Savage Mode 2 – [21 Savage and Metro Boomin]

The grander hip-hop landscape is progressing at arguably its most rapid pace in its entire history. Never before has its audience been subjected to as many new styles acting as catalysts in what is shaping up to be a seemingly endless evolutionary period for the genre. So to look back on an era in history that, realistically, was not too long ago in pure time’s sake is something of a daring act — because even just 4 short years seem like an absolute eternity ago.


The eclectic rise and subdued fall of trap music’s presence is the mainstream was a period that was heavily criticized at first, but completely respected and allotted by its peak all the way to its end. 2016 – though still at the precipice of its apex – could arguably be considered as the era’s most iconic year based on a plethora of factors: the quality of the music, the quantity at which it was released, and more than anything else, the creative spirit and energy that both the fans and the artists had during that remarkable time.


Though numerous projects stick out as absolute classics even to this day, perhaps no other album encapsulates this unmatched period in music history better than 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s now-iconic collaborative effort in Savage Mode. With numerous hits at its disposal, and even more influential weight to bare in its status, this project is without question a holy grail of not just that aforementioned year, not just trap music, and not even just hip-hop as a whole; it’s one of the most important and integral pieces of music to drop in that decade and beyond. 


With a status like that, the music world expected nothing else but a resounding follow up — and rumors of a speculated sequel extend as far back as even the former’s release year. But nothing had ever materialized, and this period came and went without a true follow up, despite what many considered a spiritual successor in 2017’s Without Warning where the duo teamed up with Migos’s Offset for their own outstanding joint project.


But here we are, 4 years later and in a tellingly far off and completely different world – both in music and otherwise – and the two have finally done it. Savage Mode 2 has arrived, and even our most lofty expectations have been exceeded to seemingly unprecedented degrees. 


The two certainly could’ve phoned in this release and still received resounding acclaim considering the names attached to the project, and the sheer power that the three words “Savage Mode 2” hold in the wider musical lexicon today. But instead of playing it by the numbers, the two have effectively taken those numbers and exponentiated them to unfounded levels. 


This album is a tried and true homage to a sound that both Savage and Metro not only helped to create, but practically created all on their own. Since the first Savage Mode dropped, these two have perfected their respective crafts in such nuanced and remarkable manners with numerous projects backing that claim up. Though it may be easy to say in hindsight, but perhaps this gradual build up was all leading to this moment right here — an absolute swan song for one of the most influential genres of all time. 


And the two execute this moment with all the grace and care in the world. Tracks like “Runnin,” “Slidin,” and “Brand New Draco” genuinely sound like the respective eras that they are meant to emulate and enunciate; they are absolutely perfect callbacks to a time that is certainly far behind us, but exceptionally admired for what it once was. Some others in the tracklisting – such as “Glock In My Lap” and “Many Men” – even display the two trying new things with their far more punchy and less-atmospheric tones about them via Metro’s learned production. 


Even with the two stealing the show as they should, they even took the time to integrate features from some people who either are just happy to be there, or deserve it completely for what they’ve contributed to the genre that made them who they are today. People like Young Nudy, Young Thug, and Drake have a relevant and welcomed presence here in the tracklisting, and even a surprising, yet weirdly fitting Morgan Freeman appearance elevates the album in a way that Savage and Metro couldn’t just do on their own.


Simply put and as obvious as can be, Savage Mode 2 is a swan song for an incredible, impactful, and innovative period of hip-hop history. Practically no one can deny the sheer weight that these two have held over the contemporary music landscape as it has evolved since their arrival to the mainstream, and if for some reason there needed to be any sort of reminder for that in our modern time, look no further than these two legends still murdering the game some four long and taxing years later.