21 Savage – ISSA Album Review 

21 Savage’s 2016-17 run has seen the “Issa Knife” rapper become one of the most talked , memed and conflicting artists in contemporary Hip-Hop/Trap. Following the independent success of his official debut project, ‘Savage Mode’, complimented entirely by Metro Boomin production, 21 has delivered a similar project. Laced with gangster-records like “Bank Account”, “Dead People” and the final track “7 Min Freestyle”. Yet, there are also experimental records as well as reflective tracks that see the 21 as a much more complex individual.

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Starting off with the Metro Boomin and Zaytoven produced “Famous”, 21 spits over glittering Ziggy keys and stoned hi-hats, reliving his comeuppance to the rap game as well as the struggles he has been through to get where he has ended up in a penultimate situation. As the album reveals a savage we’ve already heard on previous solo efforts and guest features (Brodinski – “No Target”, Mike WiLL Made It – “Gucci On My”), 21 also provides melodic and friendlier records on the album, that according to 21 on The Breakfast Club, he’ll “put any song [he] wanted on the album”. That itself, for an artist like 21, is career risking, however, his sound compliments the West-Coast infused Afrobeat “FaceTime”, produced by DJ Mustard and the 90s Hip-Hop/Trap “Thug Life”, produced by Metro.

Throughout the album, 21 spits his well known factual-telling, savagery vocals into horror-film inspired imagery. “Numb”, seeing him tackling depression, coming up in the hood, adapting to a celebrity lifestyle and numbing his pain “with the money”. Other standouts include “Bad Business”, “Money Convo” for it’s trippy piano loop and the “in the feelings” Wheezy produced “Special”.

In all, 21’s official studio album is an interesting and experimental start to his career with this project. Not only does it contain the same gritty, street-life records that were on ‘Savage Mode’, but it also shows how much he’s grown and looking to develop as a solo artist. While it’s not necessarily the greatest Hip-Hop album that’s come out recently, it’s definitely one of the more interesting Trap albums to drop.

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