With his debut studio album, Issa, peaking at No. 2 on the charts, 21 Savage has been moving full steam ahead. Staying aligned with this winning streak, the Atlanta native recently sat down with Rolling Stone to dish on everything from "mumble rap" to his highly publicized relationship with Amber Rose and being a Black man in America.
While 21's road to riches was once paved with grave intentions (on his 21st birthday, he was nearly killed in a shooting), the rapper's seemingly overnight success has afforded him many luxuries. But not without having to face the harsh reality of racism in this country. "I don't think people really understand how hard it is to be Black,” 21 told the music publication.
“Especially when you coming from nothing. In the hood, there's already a lot of hate just amongst us Black people. We killin' each other and everybody else killin' us too. We poor. And the world hates us.”
21's cultural awareness is echoed throughout Issa, as he departs from his earlier works and makes an effort to diversify the topics that he raps about. The 14-track project consists of more socially conscious songs than the rapper has ever revealed before. “Nothing New” in particular addresses racism and police brutality in the most biting way. “They used to hang us up with ropes/Civil rights came, so they flood the hood with coke,” he raps on the track. 21 also makes a note of mentioning Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Salute.
However, the 24-year-old feels his critics are hesitant to laud him for his newfound sense of consciousness. "People always say I don't ever talk about that type of s**t," he explained. "Then when I talk about that type of s**t, they do everything in their power to not talk about that song. They don't give me the credit. F**k 'em."
In spite of this, 21 understands the power of his voice and how it resonates with his fans. "They feel like I'm telling the truth — 'cause I'm telling the truth,” he added. “That's why a lot of people gravitate towards me: I'm a real n***a in a fake-ass industry."
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