Skip to content Skip to footer

5 things we learned about Drake and 21 Savage on their album ‘Her Loss’

On November 4th, Drake and 21 Savage dropped their first full-length collaborative project: “Her Loss.”

Despite very little promotion mainly nestled within their semi-flippant, mock “press” campaign, “Her Loss” has made a pleasantly unexpected splash on today’s Hip-Hop’s landscape. 

With fans in a chokehold off of the more polemical parcels, this shouldn’t negate the alchemy of “Her Loss”.

From the eclectic, tasteful sonics to the ever-witty bars and flows of both rappers, their respective idiosyncrasies shine bright to culminate in such a salient, yet controversial body of work. 

Whenever two major forces come together, there is quite a bit of nuance that can be retrieved from their work.

With this, let us divulge a few takeaways from one of the best collaborations this year: “Her Loss.” 

Their synergy is unmatched 

Based on the chemistry on ‘Jimmy Cooks’ and previous collaborations, Drake and 21 Savage stress that they’re the best duo.

Bouncing off each other’s energy with relative ease, the duo equally express an open zeal for braggadocious rhymes about the lavish fruits of their labor and whatever else they currently feel inclined to get off their chest. 

Whether it’s Drake on the hook and Savage on the bars or vice versa. They both manage to execute on either side of the token.

Drake wants all the smoke once again

As avid fans and pop culture drama lovers may attest, Drake isn’t a stranger to acrimony whatsoever.

Some of his most notable face-offs include his proverbial “beefs” with Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar and Pusha T. Though most of which have dissolved and have since reconciled. 

Seemingly indifferent to his past wounds, Drake evidently has a few bones to pick once again in Her Loss.

There’s a comprehensive laundry list of folx he takes shots at all across the project: Megan Thee Stallion, Soulja Boy, Ice Spice, Ye, Pusha T, Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian. 

As subtle and passive aggressive as they are, these sheisty easter eggs were meant to be discovered. At this point in this his career,  Drake either feels impervious to backlash or simply doesn’t give a f**k. 

Who needs publicity when you can do your own stunts

Leave it to Drake and 21 Savage to defy all the standard conventions of content promotion. In what feels like an unprecedented marketing move, they created their own satirical media rollout. 

Some of their most notable hijinks include indulging in a mock rendition of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, emulating SNL’s ‘musical guest’ segment, cultivating a fraudulent “GQ” segment and reimagining their own Vogue cover, the latter of which they’ve been recently sued for. 

At the moment, the impetus behind this bold move is unclear but it does illuminate their indifference to the powers and influence of the media.

In conjunction with all the shots fired on this project, this decision too was designed to turn a few heads and I’m quite certain that was achieved. 

Texas is really the s**t

Ever since his “So Far Gone,” YMCMB days, Drake has been madly obsessed with the beloved region of Houston, TX.

In fact, his infatuation runs so deep that he even made an emotionally charged track about it back in the day: “Houstatlantavegas.”

On this record, his unbridled love for H-town and Texas as a whole is still very much palpable and he makes it fully apparent. 

Even the album artwork is thoroughly steeped in contemporary Houston culture as it underscores the identity of popular native Qui Yasuka, more popularly known as, Suki Baby.

Fellow Houston native, and photographer Paris Aden, shot the talented nail stylist and professional adult dancer.

The rationale behind why they chose her is still unclear but this wouldn’t be the first time Drake has been ambiguous with his album artwork.

On myriad occasions throughout this project, both Drake and 21 pay great homage to the lone star state. 

Redemption was on the brain 

Contrary to what one would expect, Drake hasn’t been the hottest in terms of reception regarding some of his most previous works. 

According to Pitchfork, he received a measly rating of 6.6 and his sixth studio album: Certified Lover Boy. This dropped in 2021, with its pertinence quickly fleeing the scene.

Given how sublime his discography is, it would only make sense that he would attempt to reach the mountaintop again. 

With the release of “Her Loss,” we can say that Drake has reached his apex once again. 

5 rap photographers who are always ready to shoot

Rap photography of our favorite legends gives us some of the most iconic images we have ever seen in pop culture.

It just so happens that when we think of rap photography, we think of the rappers being captured. But little do many people know, that rappers themselves like to take their own flics from time to time.

Look no further than A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator, Pharrell Williams, Frank Ocean, and 21 Savage to see rappers going in with a camera in hand.

Here is a look at these rap legends who have dabbled in photography.

A$AP Rocky looks just as good behind the lens as he does in front of it

As photogenic as Rocky appears, he is not hesitant to try new things either. This is sonically evident via his “TESTING” experiment as well as his creative endeavors (namely, the camera rotation transition that he unleashed during his A$AP Forever video).

