Jack Collum reviews Savage Mode II by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin
After nearly a year of teasing fans with sporadic social media references, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin dropped the highly anticipated Savage Mode II. The mixtape, which is a sequel to the 2016 eponymous mixtape by the pair, comes following both 21 Savage and Metro Boomin establishing themselves at the forefront of modern hip hop.
Savage Mode II boasts an array of illustrious features, the most impressive being the multiple utterances of Morgan Freeman throughout the mixtape, and the most notable being the interlude with Young Thug, Snitches, and Rats, distinguishing what makes the difference between the two. The other features such as Drake, Young Thug, and Young Nudy all hold their own, with Thug’s cameo being the standout verse.
Upon the mesmerising melodies which Metro Boomin lays down, 21 Savage conveys a myriad of emotions through his low cadences. The thesis of his last studio album, I am > I was, is still profound throughout this work. Between the profanity, hedonism and debauchery, there is reflection and rumination shown through 21 Savage’s lyrics. There are references to those in his inner circle who succumbed to gang violence in “Said N Done”, the acknowledgement of his journey from gang banging in trap houses in Zone 6 Atlanta to the epitome of lavishness, even mentions of the fact he was born in Britain in “My Dawg”. The pre-eminent tracks on the album are unsurprisingly the tracks with the most substance; “Said N Done” and “RIP Luv”, which deals with 21 Savage’s insecurities and issues with love.
Despite this mixtape undoubtedly living up to the hype which was generated, it is also fair to say that nearly a whole album of ‘gangster talk’ can become irritatingly repetitive. Exacerbating this annoyance even more is the fact that 21 Savage has much more to offer rather than just these anecdotes of belligerence and boasting of his grandiose.
21 Savage shows us again that he is aware of the idiosyncratic nature of his existence, the arbitrariness of life which has resulted in him being where he is today. He also shows us again that he has come a long way from the man he once was, while owning up to the fact that he is not perfect leaving more room for meditation and change. Most importantly, we are shown that behind all the glitz and glam and luxury he still endures the hardships brought about by life’s baggage.
“I be crying on the inside and smiling when the cameras on, frown on the inside and laugh when the flash is on”.