21 Savage Unleashes the ‘American Dream’

Atlanta icon 21 Savage recently released his third solo album American Dream. The album features a lineup of prominent artists and serves as a testament to the rapper’s success, struggles, and evolution.

The anticipation for the album was heightened by a short film titled American Dream: The 21 Savage Story, which was released as a trailer. The film, set to be released on Independence Day 2024, is directed by Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Jamal Olori, and Fam Udeorji.

21’s album is a follow-up to his 2018 sophomore solo album I Am > I Was, which rewarded him his first Billboard 200 No. 1 album. His collaboration with Metro Boomin, Savage Mode II, also topped the Billboard 200 in 2020.

The album opens with an emotional spoken-word piece by 21 Savage’s mother, Heather Joseph. She speaks of her unwavering heart, the trials endured, and her enduring aspiration for her son to live free in his American dream. This intro hints at the immigration scandal that took the rapper by storm a few years back. Revealing that he was born in London, despite his Atlanta upbringing. I remember where I was. It was Super Bowl Sunday 2018 and I was dumfounded, to say the least. 

Following the heartfelt intro, the album’s first song, all of me, is a potent track marked by soulful production. The song was a head bop but I still didn’t know exactly what I was in for. Definitely a good song to walk to work in the snow. After that track it was time for me to storm to my boss’ desk to tell them I am pursuing my career as a full-time criminal. If any bystander witnessed my reaction to the opening seconds of redrum I hope it served you a laugh. Finally, setting the tone for what to expect when I listen to a 21 Savage album. The track’s production, courtesy of London on Da Track, shows that he still has his fastball. 

In this album, 21 Savage also procures an impressive guest list. Familiar faces like Lil Durk, Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Metro Boomin make their presence, alongside first-time collaborators such as Burna Boy, Brent Faiyaz, and Mariah the Scientist. Low key my favorite was Summer Walker.  

The album maintains a balance between hard-hitting trap songs and softer tunes. Tracks like dangerous (ft. Lil Durk & Metro Boomin), pop ur sh** (ft. Young Thug & Metro Boomin), and nee-nah (ft. Travis Scott) cater to the expectations of 21 Savage’s fanbase. On the softer side, songs like prove it, should’ve wore a bonnet, and just like me explore 21 Savage’s relationships, past and current. The only thing that might have been wrong with this album is the “poop” bar. If you don’t know what I’m talking about give this link a quick link for a laugh. 

Revealing a Vulnerable Side

Towards the album’s end, 21 Savage unveils a more vulnerable side of him, displaying his range. It also provides us that he is serious in finding his way into more mainstream music. More fans equals more opportunity and more money. On dark days with Mariah the Scientist, who was flawless on track by the way, he opens up about the trials and tribulations he has faced over the years. The self-reflecting lyrics reveal his struggles with mental health and paint the story of his true upbringing. Wrapping up American Dream on this note left the listener with a profound understanding that 21 Savage is here to stay and leave a bigger legacy in Hip-Hop than anticipated. 

21 Savage’s philanthropic efforts have been recognized by the state of Georgia, which designated December 21 as “21 Savage Day.” His foundation, Leading by Example, aims to provide financial literacy education to underserved youth, offering scholarships, access to bank accounts, and job placement.

Final Thoughts

American Dream stands out as a pinnacle of his artistic journey, representing not just an evolution of his musical prowess but also a testament to his personal growth. It surpasses his previous works due to the fact that I did not feel the need to skip any tracks. It kept my attention and did not have me reaching to hit the next button.

An album that served more than his original core audience, we applaud the evolution of his sound and risk taking.  American Dream achieves a rare balance of commercial success and artistic integrity, cementing 21 Savage’s status as a visionary in the hip-hop genre. As a cohesive and innovative body of work, it not only reflects 21 Savage’s relevance but shows he is more than an Atlanta trap rapper. 

For more of 21 Savage’s Discography you can look up the following projects.

  1. The Slaughter Tape (May 25, 2015) – Mixtape
  2. Slaughter King (December 1, 2015) – Mixtape
  3. Savage Mode (with Metro Boomin) (July 15, 2016) – EP
  4. Issa Album (July 7, 2017) – Studio Album
  5. Without Warning (with Offset and Metro Boomin) (October 31, 2017) – Collaborative Album
  6. I Am > I Was (December 21, 2018) – Studio Album
  7. Savage Mode II (with Metro Boomin) (October 2, 2020) – Studio Album


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