Over the last 4-6 years, the Hip Hop game has been heavily influenced and dominated by a few particular sounds. One of the main styles of Hip Hop that has dominated the game for a while now is dark and moody Trap music, popularized by artists like Future, 2 Chainz, and Gucci Mane. Another artist that has been heavily influential on the way that Trap music is supposed to sound is 21 Savage. If I were to suggest one mainstream artist for someone to listen to who exemplifies the genre better than anyone, I would probably suggest 21 Savage. His rapping style consists of so many dreary and moody and smooth, and it shows off everything great about this kind of music. Now, in most people’s opinions, the thing that drives the popularity of Trap music is the super-catchy instrumentals that it uses. Honestly, there aren’t many producers that are more popular and have had more influence on the genre than Metro Boomin. Metro Boomin has produced so many of the most popular Trap tracks to come out over the last several years; From songs like Future and The Weeknd’s ‘Low Life’ to the Migos and Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘Bad and Boujee,’ Metro Boomin has been a major player in this game for a long time and has produced some of its most time-withstanding hits. Some of Metro Boomin and 21 Savage’s biggest hits came from their first collaborative album, Savage Mode. This album is considered a pinnacle in Trap music for a lot of people, and it gave us major hits like ‘X,’ featuring Future, ‘No Heart,’ and ‘Savage Mode.’ Both Metro Boomin and 21 Savage have been teasing this second collaborative project between the two of them for a while now, and we have finally received it. Savage Mode II seems like it has been a very long time coming, and Trap superfans around the world are ecstatic that it is finally out. Similar to the first one, this project plays more like a mixtape comprised of singles that never came out than an album that is supposed to be played through like a story. Because of this, I am going to write about my favorite songs from this project instead of doing a formal review of it. Please let me know in the comments below what your favorite songs are from this record, and please let me know how you feel about 21 Savage and Metro Boomin in general!
Knowing it is the first track on the record, you may not think that ‘Runnin’ would sound as dark and intense as it does. Metro Boomin and 21 Savage wanted to immediately plunge the listeners into their cold and scary world, and ‘Runnin’ does an excellent job at doing just that. The instrumental for this track immediately stands out because of the sample, which drives the melody and tempo of the track. ‘Runnin’ samples Diana Ross’s 1976 song, ‘I Thought It Took A Little Time.’ Now how Metro Boomin can take a Diana Ross song and make it sound like a gangbanger’s anthem, I will never know. Songs like this show off his immense talent, as he can take the most interesting melodies and samples and make them sound so perfect in a Trap song. On ‘Runnin,’ 21 Savage is talking about the attitude that his rivals have when they know he is coming around. 21 Savage instills a lot of fear in his enemies, and they would rather just avoid him and run away than confront him about their issues. ‘Runnin’ is a song that is excellent at showing us how the rest of this album is going to sound and feel, and it immediately shows off Metro Boomin’s production prowess and 21 Savage’s ability to flow over any kind of instrumental.
MR. RIGHT NOW FEAT. DRAKE
If you are going to put a softer Pop-Trap track onto the album that is meant for the ladies, you may as well get Drake to feature on it to make it that much better. Drake is one of only three features on this record; instead of loading this project up with a plethora of random rappers, Metro Boomin and 21 Savage chose to make the few features that they picked for the record count. This track has one of the most unique sounding instrumentals on the record due to the strange melody. It has a melody that sounds like something you would hear on a Merry-Go-Round at a carnival. Most people would not think of this kind of melody to be a very romantic thing, but 21 and Drake definitely make it that way. One thing that I love about this song is all of the references to 90s R&B artists that are made. 21 Savage and Drake are both known to be very big fans of R&B, and this fact is made very obvious by this song. ‘Mr. Right Now’ is the song that is probably going to go down as the favorite from this album for the general populous because it is just the best club song on the record.
RICH N***A SHIT FEAT. YOUNG THUG
I doubt that too many Hip Hop listeners would expect to hear Young Thug and 21 Savage on a slow jam, but that is exactly what we got with their new song ‘Rich N****a Shit’ featuring Young Thug. The melody for this song has a smooth and Jazzy R&B feeling to it; the melody of this track reminds me a lot of the acoustic R&B music that became popular in the 90s. These kind of melodies were really popular on some Hip Hop that came out in the early 2000s(I could see artists like Fabolous, Juelz Santana, and Common rapping on a melody like this); this obviously fits in with old school Hip Hop theme that the rest of the record has. For not being the kind of rappers that one would expect to rap on this kind of melody, both of these artists excelled at it. 21 Savage once again showed us on this track that he has a flow that can work on any kind of instrumental. I also really love Young Thug’s approach to rapping on this instrumental. The weird auto tune that he uses to sing on this track sounds really nice on the melody, and his flow is just as smooth as 21 Savage’s. If you are a fan of unorthodox Trap music, this is a song that you will love.
