The student news site of Glenn High School

The Growl

The student news site of Glenn High School

The Growl

The student news site of Glenn High School

The Growl

Review: American Dream

An album by 21 Savage
21 Savage released his third studio album Jan. 12 titled “American Dream.” The album features 15 title tracks with a run time of 50 minutes.

21 Savage is a trap hip-hop artist originally born in London and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He began his career back in 2013 breaking out of the underground scene in 2016 with the release of “Savage Mode,” an EP with which he collaborated with record producer Metro Boomin. The collaboration put him on the map which garnered him success and made a name for himself internationally when he was featured in the “Freshman Class” of 2016 by XXL Magazine. A couple months later, “Savage Mode” went platinum. In 2017 he signed a contract with Epic Records and in the same year he released his debut studio album “Issa Album” with its lead single reaching the number 12 spot on the Hot 100.


The name for the album references his nationality and his early aspirations coming to the states when he was 7 years old. The release of the album came out along with the trailer to a fake biopic film trailer titled “American Dream: The 21 Savage Story” featuring actor and hip-hop artist Donald Glover and actor Celab McLaughlin from Stranger Things. The trailer was satirical so it’s pretty safe to say the events didn’t happen. 21 Savage himself said in an interview with former NFL athlete Shannon Sharpe’s podcast Club Shay Shay that the trailer was a joke. The trailer was most likely a promotional stunt done for more attention towards his album release. 


American dream: The intro opens with a soft violin and lyrics from Savage’s mother. She dives deep into how complex achieving the American dream really is, showing really the struggles, and the harsh realities of his journey of what she and Savage had to endure to achieve his success. This really is an impactful track as it’s deep into the narrative of her life for her son.


all of me: In this track, Savage’s uses a soulful Rose Royce sample which blends well with laid-back flow throughout the track. Low tempo piano and hi hats switch on after the sample intro with a deep bass comes in shortly after which really adds more depth to the song. Savage raps about his childhood and how he was put in the world of crime at the age of 6 after moving from England to Atlanta, Georgia. This track was released with the trailer for Savage’s so-called debut film, “American Dream: The 21 Savage Story,” a joke to help promote his latest album “American Dream.”


redrum: The intro begins with the sample of the 1963 Brazilian song, “Serenata do Adeus” by Elza Laranjeira. Savage flows really well on this ominous sample making this really menacing tone on the track using deep bass and hi-hats. Savage returns to England in this track marked as someone new with his street credibility since he left. In UK drill, a genre of music, “redrum” is a term associated with the genre, being used first in 2016 by 67’s “redruM reverse.” Skepta, who is highly respected across the UK since 2007, also referenced it in his 2019 single “Redrum”. The song name is the word murder spelled backwards which hints to the 1980 horror classic “The Shining.” The outro uses the sample from the infamous scene in the film adding to the murderous tone of the track.


n.h.i.e (feat. Doja Cat): The name of this track is an acronym for Never Have I Ever, a party game where people take a shot if they have ever done something that was mentioned in the game. The track back on the laid-back flow and Savage raps about sticking to his morality as Doja’s raps about her not being petty and also sticking to her morals as someone who respects himself . This is Savage’s and Doja Cat’s first collaboration together, meant to appear in Doja’s fourth album but never made it the the tracklist, instead being put on Savage’s.


sneaky: Savage continues to layback on this smooth track. It really shows his skills on making trap hits with his unapologetic attitude. He brags on his skill to meet up with partners discreetly. Savage pushes those with money that doesn’t compare to his to the side, buying Chanel bags for his girls every week. The track name references sneaky as a bold statement to his ability to meet up with his girls secretly and accumulating wealth.


pop ur sh*t (feat. Young Thug, Metro Boomin): All of the artist’s in the track showcase their bold lyrics and production with Metro delivering a quality gritty atmosphere on this high paced trap track with Savage continuing to strive on his confidence and being unapologetic. Young Thug’s lyrics aren’t finished because he’s currently on trial. If he’s convicted of the alleged crimes,  he can be serving 5 to 20 years.


letter to my brudda: This is a deep heartfelt track exploring Savage’s struggles with loyalty and loss, including the way street life changed him and broke his trust. The interlude on the track adds a somber depth of tough choices for surviving. Savage shows support for Young Thug as Thug, Gunna and 26 others were convicted of alleged affiliation with YSL on Altanta’s gang conspiracy trial. YSL allegedly committed violent crimes such as murder and armed robbery. Gunna was freed from jail via a plea agreement but Young Thug is still at risk of being indicted. Savage is apologizing for his sins and reflects on his path of success, showing the setbacks of the street life he endured. The soulful production “letter to my brudda” is a raw portrayal of Savage’s struggles and his pursuit of a better life.


