Clown on the flute sounds and how he seemingly mumbled through entire songs, 21 Savage’s 2016 ambient trap record Savage Mode was one of the year’s most vital and engaging hip hop albums. Like Chief Keef before him, Savage managed to deliver totally believable threats and shit talk without ever really raising his voice. The Atlanta native was so cold when he rapped about running up on people that you knew he had no qualms about doing it.
Fortunately, Savage has lost none of that icy veneer as he works his way toward the forthcoming Issa. This link up with New Zealand’s Montell2099 likely won’t be on the record but it neatly fits into Savage’s dark as the night discography. The beat’s largely comprised of swirling little synth sounds and trap percussion that strikes with assassin like precision. It’s luxurious and spacious and gives Savage plenty of room to whack people “like Joe Pesci” and sip his CVS-acquired lean. What should be just standard boilerplate shit talk is transformative with Savage, in part because he knows what sounds good but also because he’s so committed to the subject material. Frigid delivery be damned.
Issa drops July 7 and should be a total delight.