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The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

21 Savage and his American Dream

Savage reminisces on the challenges and successes of his career in latest album
21 Savage dropped american dream on Jan 12, his first solo album since 2017.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
21 Savage dropped “american dream” on Jan 12, his first solo album since 2017.

Rating: 4/5

On Jan. 12, British-American rapper 21 Savage dropped his first solo album since 2017, a 15-track album entitled american dream in lower case styling. This album brings an exciting combination of R&B and rap, creating versatility and covering a wide range of emotions from the acclaimed rapper.
One of the many reasons for 21 Savage’s success with this album was his collaboration, with tracks featuring prominent artists like Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, Summer Walker and Doja Cat. The diverse sound of each featured artist created unique musical combinations on each track, really allowing the sound of this album to stand out.
21 Savage opens his album with a spoken word poem written and performed by his mother, entitled american dream, reflecting the challenges that 21 Savage endured to achieve his success and prestige as a rapper. He follows this album-opener with tracks “all of me” and “redrum,” which sample slowed-down songs (Wishing on a Star by Rose Royce and Serenata do Adeus by Elza Laranjeira) to open, only to transition into fast and energized beats that are perfect for an intense workout or blasting with the windows down. The title of 21’s second track “redrum” is in reference to The Shining, and samples Jack Nicholson’s iconic “Here’s Johnny” scene as the song fades out for an eerie and thrilling effect.
Tracks “sneaky” and “pop ur s***” with Young Thug and Metro Boomin bring similar hype to listeners, though with less distinct sounds. These tracks, while upbeat and catchy, don’t bring as much to the table when compared to 21 Savage’s wide discography of hype songs.
21 Savage didn’t stop there when it came to dropping energized tracks. “Dangerous” with Lil Durk and Metro Boomin did not disappoint with its fast-paced beats and catchy lyrics that will make any listener want to find their twin and “flame it up.” While not quite as fast-paced as tracks like “redrum,” the song “née nah” with Travis Scott and Metro Boomin did not disappoint. Of all the tracks on the album, these songs will remind listeners the most of 21’s past music, each with a unique twist from the artists he features.
While 21 Savage did not mess around when it came to creating timeless hype songs for this album, the R&B side of american dream is where the album truly shines. Tracks “prove it” with Summer Walker and “should’ve wore a bonnet” with Brent Faiyaz combine the renowned sounds of two famous names in contemporary R&B with 21’s distinct, rhythmic rap style to create a fluid fusion of genres.
In addition to demonstrating his own production style on the album, 21 Savage also allowed space for the infiltration of other artists’ sounds. This was evidenced by his track with Doja Cat, “n.h.i.e.” which sounded very similar to her 2021 studio album “Planet Her.” Not only was it soft and catchy, “n.h.i.e.” reflected 21’s ability to be versatile and open to new music styles in his work, an admirable quality for an artist with such a large platform.
The best R&B track on the album, however, goes to “dark days” with Mariah the Scientist. Though its tone is more solemn than other songs on the album, its ethereal chorus and bridge transport listeners to another planet as the two artists rap and sing about the struggles they’ve experienced trying to succeed in environments where they’ve been set up for failure because of violence, dysfunction or racism. Regardless of listeners’ personal experiences with the topics of this song, they will be sure to empathize with the pain that both artists immaculately convey.
Coming off of Her Loss, a collaboration album with Drake released in 2022, 21 Savage has delivered much-anticipated material to dedicated fans, who have missed his frequent numerical adlibs and tough musical persona. Through “American Dream,” 21 Savage uses a variety of genres and sounds from different featured artists to tell the story of his rise to fame, honoring both the challenges and successes of his rags-to-riches story. The creativity as well as the energy that flows through each track makes it safe to say that he stood on business with this album.

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