american dream

american dream

21 Savage doesn’t do small things. His 2022 full-length Drake team-up Her Loss certainly made that clear, and the long-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s i am > i was gives off similar blockbuster energy. Presented in the form of a trailer for a feature film, the Donald Glover-starring “all of me” music video, for example, seems to address head-on the long-standing queries about the UK-born rapper’s origin story and the immigration troubles that ensued in the intervening years. That song serves to set the stage for american dream, his third proper solo album and the apparent soundtrack to said cinematic entry. As always, 21 Savage imbues his oft trap-indebted tracks here with menace and luxury, sharing a murderous mindset on “redrum” and offering a glimpse into a complicated lifestyle on “see the real.” His pleasures tend to encounter his pain and rage, evident among the lustful intentions of “sneaky,” but that just comes with the territory of telling his uncensored story. About as honest as his bars could get, “letter to my brudda” shares something decidedly more personal with messages that resonate beyond just its intended recipient. Of course, even on a solo album, 21 Savage wouldn’t go it alone. He amasses a small cast of guests—from Doja Cat to Travis Scott to Summer Walker—whose contributions only add to the epic weight of this deceptively concise effort. His Savage Mode series production partner Metro Boomin assumes the most prominent supporting role, mixing it up with Lil Durk on “dangerous” and Burna Boy on the R&B-infused “just like me.” Not surprising given the pair of features on last year’s BUSINESS IS BUSINESS, Young Thug returns the favor on the methodically paced “pop ur shit,” while Mariah the Scientist does the same for her “77 Degrees” partner on closer “dark days.”

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