Since 2016, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin have been one of the premier rapper/producer duos hip hop has to offer. From their Offset collaboration Without Warning to appearing on each other’s various solo ventures, these two work together seamlessly at this point. After not releasing anything in 2019, rumors started to build up that the duo was taking their time to create a sequel to their original 2016 debut project Savage Mode. After a year of speculation, 21 and Metro officially announced the long-awaited album this week with an epic trailer narrated by the one and only Morgan Freeman. With the most hyped-up release of their careers, will 21 Savage and Metro Boomin be able to deliver another trap classic with SAVAGE MODE II?
Expanding on his artistic arsenal, 21 Savage gives possibly the best performance of his career. Moving away from the one-dimensionality he is known and loved for, the powerful story of betrayal on “Snitches & Rats” and his smooth melodic delivery on “Rich N***a Shit” shows that the 27-year-old rapper can firmly step out of his comfort zone. At the pinnacle of this, “My Dawg” shows 21 tapping into many different pockets as he addresses claims around his citizenship and loyalty. While the stylistic expansion adds layers to the album, “Mr. Right Now”, did the opposite as 21’s dense bars are only further sunken by the abysmal Drake feature. Looking at the other guest appearances, Young Thug and Young Nudy both play a significant role in their respective moments. Also worth mentioning is the narration from Morgan Freeman on songs like “Intro”, “Snitches & Rats (Interlude)” and “Said N Done”, as his commentary adds potency to every world 21 Savage iterates. For those worried that SAVAGE MODE II lost the meaningfulness of its name, cuts like “Glock in My Lap”, “Slidin” and “Many Men” give us 21 Savage at his most ruthless. In all of its glory, “Runnin” stands out the most as the Zone 6 survivor represents Slaughter Gang with his fast flow and abrasive lyricism. Continuing to show that he can be an all-around threat on the microphone, 21 Savage continues to close the gap between him and the Mount Rushmore of modern trap music.
Behind the boards, Metro Boomin further proves that he is the greatest producer of our generation. From creating spine chilling gangster anthems in “Glock in My Lap” and “Snitches & Rats” to chopping up soul samples like prime Kanye West on “Runnin”, Boomin’s skill set seems to be at its peak. One of Metro’s best qualities has always been intertwining classic records into his beats, and on “Said N Done”, we see this at his absolute best. As a true student of the game, there is homage paid to musical greats ranging from 50 Cent and his defining song of the same name “Many Men”, to “Runnin”, which flips the classic Diana Ross single “I Thought It Took A Little Time”. Creating eccentric trap drums is something few have been mastery at, yet cuts like “Rich N***a Shit” and “No Opp Left Behind” demonstrate this at full throttle. The only negative of Metro’s production is that it feels slightly redundant at times, but on a record like this, that’s where its appeal comes from. Overall, Metro Boomin’s well-rounded soundtrack embodies everything that has made him and 21 Savage one of the most sought after duos in recent memory.
In a year where trap music has been making a significant comeback due to albums like High Off Life and Eternal Atake, SAVAGE MODE II sticks out as the leader of the pack. While not being as dark as its predecessor, 21 Savage shows the effects of fame, and Metro Boomin’s soundtrack only emphasizes this. With all of its highpoints and only one song, I would consider a miss, its easy to say this is one of the better hip hop records of the entire year. Going forward, I don’t know if there’s a Savage Mode III in the duos blueprint, but if there is, I’m sure it will only manage to raise 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s elite status even more!
- 21 Savage shows he is an all-around threat
- Metro Boomin’s ability to chop up/sample has noticeably improved
- Morgan Freeman’s narration
- Dark themes stay prevalent
- Solid features
- Repetitive at times
- 21 Savage’s melodic style can feel slightly awkward at times
- Terrible Drake feature