I Am > I Was - 21Savage

6/10

Personally, I was very excited for and was strongly anticipating a new 21 Savage record. Due to his recent features and his input in Metro Boomin’s new record all being outstanding, I couldn’t wait for a new full length project from 21 21 21 21. I was expecting this album to be outstanding or at least a solid group of songs. He truly hasn’t had a bad feature in a good amount of time and has been on a streak of great work. This latest full length project from 21 titled “i am > I was” is frankly a little disappointing. This album has a clear direction and a clear concept. 21 Savage seems to be aiming for a full length album about self reflection and self growth with this project. That was made very clear when the title was released. For a trap artist who had gang affiliation to write a record about self reflection and self growth was an amazing and exciting concept for me. I thought this album had so much potential especially due to the the state his life is in currently with him being a father and it did have that potential. Unfortunately after giving this album a few listens I am slightly disappointed. My main problem with this album is how unfocused and all over the place it is. The concept laid out is truly only present in a few songs off the record. Why that bothers me so much is the fact that all those songs where the topic presented by the album is present are the best tracks and the highest points off this project BY FAR. Songs like “a lot” with J. Cole where he talks about all his doubters and everything he had to go through to get to the top, and “ball w/o you” where he discusses growing as a person a thriving despite the end of a relationship. These and a few others off this record are truly such great, focused, and well written, tracks with a clear direction. The problem is for every one of those tracks he throws in an annoying beat with non appealing bars like “a&t” or “pad lock”. Pitchfork and other media outlets are calling this album “superbly focused” and I couldn’t disagree more. In fact I think if you knocked a few songs off of the track list and replaced some, this album could be called “superbly focused” but when you rap about your struggle for success in one song and only a few songs later you talk about your love for Ass and titties, focused is the last thing your album is. With this record I find 21 in this strange limbo area. I feel as if he’s sometimes scared to tread into more meaningful trap music with more focused lyrics opposed to comical bars with little to no meaning on every damn track. Now I’m not opposed to comical trap bars because that’s what trap traditionally is. It’s generally not a very deep genre of music and that’s completely fine. My problem is you have to chose one and if you aren’t going to chose one you need to be able to flow cohesively between moods, and on this record 21 simply don’t flow between the two topics at all. With half the tracks off this album being average at best, Mr. Savage slightly missed the mark for me on this one that I think could of truly been great.

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