Top 10 21 Savage Songs

In 2015, 21 Savage hit the underground scene in Atlanta with two mixtapes. A year later, he gained even more attention with his 2016 collaborative EP, Savage Mode, and singles “X,” featuring Future, and “No Heart” with regular collaborator Metro Boomin.

Videos by American Songwriter

A year after being featured on Drake‘s 2016 single, “Sneakin,'” the London-born, Atlanta-raised rapper released his debut, Issa Album, in 2017, along with another collaborative release, Without Warning, with Metro Boomin and Offset. That same year, Savage earned his first No. 1 for his feature on Post Malone‘s 2017 hit, “Rockstar,” which he also co-wrote.

Savage’s second album, I Am > I Was, in 2018, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.

Throughout the years, the rapper has continued releasing consecutive collaborative albums, including a continuation of his debut EP with Metro Boomin in 2020, Savage Mode II, and another 2022 album with Drake, Her Loss.

Credited by his real name Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, or Shayaa Abraham-Joseph, Savage has co-written every song on his two albums and tracks released prior, along with collaborations

Looking at Savage’s work spanning close to a decade, here’s a chronological look at 10 of his best songs.

1. “Lord Forgive” (2015)
Written by 21 Savage and Bryant Miller

Following his first mixtape, The Slaughter Tape, by the second, Slaughter King, Savage is asking for forgiveness for some of the things he once had to do for money on the slow-pulsing opening track “Lord Forgive.”

2. “No Heart” (2016)
Written by 21 Savage, Leland Wayne (Metro Boomin), Tim Gomringer, Joshua Luellen, and Kevin Gomringer

Off his first collaborative EP with Metro Boomin, Savage Mode, the rapper talks about how his rough childhood made him ruthless on the streets. The song hit No. 12 on the Hot Rap Songs chart, and in the video, Savage recreates the grim liquor store robbery scene from the 1993 film Menace II Society.

3. “Savage Mode” (2016)
Written by 21 Savage, Metro Boomin

Through dense trap beats, Savage talks about all the backstabbing, poverty, gang violence, and drugs that made him brutal on the Savage Mode title track. Produced and co-written by Boomin, “Savage Mode” also brags about all the women, money, and cars he has now.

4. “Bank Account” (2017)
Written by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin

The lead single on 21 Savage’s debut, Issa Album, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, “Bank Account” was co-written and co-produced with collaborator Metro Boomin. The song peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and traces through the downside of having more money in the bank.

5. “Dead People” (2017)
Written by 21 Savage and Joshua Luellen

I be hanging with the dead people / I done fell in love with dead people raps Savage on the more slow and somber Issa Album track. Talking about his attraction to wealth through the double entendre of hanging out with dead people (i.e. all the faces on the U.S. currency).

“The song is about having money,” said Savage. “I’m not hanging out with dead people.” He added, “The richest people I’ve ever met didn’t have jewelry, so I ain’t wearing no jewelry, because I want to be rich.”

6. “A Lot,” featuring J. Cole (2018)
Written by 21 Savage, J. Cole, Sam Parada, Anthony White, Dacoury Natche, and Sheila Young (The Fuzz)

The lead single off Savage’s second solo album I Am > I Was (meaning “I am greater than I was”), “A Lot” features J. Cole, who also co-wrote the song, which samples the track “I Love You,” an East of Underground’s cover of The Fuzz’s 1971 R&B hit “I Love You for All Seasons.” Shelia Young (of The Fuzz) is also credited.

In 2020, “A Lot” earned Savage and J. Cole their first Grammy Award for Best Rap Song.

7.Monster,” featuring Childish Gambino (2018)
Written by 21 Savage, Donald Glover (Childish Gambino), Dacoury Natche, Jake Austin, Calvin Tarvin, and Axel Morgan

Also off I Am > I Was, “Monster,” featuring Childish Gambino, addresses the detriment of fame and fortune—Power / The money and the fame make a monster.

Along with Gambino, the album also features vocals by Savage’s cousin, Young Nudy, along with Lil Baby, Gunna, and Offset, among other guests.

8. “Runnin'” (2020)
Written by 21 Savage, Metro Boomin, Michael Masser, Pamela Sawyer

Following his Best Rap Song Grammy win for “A Lot,” in 2020 Savage released another collaborative album with Metro Boomin, Savage Mode II, a sequel to their first EP in 2016. The single, “Runnin,'” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and samples Diana Ross’ 1976 hit “I Thought It Took a Little Time,” with credits given to its songwriters Michael Masser and Pamela Sawyer.

The music video for the track takes a more celebratory turn as Savage and Boomin take the actual Grammy award back to their hometown of Atlanta and show it off on the streets, sharing it with the public. Savage Mode II also features guest appearances by Young Thug and Drake.

9. “Mr. Right Now,” featuring Drake (2020)
Written by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin

Also off the Savage-Boomin collaboration, Savage Mode II, the R&B-slanted “Mr. Right Now” features Drake, who alludes to dating SZA in a verse—Cause I used to date SZA back in ’08. (Drake previously mentioned SZA in his 2018 single “Diplomatic Immunity,” and that he knew her way back in his Hollywood days, referencing his ’00s role on the teen drama series Degrassi Junior High.) Navigating around love and relationships, “Mr. Right Now” leans more on immediate hookups rather than any long-term amore.

10. “Rich Flex” (2020)
Written by 21 Savage and Drake with additional credits given to Megan Thee Stallion, Charles Bernstein, Anderson Hernandez, Brytavious Chambers, Michael Mulé, Isaac De Boni, Jahmal Gwin, