When 21 Savage and Metro Boomin unleashed ‘Savage Mode’ back in 2016, they could hardly have known the impact it would have. Arguably a defining moment for both artists, it blew up their profiles and meant that every subsequent interview would include the following question: “so, more Savage Mode…?”
Earlier this week, fans got their wish. Launched with a phenomenal Morgan Freeman voiced trailer, ‘Savage Mode 2’ is here, and it’s fantastic follow up, one that finds the two linking perfectly while raising their game at every turn.
With nine tracks it falls in between an EP and an album – it’s billed as an ‘Extended EP’ on streaming services – but in every way ‘Savage Mode 2’ feels substantial. Metro Boomin’s production is crisp and future-facing, with subtle flourishes – the neat melody on ‘Many Men’ for example – intermingled with enormous beats that could topple mountains.
21 Savage, too, has rarely sounded better. Moving from braggadocio to modes that touch on introspection, incorporating the paranoid violence of ‘Glock On My Lap’ to the sheer flow that dominates ‘Runnin’.
It’s a remarkably well-defined project. In an era of endless tracklists and rampant feature culture the pair have kept it succinct, boiling their ideas down to the essence – even the Morgan Freeman skits have a fully embedded function within the greater whole.
As a project, though, it’s not without fault. Drake’s appearance on ‘Mr. Right Now’ features a troubling reference to SZA. At best, it’s an ugly bar, beneath his standards, one that catalogues his conquests; the fact that SZA was only 17 years old when the suggested fling took place, though, could land the rapper in hot water.
But that feature shouldn’t define the project as a whole. ‘Savage Mode 2’ matches ruthless entertainment to phenomenal artistry, a collaboration that works on a number of levels. Once more exposing fresh layers to 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, hopefully it won’t take another four years for a third instalment.
Words: Robin Murray
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