The Wildezine

“I am Greater Than I Was” is 21 Savages’ second album, released on December 21st, 2018. 21 Savage is a rapper from Atlanta, Georgia and is well known for his tracks “Bank Account”, “No Heart” and “X”.
This album kicked off with track one called “A Lot”, featuring J Cole. It starts by asking, “How much money do you have?”, then asks ,“How many problems do you have?”, “How many people have doubted you and how many people are trying to cause your downfall?” all with happen with hot background ad lib. This track is signifying that even though he has been through so many problems and has dealt with many issues, he still came out with a lot of money. The verse is talking about how a lot of the people he hung out with growing up either switched up on him, ended up in jail, or dead. The main theme of the album is that even though he is rich and famous, he is not going to switch up and he’s still going to be himself. J Cole talked about how a lot of these artists in the industry are faking their numbers to seem more successful than they are. Cole feels now he’s an underrated rapper because he’s not doing a bunch of extra promotion to get clout.
Most of the songs on the album are about the problems in the music industry, people switching on 21 Savage, and how even though 21 Savage is now famous, he is still living the street life he was accustomed to as an adolescent. The title “I Am Greater Than What I Was” is a very appropriate title for this album because he is talking about how all the problems he faced throughout his rise to fame and wealthy have made him a greater person. He raps about still living the street life with famous songs like “Can’t Leave Without i
It”, “Break Da Law”, “Gun Smoke,” “4L” and others. On the other hand, the track “Songs 21” is about loyalty or lack of loyalty from those close to him.
Savage 21 also provides an introspective side to his songwriting. The song “All My Friends”, which is one of my favorites on the album, and songs like “Ball w/o You” and “1.5” reminisce on his childhood and how it made him the “Savage” he is now.“Monster” is a song in which 21 Savage and Childish Gambino talk about two different monsters they have had to deal with. Childish Gambino refers to the record industry and how the record labels young artists are signing to are controlling them and their money. They are monsters trying to take these young artists’ talents and creativity. 21 Savage talks about his monster being his upbringing and what surrounded him, which caused many traumatizing experiences in his life. 21 also wrote a song for his mom, thanking her for doing the best she could raising him and for her guidance that caused him to grow as a greater person.
Obviously these songs do not exactly promote the Quaker values we are expected to uphold at Sandy Spring Friends School, however they offer a lot of artistic style and talent. The energy of the tracks can really be felt and 21 Savage also flows over the beat well. 21 Savage has a unique way of adding a lot of energy to a track with such a monotone voice, which always adds richness to his music. His musical style combines with his background and sound which together make him unique among other popular artists.
This album is worth checking out if you are a fan of 21 Savage, or if you want to open yourself up to a new musical experience.

August Matthews, Staff Writer

Nov 30, 2018
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August Matthews