It is so important to branch out of your comfort zone to truly tap into your inner being. A$AP has slightly distanced himself from his crew, in a sense, to explore more creative lanes and collaborations. The rapper taking an escapade into the world of photography is a prime example of that.

rap legends photography
A$AP Rocky photographed by Dimitrios Kambouris while attending the Calvin Klein Collection during New York Fashion Week in New York City, NY – February 10, 2017 (Cred: @strappedarchives)

Tyler the Creator has excelled as a photographer in the rap music sphere

One who embraces the hate and lowkey admires insults, Tyler has never cared about what people think of him. With a radical entrance into the industry (Yonkers video) and a ‘backpack rap’ type vibe, he shifts the landscape with his work.

Unafraid to dive into new mediums, Tyler actually shot his own Rolling Stone cover with Kanye at the forefront. Talk about a rapper doing his thing in the photography world.

Say what you want about this man, but there is never a dull moment with him. 

rap legends photography
Tyler in his element. (Credit: Dazed Digital)
rap photographers
*FAUX ROLLING STONE COVER* (Credit: Tyler the Creator)

Pharrell Williams is also a photographer? What doesn’t the rap legend do?

Skateboard P is quite possibly the greatest producer of our generation. Extremely humble and reverent, Pharrell is just as versatile.

You know what they say, “When it comes to streams of income, ONE is much too close to NONE.”

Pharrell’s music output (rapping, singing, producing), BBC Ice Cream Brand, positivity campaigns, and skin-care endeavors truly make a difference in communities worldwide.

By understanding the magnitude of his opportunities, Pharrell never relinquishes an opportunity to be great. That also goes for photography for the rapper and his warm embrace of outside cultures at an early outset. 

Pharrell is an absolute rap legend, and if he wants to be one in photography too, we are not betting against him.

rap photography
Pharrell Williams photographed by Sylvain Gaboury during the screening of “City Of God” at Soho House in New York City, NY – November 11, 2003 (Cred: @strappedarchives)

Frank Ocean the legend continues to surprise us

Frank the finesser moves so quietly and with so much pizazz it is nuts. He is an example of rap meeting photography and sparks immediately flying.

Dropping a double album to satisfy his contract requirements, while raking in a bag from Apple Music right when Apple Music started to get poppin’ is truly a masterpiece in and of itself.

Notably, Frank was seen at the 2019 Met Gala snapping flicks on a classic Contax T3. Without a doubt, the rap and lyrical genius carries complexities like photography skill that separate him from others and that is why he is a generational talent.

21 Savage is a rap photographer that you would not imagine

A near-death experience will certainly make one shift their trajectory.

This is exactly what 21 Savage did and he has made it more and more difficult to get near him ever since his foray into the hip-hop industry.

Just recently, the price of a Savage feature verse reached six figures, and the rapper is unafraid to dabble in video games, cartoons, photography and/or embody the villainous role. 

rap photographers
21 Savage Schemin with a Disposable Camera (Credit: Unknown)

“Young Savage why you snappin’ so hard?! Why ya picture captions so hard? Why you got like 4 SD Cards? Sheesh, is that DSLR?!” 

*Read to the beat of 21 Savage song – No Heart*

These rap photographers are always ready to shoot

Photography depends upon so many pivotal factors. A picture speaks one thousand words and the time spent to capture it happens within seconds.

With that, there is so much more than just seconds that are put into becoming a great photographer. The key aspects revolve around lighting, setting, details, and comfortability between the one taking the flick and the photogenic one.

These photographers, while headlining as rap stars in their daily pursuits, sure know how to snap a fire picture. And for all of them, their endeavors outside of music are perhaps just as impressive as their highlights on stage.

Wheezy vs. Metro: Which young producer has more heat in the chamber?

“Wheezy outta here” and “If young Metro don’t trust you I’m gon’ shoot you”

Both Wheezy and Metro Boomin are at the top of the game right now. They are both are in their mid-20’s and changing the audience’s approach to music. And both frequently collaborate with some of the hottest rappers in the game.

When this era of rap is discussed in the history books, it will be impossible to leave these two producers out.

Wheezy, born Wesley Tyler Glass, has been on fire recently.

A frequent collaborator with Young Thug, Wheezy puts out some of the hottest beats for the most unique and talented artist out right now. Wheezy and Thugger have been working together since 2014.

Through “Pull Up On A Kid,” “King Troup,” “Guwop,” “Family Don’t Matter,” and most recently “Just How It Is” and “Hot,” this is a pairing similar to that of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James.

