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The North Star

The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

21 Savage’s “American Dream” had potential to be his next classic, but basic flows and boring lyrics held it back

21 Savage’s “American Dream” had potential to be his next classic, but basic flows and boring lyrics held it back

After years of waiting, 21 Savage fans were treated to the artist’s third solo project on Jan. 12, 2024. Although it’s been six years, 21 Savage raps like he’s stuck in 2018. 

Coming off of his massive collaboration album with Drake, “Her Loss,21 Savage was ready to secure his place as one of the premier rappers of the era. However, with his latest album, “American Dream,” he fails to capitalize on his recent success. 

21 Savage (Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) has been dominating the trap scene alongside his frequent collaborator, producer Metro Boomin (Leland Taylor) since the pair’s 2016 EP, “Savage Mode.” Since then, 21 Savage has put out multiple hit albums including “Without Warning,” “Issa,” “Savage Mode II” and “I am > I was.” 21 Savage’s early style was very bass-heavy and trap-inspired. Although many of his most recent album’s tracks fit his old style, we see that 21 Savage decided to branch out musically, though it didn’t necessarily work out.

Through the album’s first half, the songs are what most fans expected; 21 Savage rapping over dark, grimy beats with plenty of aggressive verses. However, the execution for many of the tracks, including redrum,” “sneaky,” and “pop ur sh*t,” are severely lacking in creativity, production and good lyrics. Certain lyrical passages from these songs, specifically “pop ur sh*t,” leave plenty of room for improvement. 

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Around halfway through the album, 21 Savage starts to incorporate R&B influences into his songs. Tracks like “prove it,” “should’ve wore a bonnet” and “just like me” all feature prominent R&B artists like Summer Walker, Brent Faiyez and Burna Boy. These artists sound like they are right at home over the smooth R&B instrumentals, yet 21 Savage seems to struggle. His uniquely dark and grimy style does not fit well with the other artists. His writing was boring, uninspired and often felt insincere. That paired with his less-than-stellar singing voice leads to a series of awkward tracks. This is a shame, as many of the songs are very well produced, especially “prove it” and “just like me.” 

The best aspect of “American Dream” was certainly the production. With the exception of “pop ur sh*t” and “sneaky,” the instrumentals were very solid. It’s not a coincidence that Metro Boomin produced our three favorite songs from the album: “née-nah,” “dangerous” and “just like me.” His chemistry with 21 Savage helped bring out the best of each other in three hits. In addition to Boomin’s production, 21 Savage wrote some great verses throughout those songs. The standout track of the album was certainly “née-nah.” 21 Savage, Metro Boomin and the featured Travis Scott all performed well.  

Although we think he should be recognized for his effort in trying to branch out, the lyrical execution in most of “American Dream” was disappointing. He consistently struggled to produce listenable music when he changed his style to more of a lyrical and melodic approach, and he only had a few songs that were worthy of being added to a playlist. 

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About the Contributors
Quinn Miller, Staff Writer
Quinn Miller is a junior at Naperville North and is excited to start his first year with The North Star. He is looking forward to exploring the world of journalism both inside and outside of school. Outside of The North Star, Quinn plays saxophone with Naperville North’s Jazz Ensemble and Hot Brockets.
Zach Aigner, Staff Writer
Zach Aigner is a junior at Naperville North and is excited to begin his first year with The North Star. He is looking forward to exploring journalism through sports at the school and through stories about the area. In addition to The North Star, Zach also plays football for the Naperville North Huskies.  

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