. I just assumed the tone and mood of the album would be on par with his previous works, such as “Savage Mode” and “Without Warning,” in some ways taking on a spooky persona to match the Halloween spirit. Instead, the tone was a mix of “Issa Album” and “Savage Mode,” sounding both sorrowful and ominous.
Aside from Freeman, 21 Savage tapped Drake on “Mr. Right Now,” Young Thug on “Rich N**** S***” and Young Nudy on “Snitches & Rats,” totaling three features on the 15-song, 44-minute album.
My personal favorite song on the album was “No Opp Left Behind.” It’s a classic 21 Savage song. He flows his raps well over a melancholic Metro beat, and he ends it with wise words from Freeman.
“Screamin’, ‘No opp left behind,’ n****, we gon’ kill ‘em all / Ain’t no cap in my rap, ain’t no flaw / You could tell it when I rap, ain’t no cut, this s*** raw / Cut him off if he talkin’ to the law / I’m with Draco ‘cause he quiet ‘til he hit you in the jaw,” 21 Savage spits.
Another personal favorite of mine was “RIP Luv,” that beat specifically reminding me of his song “ball w/o you.” Ironically, this song also dealt with love and heartbreak, as 21 Savage expresses his commitment to his love interest. Unlike the other songs, “RIP Luv” is a dramatic shift from fast-paced raps to a more calm, poetic tone.
“Got my first taste of love and I thank you (Thank you) / Savage, never let another woman taint you (21) / Fallen victim to my feelings, something I can’t do (Never) / Get revenge on every b****, even if it ain’t you (On God),” he raps.
Maybe it was wrong to expect the same 21 Savage that first burst onto the scene with “Savage Mode.” As a fan, his progression as an artist has been visible through the projects he has released prior to “Savage Mode II.”
What I loved about “Savage Mode” was its seemingly consistent and cohesive beat on all nine songs, almost like the whole 32-minute project was one song. That cohesive style was not on “Savage Mode II,” but what it lacked in consistency it supplemented with variety.
It may not be my favorite album 21 Savage has released, my preferred album being either “Issa Album” or “Without Warning.” Even with that said, this was not a terrible album. Through two listens, the standout songs are the two aforementioned songs, “Runnin,” “Mr. Right Now,” “Many Men,” “My Dawg” and “Brand New Draco.”