Wheezy and Thugger work perfectly together because of the eccentrically-melodic beats Wheezy creates that allow Thug to mix singing and rapping. We see this with the colorful and delicate beat in “Guwop” and the lovely country sound in “Family Don’t Matter.”

When it comes to versatility too, Wheezy owns that sh*t. He recently produced two tracks on Bon Iver’s recent release, i,i.


View this post on Instagram


🔥🔥🔥 Damn…. i really made the @boniver album 😳 I don’t know what to say 😟 I just know we outta here thanks @bobbyraps & JUSTIN VERNON programmed #iMi & #We

A post shared by WHEEZYOutOFHERE️™️ (@wheezyx5) on

Wheezy has also collaborated with Future, Migos, Lil Baby, and Gunna; Gunna is certainly a protege of Young Thug. He has such a calm, delightful voice that works perfectly for the hooks of songs. His smooth words help elevate his smart lyrics and we see this present on “Hot,” in which Gunna features on Thug’s new album, So Much Fun.

Wheezy’s producer tag has become famous and you know when you hear it the track is going to slap. No two of his beats sound the same, and he knows how to tailor a song to an individual artist. With more and more experience under his belt, Wheezy’s craft is sure to only improve.

Metro Boomin has been very quiet in 2019.

Metro is the hot producer of this decade, producing hit after hit. When you heard ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” that was Metro. Future and Drake’s “Jumpman,” that was Metro.

And that wasn’t only the early success of the man born Leland Tyler Wayne. Metro has produced Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” “Bank Account” by 21 Savage, and “Congratulations” by Post Malone. We have a lot to thank this brilliant artist for.

He is a producer that has released his own collaborations. In November 2018, Metro released his debut solo album Not All Heroes Wear Capes, and it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

More than just fans appreciating Metro, other producers and artists in the industry owe a lot to him. His style and beats have provided a platform and opportunity for young producers to create music in this same avenues.

When you hear “If young Metro don’t trust you I’m gon’ shoot you,” “Metro Boomin want some more n****” and “Metro be boomin,” you have an assurance the producer put his all into the track. It’s difficult not to feel some type of way when you hear that line. And he has many more tags, relative to each song and artist.

So where is Metro right now? Is he behind the scenes killing his newest, biggest project yet? His Instagram has been swiped clean. Is he just basking in the delight of all the success he has already achieved?

If he is taking a brief hiatus, we should still expect something hot from Metro soon. He is only 25 after all and seems to really enjoy collaborating with some of the top hip hop artists in the world. Including producer, Wheezy.

Wheezy and Metro both frequently collaborate with Atlanta-based rappers. This could be a result of the fact that the hottest artists have come out of there, but it is still an undeniable link between the two-star producers.

Wheezy has been taking over, and Metro has enough on his resume to take a break. Because they both came in hot for this half-decade, are around the same age and work with similar artists, they will be linked to their entire careers.

Whoever fans prefer is based on preference. And for the fans that love them both, we can sit back, listen and appreciate.

Peep our Wheezy vs. Metro Boomin playlist below

3 reasons why Young Nudy and Pi’erre’s ‘Sli’merre’ is the hardest sh*t out

Nowadays keeping up with music is an impossible task.

The ease it takes to produce, record, and distribute your own sound, coupled with the fact that rap has become the most recognized genre in the world, has caused a proliferation of rappers in the hip-hop which has in turn given us more options that we can pick from.

Dreamville’s Ari Lennox just dropped today, Logic and Eminem released a single that got traction last week, and that’s not mentioning YG’s single “Go Loko,” PnB Rock’s new album TrapStar Turnt PopStar or the snippet to the first glimpse of Tyler Creator’s new album, Igor. 

Having too much music to pick from is definitely a gift and a curse.

However, out of all the new music that has just been released, there’s one project that is a must-listen. One project that is a cant-miss and would be a crime if you didn’t run through at least once: Young Nudy and Pi’erre’s conjoined project, Sli’merre

Released today, the 12-track album is Nudy’s most recent offering following his mixtape, Faded In The Boothearlier this year and the latest in a string of tapes he’s been putting out since 2015.

The 26-year-old Atlanta-native who is actual blood cousins with 21 Savage might not hold as much weight as the aforementioned artists but don’t be fooled, Nudy more than belongs.

Sli’merre is executively produced by arguably the best at making beats currently in Pi’erre Bourne, he has the hottest rappers in the game right now featured on the project, and he was just the target of the sting operation that led to his cousin 21 Savage being apprehended by ICE during the Super Bowl.

