Savages Don’t Like Snitches and Rats

21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s “SAVAGE MODE II” is out now, with special appearances from Morgan Freeman


21 Savage and Metro Boomin throw it back with this cover art, paying tribute to southern rap history.

Frequent collaborators 21 Savage and Metro Boomin are back at it again, releasing SAVAGE MODE II, and delivered as always, proving why they keep collaborating and why they’re near the top of the rap game.

The 15 track album, with rapping dominantly from 21 Savage and features from Drake, Young Thug, and Young Nudy, was mostly produced by Metro Boomin, with the help of the likes of Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Southside, Zaytoven, and more. With interludes from Morgan Freeman, this album is truly a star studded project. Released Oct. 2, this is 21’s ninth and Metro’s seventh LP, and the second in their Savage Mode series.

Debuting atop the US Billboard 200, this is also 21 and Metro’s second album to reach number one on that chart. With singles “Runnin” and “Mr. Right Now (feat. Drake)”, the project garnered 171,000 album-equivalent units and over 200 million streams in the first week, according to Billboard. In mid-October it was still number one on the Billboard 200 and 13 of its 15 tracks in the BIllboard Hot 100, including two in the top ten.

21 Savage is known for his distinct trap-rap sound, with his unmistakable voice and classic adlibs. Metro Boomin, with his fittingly booming trap beats, with heavy base and a dark but upbeat vibe, makes for a perfect combination with 21. Neither artist strays from what brought them success on this project. With a mesmerizing dark, but hype feeling, the record really shows the savage mode inside these two. The album progresses from darker to more upbeat at times, but it never lets the listener get reeled out of the savage feeling that they’re putting on.

The album starts off with “Intro,” a message from Morgan Freeman, over a dark beat with a piano that gives off the feeling of an old vampire movie. Freeman gives a message about great, smart men can be separated from each other, but when they join forces as one, something special can happen, obviously referring to the 21 and Metro collaboration. The second track, “Runnin,” has a hard beat with a soft singing melody in the background, along with Metro’s classic 808’s and 21’s classic voice filters.

21 and Metro show more of their classic moves on “Glock In My Lap,” with 21’s pausing flow, and Metro’s beat progressions and regressions. “Mr. Right Now (feat. Drake)” showcases 21 and Metro’s more pop-rap side, with an up-tempo flow and beat and a typical Drake feature. “Rich N**** S*** (feat. Young Thug)” slows it back down, as 21 and Young Thug go into more of an R&B vibe with a very raw beat from Metro.

Going back to just 21 and Metro, “Slidin” is overall a mediocre song performance from both guys, with a slightly hollow beat, average flow, and average progression as the song goes on. But, they recover with “Many Men,” a dark, bass heavy beat with 21 speeding and switching it up all song long, while putting on a great vocal performance towards the end when the beat starts to hollow out.

The sneak peak trailer for this album, “Snitches & Rats (Interlude)” consists of more words from Morgan Freeman, where he explains the difference between snitches and rats, with the now iconic line “The difference is, at least a snitch is a human, but a rat, is a f*****’ rat, period.” This is followed by “Snitches & Rats (feat. Young Nudy)” where 21 and Young Nudy voice their opinions on snitches and rats over a clanging beat.

21 showcases how he can switch up the flow both ways on “My Dawg,” starting with a quick flow under a raw beat, and as the beat progresses, slows down into a darker theme. 21 takes his shot at pleasing the old hip-hop fans with “Steppin On N****s” with an old school, story telling flow under an old school, bouncy beat, and even some record scratching. Keeping the throwback theme going, 21 raps very verbally over a beat with a 2000’s feeling on “Brand New Draco,” creating a track that sounds more like a 2010 Kanye West track than a 2020 trap-rap song.

Sticking with the Kanye West theme, 21 raps over another Metro throwback soundalike on “No Opp Left Behind.” With a more relaxed vibe, 21 kills it with a flow that is fast and aggressive, yet soft and dark. “RIP Luv” takes it more back closer to 2020, with a lo-fi beat and a slow, melodic-rapping vocal performance with some hard hitting lines. Lastly, to pick the mood up, “Said N Done” comes in with a happy, 1980’s melody sample, with some good trap beat touch ups from Metro and a joyous flow with serious, hopeful lyrics from 21.

This album has received rave reviews from fans and critics, and I am one of those people. This album showcases what 21 and Metro are capable of when working together, and the content and the variation that they put out on this LP while working with each other with little support from outside sources is astonishing. Although some of its hooks, vocals, and beats aren’t their best work, and the album doesn’t have many features or uptempo tracks, most of its features, vocals, and beats are strong and maintain well the theme of the project. 

The interludes of Morgan Freeman at the end of many of the songs also added to the theme and education of the record. Overall, there’s something for all rap/hip-hop/R&B/trap fans on SAVAGE MODE II, and even if you’re not any of those, this is a great listen.