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I am > I Was

Album cover for 21's sophomore album

Album cover for 21's sophomore album

Cason White, North Staff Writer

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21 savage has remained in the midst of discussion in the rap game for quite some time now. His debut studio album “Issa Album” topped the charts in 2017 and fans of “Mr. Saint. Laurent” have been patiently awaiting his sophomore release.

On Dec. 21 Savage dropped off the album “I am > I was” only 2 weeks after it was announced. The 16 track tape included guest verses from J. Cole, Schoolboy Q, Offset, Post Malone, Gunna, Lil Baby, Travis Scott and others.

21 and his ex-fiance, Amber Rose, split shortly after the release of “Issa Album” and Savage decided to use the breakup as a chance to reflect on life and attempt to better himself. Savage decided to lay low and that he would no longer be wearing flashy jewelry, using his time to expand his mind. The result, well Savage clearly believes that he truly is greater than he was, hence the title of his new project.

Savage opens the album with a sample from the 1971 song “I love you” by East of underground, ultimately setting the epitome of the tape. 21 raps about his life in the hood and experiences he’s been through. J cole makes a surprise appearance and delivers an instant classic feature from the chart-topping artist.

Despite numerous features from big name artists, the album tracklist doesn’t list names, it only contains song titles.

In an interview with “Genius” savage elaborated, “You gotta listen to my album start to finish if you wanna find out who’s on it. I got a lot of people on that thing.”

Offset makes his appearance on a moody trap type beat on the song “1.5” where Savage hits us with nothing but hood bars, classical 21 Savage. Lyrics from offset mixed with his iconic “Migos” ad libs brings the song completely together to make an absolute banger.

Thankfully, “1.5” is only one of many bangers from the album, if you have an chance to sit and listen to just a few tracks from this tape, then you must hear these essentials, my favorites:

  1. ball w/o you  
  2. a lot (feat. J. Cole)
  3. out for the night pt. 2 (feat. Travis Scott)
  4. can’t leave without it (feat. Gunna & Lil Baby)
  5. 1.5 (feat. Offset)  
  6. All my friends (feat. Post Malone)

Each song on that list has specific meaning that is sentimental to 21’s heart. He was quoted in an interview talking about the only true way to feel music.

“When I was about to release the album, I had all my close people come to Atlanta, to the hood.” Savage said.” “Where all this music stuff started and where this tape was written. You can’t get a true feel for music when you listen to it unless you can understand the background, where it came from, the surroundings of the artist and what they went through. That’s why we stayed in the hood.”

It is clear that Mr. Savage has taken time to work on bettering himself and I truly see the change through his new music. “I am > I was” has potential of making its way to the album of the year conversation and that is nothing but deserving for the rapper that finally made it out of the ghetto.

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Cason White, North Staff Writer

My name is Cason but a lot of people call me Caso. I'm a sophomore at North and this is my second year on staff. I run track and love writing for newspaper.

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