No offense to any other artists that released music today or this week, but Nudy is cooking up something serious right now and Sli’merre might be his best dish yet — and it definitely starts with the production.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Yo Pi’erre // PB (@pierrebourne) on

I’m not sure if people truly understand just how special Pi’erre Bourne is. There is not a producer making beats as unique or has quite set themselves apart like he has.

While first making a name for himself on Playboy Carti’s “Magnolia”, Pi’erre set himself apart on Carti’s 2018’s Die Lit, bringing forth an array of sounds and time signatures that made it feel like Pi’erre himself was on the track.

Pi’erre beats have an animation about them that’ll bring the bounce out of you and allows artists with less wordy flows — like Nudy and Playboi Carti — the space to maneuver in and out of the pocket with their breathy bars and ad-libs.

It’s become a partnership that’s built a chemistry that’s a joy to hear.


Celebrating violence, drugs, and violence is never the aim when it comes to artists like Young Nudy. The misconception is that they’re rapping about these things — in Nudy’s case, robbing and killing — because they’re actual snapshots from their lives.

Not even getting into Nudy’s gifted ability to float on any track in any way he pleases, is his ability to bring you into his life.

On the second track, “Mister,” which features 21 Savage, he effortlessly gives you a first-hand account of what a day in his shoes is like.

All my life, I’ve been a hustler (yeah)
Dopeboy, cap peeler, street young nigga
Get that money, fuck these hoes
All I know is freaks up
Stack that money, blue hunnid
Ten thousand daily


You never want your features to make your album for you, which it didn’t in Nudy’s case, but you do want to have a good mix that will both draw attention and make most collaborative sense. Nudy and Pi’erre did that to the letter with Sli’merre.

Nudy was able to enlist the likes od DaBaby, Meg The Stallion and Lil Uzi Vert just to name a few, and they all fit seamlessly into the project.

Sli’merre is the most must-listen project out by a landslide. Do yourself a favor and give it a spin.

How 50 Cent exposed a crooked NYPD officer out to kill him

Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson has been shot nine times and, according to the Power producer, is in fear of being shot again after an NYPD commander reportedly threatened the rapper by telling members of his force to “shoot him on sight.”

Tuesday (February 19) 50 put up an Instagram post of a New York Daily News article about the commander’s threat with the caption,

“I’m afraid for my life, I haven’t been able to sleep since I heard of this. The cops never notified me of the threat. I’m closing all my business in New York. I may have to sue the city.”

The commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez, allegedly made the threat last June 7, when the “Many Men” rapper was expected to attend an NYPD sanctioned boxing match in the Bronx.

Sources tell New York Daily News that the comments were heard during a roll call inside the 72nd Precinct stationhouse where Gonzalez told his officers if they saw 50 Cent at the boxing match, known as a smoker, they should “shoot him on sight.”

Gonzalez reportedly tried to pass the comments off as a “joke,” but that doesn’t hold weight when the killing of unarmed Black lives to police is still an epidemic.

“Mayor de Blasio we have a system in place that doesn’t work without good people. This piece a shit Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez has to be dealt with. He is an embarrassment to Law Enforcement’s.”

Gonzalez, who has been with the unit for almost 30 years, made the statement one month after filing an aggravated harassment complaint against 50 Cent after the rapper left his infamous “get the strap” comment on a lawsuit first reported in the Daily News accusing Gonzalez of shaking down the owner of the Sunset Park club Love and Lust. So who can know for sure if the commander was joking or not?

A rep for 50 Cent said the Grammy winner had just heard about Gonzalez’s “shoot on sight” comment. The rep said,

“Mr. Jackson takes this threat very seriously and is consulting with his legal counsel regarding his options going forward. He is concerned that he was not previously advised of this threat by the NYPD and even more concerned that Gonzalez continues to carry a badge and a gun.”

This is incredibly unfortunate — even for 50 — but more importantly, it’s continues what seems to be a strange pattern happened in hip-hop ever since Tekashi 69 was arrested on RICCO charges last year.

As many pointed out on Twitter, there’s been over 10 plus arrest in 2019, including five Atlanta artists in nine days.

While there are cases like Tekashi’s and YNW Melly’s (if he’s found guilty) that you don’t have remorse for, there are other’s like 21 Savage’s situation with ICE and now 50’s that make you raise your eyebrows.

Knowing 50 he’s coming back harder than ever and will zero chill; he might even get a bag after this entire ordeal.

No matter how big a troll 50 may be, armed officers who are under oath to protect and serve should no joke about abusing their power on civilians, and after their recent track record with rappers, don’t look any better after last weekend.

Gonzalez remains on active duty, officials said.

