21 Savage has been everywhere this year.
He burst forth from relative obscurity to being the absolute go-to feature. The knife tattoo emblazoned on his forehead makes his instantly recognizable, but the reason people are hooked on him is much more than that.
The hype started bubbling last year when the Atlanta rapper independently dropped his first solo projects, The Slaughter Tape and Slaughter King. Early on, he had a major co-sign with Zaytoven handling some of the production.
“They just bring that new fresh energy and for a guy like me that’s been in the game over 10 years, they just rejuvenate me,” the mega-producer told HipHopDX about working with the new generation of rappers. “When I work with guys like that, they just give me a whole new mindset about producing. They give me another flavor, another style. They just make me want to reinvent all over again. To keep up with what they got going on. So I’m excited to be working with those guys and I feel like they’re all stars. They’ve got the real gift to make it in the music industry.”
21 Savage’s real explosion in popularity came when he teamed up with Metro Boomin for the Savage Mode project this year. The mixtape peaked at #28 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart and got wide acclaim with the help of the single “X” featuring Future. The song is now certified platinum and gave 21 Savage the platform to perform at this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards.
He was named to this year’s XXL Freshmen class and the ATLien’s run continued with a guest spot on Drake’s “Sneakin’” song, a single that the Toronto superstar promised is on his upcoming More Life project. Drizzy also gifted 21 with a Ferrari and a nice Instagram post for the 24-year-old’s birthday (they are both October babies).
But don’t believe that 21 will fall victim to rap beef loyalties anytime soon. He also had a major guest appearance on Meek Mill’s DC4 with Young Thug and told TMZ that Drake and the Philly rapper are “both my homies.” He also went on a joyride with Meek on one of his ATVs. And is not here for your jokes about it.
His list of features continues, as he popped up on Travis Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, Lil Durk’s They Forgot mixtape, Young Dolph’s Rich Crack Baby, YG’s Red Friday, and a slew of smaller releases.
But perhaps the biggest sign that he’s “made it” is his duel with copycat 22 Savage. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?