After months of built-up anticipation, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin have finally dropped the sequel to their cult-classic Savage Mode. Fans have reacted with excitement to its official release announcement signifying the end of what felt like a wild-goose chase. The follow-up to the duo’s first collaborative project is only coming over a year after it was first hinted to drop.
If you’d ask the “a lot” rapper, he would tell you to just stay patient and trust the process. If you ask me, I would suggest you do the same because Savage Mode 2 is that damn good. 21 and Metro’s choice to drop it in October makes a lot of sense because the project’s sound is so menacing. They carry on the theme laid out in the first project, but the final outcome sounds more theatrical and polished. To experience Savage Mode when it first came out was a movie, but to hear the sequel by itself is a movie. The two rap stars took their time to deliver what is easily one of this year’s best full-length projects.
“Intro” is an exhilarating start that sounds deserving of its own summer movie trailer. The narration handled by actor Morgan Freeman is enough to make your heart race upon the first listen. It’s something about Metro’s ambitious piano keys meshing with the most iconic voice ever that brings you in even more. (Side note: why hasn’t Morgan Freeman been narrating albums this whole time?) He spends the project’s first seconds breaking down the duo’s undeniable chemistry in stellar form.
“When these men join forces to put the focus of reaching the same goals, to attain the same outcomes, they are not two, but one.
Instead of simply adding one’s common attributes to another’s, they somehow tend to multiply all attributes of both.”
21 makes his entrance with a sinister laugh on the next track “Runnin”. The high-pitched sample on here provides enough adrenaline for Savage to start rapping like a madman. The flow switches on this track are just as disrespectful as his lyrics. The opening track is the tone-setter for what immediately sounds like a horror film shot in East Atlanta.
The mood becomes even more cinematic when the project transitions into “Glock in My Lap”. Featuring some of Metro Boomin’s most ambitious production, the dark and barbarous lines that 21 delivers come off even more terrorizing. By the time the string arrangements come in, the beat becomes soundtrack music for Freddy Kreuger to make his entrance with a ski mask on.
“Big 4L, I’m a member/ Leave a opp cold like December/ .45 on me, it’s a Kimber/ AK knockin trees down like timber”– 21 Savage
It’s undeniable chemistry the duo share and you can tell they feed off whenever they lock in the studio together. After a few listens, none of these songs on Savage Mode 2 are ideal radio singles. Each song selection here is precise and holds its own weight to potentially become fan favorites from the album. Also, there isn’t a bad feature that can be found on here.
“Mr. Right Now” is a bouncy collab with Drake that completely changes the pace of the tracklist. Metro switches locations from the trap to the party as he brings the energy within this looped instrumental. This is easily the album’s most colorful moment as 21 and Drake trade bars about being the guy she needs for the moment and not the long haul. The after party vibes settle in when the euphoric cut “RNS” plays next. Fellow Atlanta superstar Young Thug makes his appearance as both rappers get lost in the young and rich lifestyle. Even 21 and 4L rapper Young Nudy continue their history of consistent street hits as they embody Savage’s “murder music” sound.
The album’s proudest moment comes on the outro “Said N Done”. As 21 reflects on the importance of loyalty and making it out, the tone comes off more celebratory than somber. It’s the violins and vintage drum patterns on here that give the track a heartwarming feel. The song is a nostalgic jam that makes 21’s bars reminiscing on fallen friends that strike your core.
“Go to war about my dawgs/ Yeah, the ones who pick me up whenever I fall/ All the pain I endured just to ball/ I’d give this shit away to be with y’all”– 21 Savage
Savage Mode 2 is an imposing reminder that 21 and Metro might be the best one-two punch in rap today. This is easily one of the best releases this year and a step-up from the original. The duo took their raw energy and plenty of time to craft an extravagant album. You can tell by the fine detail put into each song that SM2 was meant to be played from start to finish.The gruesome, haunting bars that Savage is meshes nicely with Metro’s grand production. Then when you add on Morgan Freeman’s standout narrative performance, the project becomes larger-than-life.
While they have already released a music video for “Runnin”, it would be nice to see the album’s natural cinematic get the silver screen treatment with a short film. As a fan of both, this project hosts some of their best work, in substance and sophistication.
Best Tracks: Glock in my Lap, Brand New Draco, Said N Done