On Oct. 2, 2020, hip-hop artist 21 Savage, alongside producer Metro Boomin, released Savage Mode II. This studio album is the long-anticipated sequel to the original Savage Mode mixtape, which was released over four years ago. To add even more credibility and anticipation to the album, the dynamic duo of 21 Savage and Metro Boomin enlisted the aid of the legendary actor Morgan Freeman, who provides narration throughout the album. With all the big names involved in this project, Savage Mode II easily captured the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 171,000 units in its first week. However, commercial success does not always translate to overall quality. At the end of the second track, “Runnin,” Freeman poses the very important question, “Are things better or worse the second time around? Can we really do anything more than once?” In the case of Savage Mode II, the answer is a resounding yes!
The album begins with the intro track where Freeman details the many times that great men have found themselves in the same place at the same time during the course of history to work as one on important projects. Savage Mode II is said to be one of these important projects as two great men, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, join forces to give the world this highly anticipated album.
The feature song of the album, “Runnin,” is up next. Both artists are clearly in their comfort zone with this track. Metro Boomin produces a beat with his signature use of drums and bass. In the background he loops a sample of Diana Ross from her song, “I Thought It Took a Little Time.” This sample sets the pace for the track and helps 21 Savage seamlessly rap in between the loops of Ross. Two tracks later Metro Boomin completely changes gears to utilize an R&B type beat as Drake joins the duo on the track “Mr. Right Now.” This track is enjoyable and highlights the versatility of 21 Savage’s cadence and delivery as well as Metro Boomin’s flexibility with his beats.
The following track, “Rich N***a Sh*t,” is arguably the best track on the album. This song continues the R&B-like delivery and beat established on the previous track while also featuring Young Thug. The hook on this track is one of the strongest on the album, the beat is melodic and works extremely well with the R&B tone of the track and Young Thug delivers easily the best feature on the album. Everything comes together so perfectly on this track and makes it an obvious standout on the album.
The remainder of the album is solid and supplies enjoyable content for fans of these artists. On the back-half of the album, songs like “Many Men” and “My Dawg” are entertaining, but there are other tracks such as “Snitches & Rats” and “RIP Luv” that are somewhat derivative of the artists’ previous works and don’t offer anything new and worthwhile to experienced listeners. On the final track “Said N Done,” Freeman concludes the album by stating, “Until next time, stay in Savage Mode”.
Overall, this album was an enjoyable listen for both 21 Savage and Metro Boomin fans. Although I don’t believe Savage Mode II surpasses any of the artists’ previous projects in quality, it certainly does hold its own. This album has plenty of replayable tracks for listeners to come back to. Listening to Morgan Freeman talk about the difference between Snitches and Rats should be reason enough for anyone on the fence about listening to this album to give it a chance. Until next time, stay in Savage Mode.