‘Savage Mode II’ an Eye-Opening Sequel from a Dynamic Duo

Nate Tencza, Guest Reviewer

Batman and Robin. Sonny and Cher. Bert and Ernie.  Some of the greatest duos of all time. Maybe it’s time we introduce Metro Boomin and 21 Savage to this conversation.

With Metro Boomin’s cinematic-like production and 21 Savage’s calculated rap, “Savage Mode II” is a beautiful blend between an unbreakable duo. Accompanied by features from Drake and Young Thug, and narration by Morgan Freeman, “Savage Mode II” raises the bar for rap album sequels.

Throughout this album, 21 Savage uses his lyrics to pay homage to his upbringing. He says, “Mama raised me in the ghetto. I am thankful for that.”

However, 21 does not only rap about the good times. Coming out of the inner city, he feels he has a target on his back. In the song “Many Men,” 21 Savage says, “Many men want to kill me; I feel like 50 (Cent).”

The lyrics hit home for those who have felt the struggle of living in the inner city and the greater struggle of coming back home after you have made it big.

Jake Schweitzer, a sophomore at Trinity who lived much of his early life in Louisville’s inner city, said, “Being from the inner city, I can relate to the lyrics that 21 Savage uses in this album. The struggle is real.”

The lyrics feel methodically chosen to send a message. With every verse, it seems 21 aims to tell the listener something new about his life’s struggles, tribulations, and successes.

Metro Boomin’s delicate production adds another dimension to this work. According to AllMusic, Metro Boomin started making beats when he turned 10 years old and has more than 20 years of experience in the music industry. 

If Savage’s music is a young people thing, then this is stuff they need to be aware of.

— actor and album narrator Morgan Freeman

The “Savage Mode II” production does not hide Metro Boomin’s experience. Every beat feels important, and transitions between songs are seamless.

The connection between the songs “Intro” and “Runnin” begins a wave of perfect transitions that make the album feel like a movie instead of a collection of tracks. Many beatmakers care more about quantity than quality. However, Metro Boomin’s quality-over-everything approach pans out.

Aidan Ecken, a senior at Trinity, says, “Metro Boomin’s production works well with the lyrics of 21 Savage to make this a complete album.”

“Savage Mode II” is more than 15 well-produced songs put together to create an album. Led by Freeman, this album tells a story. If you did not know any better, you would think “Stitches and Rats” is the ending narration of “Shawshank Redemption.”

When asked by Complex, an all-things music company, why he chose to narrate this sequel, Freeman answered, “I read the script and thought, ‘Wow, there’s some wisdom in here.’ I think this is the way I think. It’s basically saying don’t suffer fools, and when you want something, go for that. If Savage’s music is a young people thing, then this is stuff they need to be aware of.”

Freeman’s iconic voice adds a sense of reality to this album. A listener tends to only hear the sounds in rap, but through his narration, listeners grasp the message that 21 Savage and Metro Boomin aim to get across.

One small criticism: Like many sequels, it seems like we’ve heard some of this before. Not that they should, but 21 Savage and Metro Boomin make it a point to never alter their styles.

It says from the beginning lyrics, “From a booming metropolis (St. Louis) to a savage land (Atlanta), two men come together to form one.” By forming one, the style of this album feels like the others produced by these two men (“Not All Heroes Wear Capes” and “Savage Mode”).

This, however, does not mean that their style lacks creativity. 21 Savage and Metro Boomin have a story to tell and use their unique approach to tell that story.

Trinity senior Ian Kennedy, an avid music listener, says, “Savage Mode II” is an instant classic.” It is hard to find a weakness in this claim.

21 Savage controls the mic and Metro Boomin maintains the flow from behind the scenes. Freeman only adds to the story of this album and helps the listener understand the message.

Many times, when an album uses celebrity cameos to provide hype, it falls short in delivering what could be accomplished.  “Savage Mode II,” however, gives an eye-opening experience for anyone lucky enough to hear it from beginning to end.