On SAVAGE MODE II, not only is the cover art by Pen & Pixel nostalgic, but the overpowering narration coming from both Freeman and 21 Savage are groundbreaking. Being on the radar since his first release The Slaughter Tape for his frankly disturbing gang violence depictions that perfectly encapsulate the predators in an urban jungle. As the chains swings and the sip pours, 21 and Metro peel the skin back and let the audience die a slow death on “Runnin.” A track that is less about taking prisoners, and more about forming an arrogant backhand to the skull.
With a Diana Ross sample, 21 Savage describes, “Called the first one Savage Mode, my mood that’s what it was. 2016 we was ridin’ around beating niggas up in the club.” He moves to a further notion illustrating, “I know she around for the money but act like she loyal, I don’t feel the love. I’m so rich, get bored, might wake up buy me a car just cause.” For a record so stranded away from a basis of relation, it sure is an explosion of both adrenaline and serotonin that strikes like a pounding viper.
It is hard to perfectly identify exactly what the attraction is to SAVAGE MODE II. It has elements that combine the ugliness of Atlanta conquerors with a partnership over intense sound and the ability to destroy through popular punches. Especially on later tracks both “Snitches & Rats” along with the interlude where Freeman spends a minute with the audience to dissect the meaning between both participants of crime.
“The difference is, at least a snitch is human. But a rat is a fucking rat, period,” describes Freeman as Metro Boomin immediately drops this revolving hi-hat that sprawls just like the metropolis he is from. Whether the birthplace of St. Louis or the conquering Magic City in Atlanta, Metro Boomin is abusive on SAVAGE MODE II and is the perfect partner for 21 Savage.
Never seeming to break down, 21 begins on “Snitches & Rats” by illustrating, “Glock 19 in the booth, it’s on the seat. Black Air Force 1’s in the field, them my cleats. Caught a rap nigga down bad, now his ass in a body bag.” As he continues on, 21 Savage begins to make callouts and observations about competition, “Sound real tough when you making them songs, where the fuck is your bodies at? Say you want smoke with that Big 4L, where the fuck is your ‘partments at?”
It isn’t all death and murder here, on the final track “Said N Done,” SAVAGE MODE II wraps in this glistening dreamscape where 21 Savage can take looks at how the past now folds back into the sand. The production here is a climatic mix of a velvety soft grace and the 808s of thick mud. Together, they take 21 on this elevated red cloud high above the pavement and out into a personal nirvana.
Whether Chopped Not Slopped or just in regular Savage Mode, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin continue to illustrate just how hellish a combination can become. Where the glimmer of silver pistols are no longer the fashion, SAVAGE MODE II gets closer with a dagger just so it can see the life escape from the audience one more time.