Why “Issa Album” is the perfect follow-up to “Savage Mode”

My thoughts on 21 Savage’s debut album.

When 21 Savage began the rollout for his new album “Issa Album” a few months ago, I was disappointed.

The vengeance-seeking villain I had grown to love seemed to be completely re-branding himself as an offspring of his viral ‘issa knife’ meme based on the album title, his WeBuyGold comedy show and the projects’ cartoon cover art (deviating from the bloody dagger that covered his previous full-length). Much like the rest of the world, I was under the impression that brutal trap music was 21’s forte and was preparing myself for disappointment as his debut hit streaming services on the evening of Thursday, July 6th.

After sorting through the project a handful of times, my feelings can be described using a lyric from the albums’ eighth track Nothin New as Young Savage opens the cut saying, “They thought I only rapped about murder and pistols // I’m tryna feed my family, I ain’t being political.” This seemingly simple bar sums up the entire project in just a few sentences, as the Atlanta-born rapper is out to prove himself as more than the intimidating street figure we’ve grown to know and love.

Kicking off the 14-track effort with a calm flute-driven instrumental on Famous, the Slaughter Gang affiliate shoves his developed sound into your face and makes you re-consider any second thoughts about his new direction. Bringing a melodic twist to tracks like FaceTime, 21 continues to unleash talent sets that were previously undermined by trap music that would’ve made it nearly impossible for the budding superstar to transition into one of hip-hop’s most iconic names – a feat that he just might’ve accomplished with the entirety of “Issa Album.”

Stream 21 Savage’s debut album below and prepare to be bumpin’ it all summer long.