Speaking to Complex, the Slaughter Gang boss said he believes he’s years away from considering himself worthy of standing next to Drizzy and Cole. According to 21, both Drake and J. Cole put in a lot of work to have a career and fanbase that will live on once they finally hang up their mic.
“There’s just a difference, bro,” the Atlanta rap star said. “That’s, like, years of work and a fanbase that is going to be there until they die, that’s different. I feel like I’m working to be on that level that they’re on, but I don’t feel like it’s the same. I feel I could do something corny, and I would lose a lot of what I got. That wouldn’t happen with them.”
He added: “Drake could do whatever, Cole could do whatever, and they’re shit not going anywhere. I’m working toward that level for sure, but I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m not saying I’m light-years behind. They’re more solidified, and I’m still building on what I got. But I could be wrong… It’s all about how the fans look at it.”
Despite how he feels, 21 has brought out the best of both men when he’s collaborated with them. The Savage Mode rapper dropped his J. Cole-assisted “A Lot” in 2018, which went on to be critically acclaimed.
Cole earned a 2019 HipHopDX Award for Verse of the Year for his feature on the song, and 21 snagged his first Grammy at the 2020 ceremony for Best Rap Song. The record was also certified five-times platinum in April 2021.
As for Drake, 21 joined forces with him to release their first collaborative effort, Her Loss, in November 2022. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and moved over 404,000 album-equivalent units in its first week, giving it the third-highest opening last year.
Drake and 21 Savage had their 12th and third No. 1 album with Her Loss, respectively, and earned a total of 514 million on-demand streams.