Album Review: Savage Mode II by 21 Savage & Metro Boomin

Following two years of silence, 21 Savage returns with super producer Metro Boomin, making his first appearance since he was unjustly detained by ICE. Savage Mode II firmly cements the legacies of both artists as a top tier rapper-producer duo of the last decade.

After the two originally linked up in 2016 for the fan favorite Savage Mode, the legendary Morgan Freeman asks the most anticipated question as narrator of this new project, “are things better or worse the second time around?”

The employment of Morgan Freeman to seamlessly transition the album from track to track with silky smooth intros and outros is not the only cinematic aspect of this body of work. Start with the album cover, created by Pen and Pixel. The epic rap graphics are iconic, as you probably recognize some of them from early hip hop memories:

The entire production from Metro sounds like the background score to a suspense movie with several melancholy orchestra and piano chords that can be heard in “RIP Love”, “Rich N*gga Shit ft. Young Thug” and We The Beat’s favorite track “No Opp Left Behind”.

Although some of 21 Savage’s lyrics could be deemed relatively weak (we lost count how many times he ad-libs with the word p*ssy), the clear low point of the album was 21’s collab with October’s Very Own Drake on the track “Mr. Right Now”. Drake makes a controversial allusion to dating SZA, which gained media attention to the song, but it sounds a bit out of place on the album. 

On the reverse, perhaps the crown jewel of the album is his homage to the legendary 50 Cent in his track “Many Men”. The song samples the original, has a mesmerizing chorus, and an evil laugh that haunts the entire song. It also contains the most memorable Freeman outro on the project:

“The evil man envies the good in others

What this means is all hatred is really born from hatred of self

And can only serve to aid in one’s own destruction

This is the downfall of many men.”

While Savage Mode II may not be an all-decade hip hop album, or even a top album for the second half of the decade, it is certainly a top rap album of right now. We would imagine this album will be in talks for rap album of the year, but there is still 25% of the year to go.

 

- Written by Steven Brody