SNITCHES AND RATS FEAT. YOUNG NUDY
If there is a song on this record that I would say has the most modern-sounding melody and overall sound to it, I would say that it is ‘Snitches and Rats’ featuring Young Nudy. Ironically, the new Trap sound which is popular that this song falls into the category of is directly inspired by the most classic form of Trap music that there is. A lot of people would say that the new wave of Trap music is directly inspired by the dark and heavy Trap music that Three 6 Mafia was making back in the day. This song has a super foreboding and intense melody that is so reminiscent of the music that started this genre, and it definitely fits into the theme of the song. On ‘Snitches and Rats,’ 21 Savage and his cousin Young Nudy talk about what they do to people who try to talk to the police or screw them over in the Dope Game. 21 Savage and Young Nudy are not the kind of people to mess with, and they will respond to anyone violently to get what they want if they have to. If you are a fan of modern Trap music, this is a song that you should be a big fan of.
STEPPIN ON N**** S
One characteristic of this album that is very prevalent is the fact that most of the beats have a traditionally slow and easy going tempo. Traditionally, Trap music is known for a very slow and very dark sound that is inspired by the consumption of Codeine(which is a painkiller that really slows and calms the mind down in an unnatural way). When most people think of Trap music, they do not think of faster songs that you can dance to. There has been a trend off faster Trap beats that have been popping up lately, though, and ‘Steppin On N****s’ is a song that goes with the new trend. The song has an 80s West Coast Rap feeling to the melody and beat; in fact, it reminds me a lot of songs by artists like NWA from the late 80s. I love the Disco-style synths that are used on this track. 21 Savage’s flow sounds perfect over these old school synths and fast beat. 21 Savage is known for his flows to be super easy and smooth sounding, and he sounds as smooth on this track as ever. ‘Steppin On N****s’ is a great song to change up the tempo of this record, and it shows that 21 Savage can sound good on literally any kind of beat.
BRAND NEW DRACO
21 Savage is the kind of rapper that can immediately draw a listener in and make them fall in love with a song just from how smooth his flow is when the song gets started. ‘Brand New Draco’ is one of those kinds of songs. 21 Savage’s flow and cadence in this song is so hypnotic and so fun to listen to. I love how 21 Savage uses his ad-libs to help dictate the flow and timing of his bars. Most rappers are not able to use their ad-libs to help make the timing of the bars smooth in this way; it reminds me a lot of 2 Chainz. ‘Brand New Draco’ is not a song with a super unique and interesting melody or beat, in my opinion. It is reminiscent of the kinds of classic Trap instrumentals that T.I. and Big K.R.I.T. used to rap on back in the day. It is not the kind of instrumental that is going to drive the interest in the song, but it is perfect in the background for a song like this where the focus is on the flow. ‘Brand New Draco’ is not the most interesting song on the record, but it is a song that highlights 21 Savage’s skills as a rapper very well.
SAID N DONE
If songs like ‘Steppin on N****s’ and ‘Runnin’ are songs that highlight Metro Boomin’s skills as a producer and if ‘Snitches and Rats’ and ‘Brand New Draco’ are songs that highlight 21 Savage’s talents as a rapper, then ‘Said N Done’ is a song that highlights all of their skills collectively in a perfect way. Out of all the cool melodies that are used on the project, this track probably has the most interesting melody of all. ‘Said N Done’ uses a sample from the song ‘Touch Me Now,’ which is an R&B track from the 1980s by Stephanie Mills. This is not the kind of melody that one would expect to hear in a Trap song; it is a very sparkly and sweet sound to it that sounds a lot like Whitney Houston’s best soft and slow jams. Oddly, it matches up perfectly with the soft and smooth flow that 21 Savage uses on this song. 21 Savage excels on this beat, and his flow on this track draws the listener in just as much as any other song on this project. ‘Said N Done’ is a song that shows just how great both 21 Savage and Metro Boomin are at what they do, and it is a perfect song to close out the record with.