Is Hov the Godfather of rap? How Jay-Z is blessing 21 Savage in ICE case

When I think of what a ‘Godfather’ is or what their functions may be, I can’t help but remember the 1972 crime drama starring Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro. And although most families aren’t crime organizations, the concept of the role is the same: an OG or overseer to ensure all things are well.

Now, with reports that Jay-Z has hired legal help to assist 21 in his impending case with ICE officials, I think it’s safe to say that Hov has transitioned into much of the same figure in rap.

News broke that the 21 was here illegally on an expired Visa on Super Bowl Sunday and by that following Wednesday, Hov had his team in place to help. Jay wrote on Facebook,

The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years. In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately, #Free21Savage.”

Additionally, Alex Spiro, The attorney Jay Z hired, told Variety they weren’t going to stop until the I Am > I Was rapper is released, bonded out, or put in front of a judge.

“What we have here is someone who overstayed their Visa with an application pending for 4 years—not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father, and entertainer who has a marijuana offense which was vacated and sealed,” Spiro said.

21 Savage’s team also released a statement yesterday confirming that rumors of him actually being born in the United Kingdom, except adding that he entered the United States at 7, not 13 as reported,  then left the country and returned again in 2005 only to have his visa expire in 2006.

“We are unaware of why ICE apparently targeted Mr. Abraham-Joseph, but we will do everything possible to legally seek his release and pursue his available relief in immigration court,” the statement reads.

While the 21 Savage case may be far from over, I can’t help but notice Jay-Z’s interference and eagerness to play big brother as a trend. He’s really become an elder statesman of the hip-hop industry.

Just last year we saw how instrumental Jay was in aiding Meek Mill when he was incarcerated after a petty dirt bike charge which violated a decade long probation Meek’s had since a teenager.

In response, Jay-Z wrote a passionate op-ed for The New York Times about Mill’s unjust imprisonment and, according to the Philly rapper, spent millions of dollars helping him get free. In an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club last year, Meek explained how it helped saying,

“JAY-Z is actually responsible for some of my legal fees, which I thought was the dopest in the world because it was some millions of dollars. I don’t even think I could have afforded it,” Mill admitted, though he said he was still able to take care of his family while he was locked up.

Although Meek is signed to Jay-Z’s artist management company, Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s extended support, much like with 21, sets a precedent and is unheard of in rap.

Jay has long preached financial responsibility and buying black and investing back into your hood, but the way he’s taking a lead on social issues and matters that affect the rest of rap is setting a tone for generations to come.

Jay-Z, Meek Mill. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other successful businessmen have joined together to establish a criminal justice organization called The Reform Alliance to lobby for changes to state probation and parole laws — just another way Jay-Z is showing how to use your platform.

21 has three children who are US citizens and although his paperwork is indeed wrong, they expired when he was a child, thus making it “no fault of his own,” according to his lawyers.

Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation says a person charged with “visa overstay” should be allowed to be free while they fight their case. One can only hope they’re victorious in this matter.

It’s hard to imagine, with all the timeless music Jigga has made, that outside the booth he has surpassed what he’s done musically. If he can spark other rappers to use their platform as he has done, there might be a good case.

FREE 21!

21 Savage getting deported by ICE isn’t a joke but dammit it’s funny

21 Savage is a British immigrant currently detained by ICE and is in danger of being deported back to the UK… I’m sorry but that’s funny to me.

If you’re familiar with 21 Savage — from his Grammy nom’s to the “Issa Knife” movement, the gripping Breakfast Club interview where he shared bone-chilling testimonials that left the room breathless, to the “on god” ad-libs and all that encompasses the “Zone 6 rapper from Atlanta” — its comedy that writes itself.

The news was reported Super Bowl Sunday and has had the internet in a fury.

The knee-jerk response to hearing that a gangster rapper from the streets of Atlanta is actually a bruv from the UK is bonkers. It’d be dishonest to think at least one person wouldn’t find that amusing, or that they’d be wrong in doing so.

Back in 2017, after spending a decade away from the spotlight, Grammy award-winning stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle returned with two Netflix specials, The Bird Revelation and Equanimity — both received critical acclaim.

In The Bird Revelation, he speaks on his style of comedy which tends to flirt if not dance on the line what’s ‘PC’ and how it contrasts to the hyper-reactive society when now live in. In his explanation, Dave says something incredibly applicable to what has transpired with 21 Savage and the jokes that have come in the aftermath of this blindsiding news:

“Sometimes the funniest thing to say is mean. “You know what I mean? Tough position to be in. So I say a lot of mean things, but you guys gotta remember: I’m not saying it to be mean. I’m saying it because it’s funny. And everything’s funny ’till it happens to you.”

And he’s right. When it’s not you, it’s easy to disregard how hard it is for someone else.

