21 Savage is a man of few words, his rise to fame isn’t one that many of us would like to go through and maybe that’s why he’s Atlanta’s new favourite rapper. With lyrics like “Stray bullets hittin’ kids while they playin’ hopscotch” You can see why his name is indeed 21 savage. His cold hearted nature and way of rapping is one that coincides with the realities of America in the 21st century and is one that he incorporates in his everyday life.
With the consistency of trends alongside ‘Gangster rap’ comes the stigma of rappers saying a lot of which they don’t actually do, whether that’s having more money than they really do or even how much their house is worth. That’s where 21 steps in, his lyrics about violence the gang lifestyle and about life in general is more truth then what we would like to hear, straying on that uncomfortable line. The lack of emotion in his voice is that of someone who is almost recollecting on the things he has been through, like he’s taking a trip down memory lane as he is selling all of it for records.
In the past months we have seen 21 appear and reappear again and again in the media. Whether that was because he was riding around the streets on the back of a quad bike with Meek Mill, receiving a Ferrari from Drake for his birthday or recently calling out Tyga in regards to Kylie Jenner. You can clearly tell he does whatever he wants without fearing any type of consequence and I guess that’s what gives him the edge that at this point in time Hip-Hop is somewhat missing. In the respect of most rappers nowadays have a line that their legally not allowed to cross, most recently Young Thug calling out air attendants in the airports that was then followed by an ‘clearing up’ of the situation via Instagram.
Now saying all this I guess it wouldn’t be important without him having sales or chart positions to back it up and that’s where it gets interesting. While being controversial and dangerous he is also ripping up the charts for an independent artist, the song X released by himself hit its peak position at number 12 in the billboard charts and was RIAA certified platinum meaning it had sold over 1 million times and that’s just one song on its own.
In my opinion I believe what makes his music so successful is that fact that it is almost augmented reality for the people listening to him. Because I can make an educated guess and say his main demographic is white teenagers living in suburban areas (like me in fact). It’s the feeling that we get to experience the life he lives including the danger and the everything that comes with it, without having to live it. Don’t get me wrong he is not the first rapper to do this, 50 Cent was able to do this at the beginning of the 21st century. Before that The Notorious B.I.G captivated us with his stories of the streets. It’s just that this time around 21 has come around to show us his side of living and has been the most successful this year.
21 Savage is Hip-Hops new commercial ‘Rebel’ without him even being so commercial and that’s why we as Hip-Hop heads use words like ‘catchy’ to describe him. As all though in my opinion he won’t measure up lyrically to people like Drake, Cole or Kendrick. I think he is a very good filler artist and I hope he continues to shock us with his cut throat presence.
Atlanta stand up once more!
Written by Sonny Manning