dangerous (feat. Lil Durk & Metro Boomin): The song opens up immediately with this soulful sample under a trap beat and intro being a sequel of 21 Lil Harold, a member of the 21 collective, aggressively shows his street credibility and disrespect to his opps. 21 Savage collaborates back with Lil Durk marking this being the sixth time they’ve paired on tracks together. Both Savage and Durk pay their respects to their fallen brothers CJ and OTF DThang. The duo throw shade on those who do the same to those who disrespect those friends, making the point not to mess with gang politics.


Née-nah (feat. Travis Scott & Metro Boomin): The track begins with the sample from Malcom McLauren’s “About her” played in the film “Kill Bill Vol. 2.” Travis Scott starts his verse, packing with bars referencing what seems to be the inspiration behind the song’s title Nina Simone, known as the high priestess of soul music. 21 Savage switches the tone up bringing back that murderous tone, killing bars about murder, women and guns. Metro Boomin has beautifully handled this production. The sample flowing into the lyrics and booming bass really makes this song stand out in the album.


see the real: The song begins with a light chorus in the back before bringing in Savage with his first verse, muffling out the choir, bringing in the bass and adding clarity to the background vocals. Savage talks about 21 growing up in poverty but how he now turned his life around and is wealthy now. This can be shown in the bar “Got it out the mud, but we grew up in the sand” which is later contrasted by the later bar “Call me Santa Claus, ‘cause I’m rich-rich

Put a Birkin bag on your wishlist.”


prove it (feat. Summer Walker): This song brings me at peace because the lyricism in this is beyond any love song released this year. The deep heavy bass just goes so hard as the background vocals from Faith Evans make me float. 21 Savage puts out bars about his morals to his lover and what he loves about her, getting her what she needs. Summer Walker provides the soulful vocals that put this song all together. Both artists are featured on USHER’s 2023 single “Good Good.”


should’ve wore a bonnet (feat. Brent Faiyaz): This song marks 21 Savage and Brent Faiyaz’s first collaboration together and they’re on a great start for sure. The high-pitched sample from Mary J. Blidge’s “I Don’t Want To Do Anything” plays throughout the track. The song explores themes of love, desire and the complexities of relationships. The song title refers to a  bonnet, which is used to protect your hair, suggesting the importance of being prepared for the unexpected and possible break-ups in a relationship.


just like me (feat. Burna Boy & Metro Boomin): Burna Boy, a Nigerian afrobeat artist, turns up with 21 Savage for their pairing for the remixed single Sittin On Top Of The World released in the summer last year. Metro Boomin brings back the bass, with soulful background vocals and trap beats making the duo fly on this track. The two rap about their relationships with a girl that went from being innocent and honest, to practicing toxic tactics as the same artists had used. Burna Boy faced similar problems with visa cards when Boy moved to the UK at 18. He was banned from returning to the country for several years after being jailed for an alleged gang related crime.


red sky (feat. Tommy Newport & Mikky Ekko): This orchestral trap was produced by Honorable C.N.O.T.E and the vocals from indie artist Tommy Newport puts a dramatic tone on the intro. Increasing the tempo as 21 Savage enters his fist verse, this track shows Savage’s reflections on his success and his status as an artist and rapper.


dark days (feat. Mariah the Scientist): 21 Savage looks back at his life, seeing his success but acknowledging the pain he went through, giving reasons on why the street life isn’t worth it. Savage expresses his concern for the younger generations putting too much of a risk on material items and respect. Mariah the Scientist’s vocals top off the song with heartfelt lyrics and a harmonic flow, summarizing experiences that she had also gone through.


This is a reflective album on 21 Savage’s life that really gives a deep dive into his past life and his success as a rapper now. The variety throughout the songs while sticking to its original message – attaining the American dream and reflection on how he got there – is something that Savage does really well on this album. Savage really made this album soulful, not only by the vocals and flow, but also showing how he feels on the tracks through his lyricism. All the songs are hits, with Savage and Metro Boomin making heat each time they get in the studio. This album is a 10/10 for me because I genuinely can’t find anything wrong with it. Everything flows so beautifully, from the carefully curated samples, to the deep lyricism and bass. This is the rap album of the year.