Don’t get me wrong, once you process what fully transpiring with 21, with the potential of he being separated from his children and family and how much he could lose in business, it’s far from a laughing matter.

Born Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, 21 has been doing positive work in his community.

He organizes an annual back to school drive in his home town where spent his formative years and last year he hopped on Ellen to launch his 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign, which partnered with non-profit organization Get Schooled and promised 21 teenagers $1,000 each in a scholarship fund to help them take on the challenge of financial literacy.

The timing of all of this is indeed suspect and knowing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s reputation, 21 could be in real danger.

The same policies on the border that’s led to the cruel family separations among asylum seekers, of which they’ve admitted they can’t reunite with their families, is the same ICE that’s after 21 and other longtime residents.

These seemingly arbitrary deportations of undocumented “Dreamers” who crossed the border as children are dehumanizing and have even led to an #AbolishICE campaign.

According to ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox, 21 is a citizen of the United Kingdom and entered the US legally in July 2005 when he was a minor. He’s since failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa meaning he became unlawfully present when his visa expired in July 2006. ICE said in a statement,

“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts. ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”

The only reason 21 was founded out was because he was with his cousin and East Atlanta rapper Young Nudy, who was apprehended yesterday as part of “an operation targeting him and two other men. According to CBS News, 21 was in the car with Thomas and the two other men, which led to his arrest by ICE.

How can you expect an individual, in that split moment, to process all of that before making an assessment that it’s actually a real-life crisis?

Even as the story’s developed and new reports, like the confirmation of his birth certificate being from the UK, comes out, it still has a tinge of comedy about the whole thing. It’s truly remarkable.

21 Savage Birth Certificate

What’s going on with 21 Savage has never been seen before on hip-hop. It’s a true intersection of politics and music as this issue 21 is facing is that what many are facing across the county.

An attorney for 21 told CNN they were working to secure his release. Dina LaPolt said in a statement to CNN,

“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”

Look, it’s alright if you laughed at the 21 Savage news. But that doesn’t mean it’s a joke.

The growth of 21 Savage: Why his new album gives hip-hop hope

21 Savage’s second studio album, I Am > I Was finally arrived this past weekend (Dec 21st) and is already stirring conversation.

Words like “growth,” “surprising,” and “tender” are being used to describe 21’s sophomore project and some are already considering it as an album of the year candidate despite only being out for a week.

First week sales aren’t in but, already, responses have been overwhelmingly positive, especially to his artistry and skill-set, which is surprising given he was deemed a “mumble rapper” upon first hitting the scene.  In fact, it’s safe to say he was known for the meme than he was for actually rapping at one point!

Still, praise is nothing new to 21 Savage.

Ever since the uncle of his late friend gave him money for studio time he was able to get off the streets, which, in turn, led to early releases like The Slaughter Tape [2015] that turned him into an underground legend in Atlanta.

He was apart of the 2016 XXL Freshman class, got three double platinum-selling songs (“Bank Account,” “X,” and “No Heart”), two gold-certified projects (Issa AlbumSavage Mode) and a chart-topping song (his feature on Post Malone’s “Rockstar,” which went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for eight weeks).

Besides the street legend that proceeds him, he’s incredibly marketable and always manages to remain relevant, and on his own terms; whether by going viral in an interview or by adding his signature sound to a feature.


View this post on Instagram


out for the night part 2 out now !!!!! @coveteur

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

That’s what makes the reception I Am > I Was significant. For an artist to already have the success 21 has, still find ways to continue to grow, means there was a clear leap in development.

He tapped into something deeper when he really didn’t have to and while the project still had its fair share of violence, what you can tell from the moment you listen to the first second of the track one, is that 21 actually had something to say.

And you can tell by who recruited that he meant business.

The 14-track LP has headliner worthy features like Childish Gambino on a song called “Monster” and many others just as comparable, like J. Cole (“a lot”), Schoolboy Q (“good day”), City Girls (“a&t”), Post Malone (“all my friends”), Offset (“1.5”), Young Nudy (“4L”), and Gunna and Lil Baby (“can’t leave without it”).


View this post on Instagram


Out now let’s change the world >

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

“Bank Account” is arguably 21’s biggest solo hit and still a club favorite. The rest of his previous project, Issa Album, is a portrayal of what people love the most about 21 — his traumatic past. I Am > I Was goes way deeper.

The opening track, “a lot” feels like a confessional. The chorus is 21’s unmistakable monotone cutting across a crooning soul-sample asking, “How many times did you cheat?”, “How many times did you lie?”, “How many problems do you got?” and him responding to his own call, “a lot.” He also has a song called “letter to my momma” and “all my friends,” clearly showing 21’s shift in focus to content.

What critics and listeners could possibly be picking up when they hear Savage’s new album is an ongoing change that’s been occurring since leaving his former life that’s now transferring over to this music.


View this post on Instagram


drop a 🗡 if you ready for my new music 😎

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

In a conversation with XXL earlier past year, he spoke on fatherhood and how he’s shooting for being more than just a role model saying,

“Role model, as far as my kids, I try to be more like a superhero than a role model ’cause I don’t want them to go through what I went through like, growing up and stuff. So, I spoil the hell out of my kids. They say you don’t ’posed to, but they come over here, they play video games ’til five in the morning. They do what the hell they want to do.”

Dad’s house is lit. Father to three children — Kamari, 5. Ashaad, 3; and Rhian, 3 — it could be spending time with them that has made this new “tender” 21. After what he’s been through it was only a matter of time before 21 began to evolve.

In an Instagram post earlier this year 21 Savage wrote:

“Keep da money, cars, fame and jewelry, and just give me all the happiness, I’ll be good forever… I been shot, stabbed, lied to, cheated on, hated on, betrayed, held back, left out, counted out, locked up, broke, rich, homeless, and everything else you can think.”


View this post on Instagram


keep da money cars fame and jewelry and jus give me all the happiness i’ll be good forever

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

21’s newfound maturity could be that because he’s been practicing the West African Ifá religion passed down from his Haitian and Dominican family or possibly because he spends most of his time with his kids.

He’s also been working to acquire a pilot’s license (he’s been infatuated with planes since a kid), so who knows where this non-dark side really stems from. Either way, I Am > I Was captures 21’s human side much as it does the Savage side.

The most important revelation from 21’s new album, however, above developing storytelling and penmanship to his arsenal, is proof that artists in today’s generation can still develop and grow. 21’s old stuff was great, but artist development is a skill set that only a few have mastered. It’s what keeps Jay-Z relevant and what we can only hope younger artists want to aspire to achieve.

While you cannot condemn the Lil Yachty’s, Famous Dex’s or Rich the Kid’s of the world, you also want to hold them accountable to grow as well. You don’t want artists to plateau, and 21 has done all but that.

21 has set a precedent that we ought to extend to every SoundCloud or perceived mumble rapper that comes up next. Growth and maturation are possible in hip-hop and 21 Savage is the latest proof.

Stream 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was here:

21 Savage and LeBron apologize for Jewish lyrics: Why they had to

Both 21 Savage and LeBron James issued apologies this past Christmas Eve after becoming the latest victims to political correctness’ righteous claws.

The Atlanta rap star and three-time NBA Champion both came under fire by the Jewish community after Lebron posted lyrics to 21 Savage’s song “ASMR” off his latest album, I Am > I Was.

The track features the line: “We been gettin’ that Jewish money, everything is kosher.”

First came 21 Savage’s apology:

Then came LeBron’s:

“Apologies, for sure if I offended anyone. That’s not why I chose to share that lyric. I always [post lyrics]. That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So, I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously, it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.”

If you’re like LeBron and 21 Savage (and me) and had no clue associating Jewish people to extreme fiscal responsibility was offensive, welcome to the enlightening. In fact, after reading the responses and seeing the outrage after LeBron’s little A&R session, I found out it’s unquestionably antisemitic.

Seeing Jewish people as “cheap” played a key role in Nazi propaganda leading up to the Holocaust when Hitler sought to portray Jews as leeches sucking up the German state’s resources as they implemented their vision for racial purity. Knowing this, sympathizing with any claim disrespect is easy seeing that the Nazi regime went on to kill six million Jews.

I take both LeBron and 21 Savage’s apologies as sincere. I truly believe 21’s intention was to reference Jewish people in a positive manner, not that of Nazi propaganda. And I’m positive LeBron didn’t know any better (the NBA does, too, and won’t take further action after hearing his response). With that being said, how the situation unraveled left me pessimistic about the state of our current social environment.

The level of disdain they received and how quickly word got around let me know just how ready we are to not only cancel someone but to make them the newest example of how serious we, as a society, take morality now.

I’m not saying 21 Savage and Bron deserves a pass, but instead of dropping the hammer of judgment why not give them the benefit of the doubt and approach the situation with a mind to educate, not condemn.

Part of the problem is that some of us are stuck in this “gotcha” era where everyone is obsessed with finding the worse in one another and exposing it to the internet. No one cares to find out the full story, they just want to see someone lose some money or a job.

Such was the case with Kevin Hart. He was forced to step down as host of the upcoming Academy Awards, a self-proclaimed lifelong goal of his, after old homophobic tweets resurfaced and went viral.


View this post on Instagram


I know who I am & so do the people closest to me. #LiveLoveLaugh

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

These were almost decade-long jokes he’s since apologized for, however, with the LGBTQ community putting pressure on the Academy to make Kevin to apologize for it again, which he refused to the second time, things blew up and he was taken out of the show.

Much is the same for the young ace for the Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader, who apologized after old racist tweets of his resurfaced and the white fiancee of a Black NFL player who was forced to go silence after old racist tweets of hers resurfaced moments after his proposal to her went viral online this year. No one is safe and we’re all politically incorrect.

Even Chris Rock is feeling it. After an old clip of him letting other comedic legends say the N-word in his presence went viral this month,  he’s been getting ripped apart online. I wouldn’t be surprised if he issued a statement soon.

To be politically correct today is to be perfect and with every tweet unearthed we inch closer to setting the bar for ourselves.

21 Savage and LeBron apologized because they were wrong which, according to cancel culture, should mean it’s a wrap for them.

Luckily, they were spared, but this puts other rap stars and athletes in jeopardy of losing it all in the future. Let’s be grateful Twitter didn’t exist long ago; not one single “legend” would be acceptable today.

I Am > I Was arrived last Friday and features Childish Gambino, J. Cole, Schoolboy Q, City Girls, Post Malone, and others. Don’t let this one line stop you from enjoying one of the best album releases of the year.

#NoMoreCollabs2018: After mad joint albums in 2017, the trend needs to die

On every possibly level, from indie to major-labels and mixtape to singles, rap has seen it’s most prolific year in collaborative albums.

While brilliant in theory — two rappers coming together is like a crossover episode of your two fav sitcoms or Vegeta and Goku fusing — they almost never pan out well.

The appeal of collab albums is surface level. They’re almost never announced ahead of time, rarely do you see visuals for the projects and you’ll be even luckier if the two artist go on tour and drop merch.

Earlier this year in May, five of the top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 were rap songs for the first time ever, and in September,Vulture found that Spotify and Apple Music users streamed hip-hop and R&B tracks at nearly twice the rate as rock, it’s nearest competitor (It’s safe to say rock music is officially washed).

When you consider the attention span of today’s consumer, their demand for content and how quickly they can attain it, why not keep your brand relevant by pairing with another artist who could mutually benefit?

Hip Hop Rap GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

When the dust settles, out of the 13-plus collaborative projects that have come out this year, it’s hard to say any will have any lasting qualities like Watch The Throne or What A Time To Be Alive. It’s almost as if rappers suddenly saw that they could make the same amount of money using a lot less effort.

Metro Boomin clearly had something figured out.

This past November Forbes reported that the St. Louis native made up for 10 percent of the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of November 11 and debuted on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart on four different occasions throughout the year for his combined efforts with artists like Big Sean, Gucci, Nav, 21 Savage and more.

Future and Young Thug didn’t do too badly either. Their October release, Super Slimey, did 75,000 units in its first week, making its debut at no. 2 on the Billboard 200.

Collab albums do well because the market is set up for them to do well.

Hip-hop and pop-culture is synonymous at this point meaning there are consumers across all kinds of demographics always in need of more content. In result, we’re seeing artists find new ways to get their names on as much streamable music as possible.

If its wasn’t Lil Wayne and T-Pain’s T-Wayne, it’s Chris Brown and Ray J’s Burn My Name or Moneybagg Yo & NBA Youngboy’s Fed Babys. Even Kodak and Plies found time to get together in Florida to drop F.E.M.A.

But not all collaborative albums had that thrown together feel this year.

Styles P & Talib Kweli’s The Seven, Blu & Exile’s In the Beginning: Before the Heavens, and Tee Grizzley & Lil Durk’s Bloodas are just a couple of examples of tapes that have playback value (Fab and Jada’s might’ve had the most classic collab of them all this year). But when everything on the radio is Metro or something inspired by Metro, quality work gets overlooked.

Whether artist are aware of it or not, consumers — aka the fans — are catching on to these quick-satisfying bodies of work. Indeed, they are exciting and we’ll probably get a few club bangers out of them, but by large they were not made to last.

Coming from the era where major labels and executives always had control over features and cross branding, it’s encouraging to see more artistic freedom.

But like those same labels we condemn for commercializing and trying to find quick success, artists who casually release these joint albums, with no true effort, are lying in that same bed of guilt.

As we enter 2017 I’m declaring no more more collab albums. I’m stuffed-full of how much that’s out already — I got leftovers and then some!

Hip-hop has the worlds attention. Let us use it a tad more responsibly going forward.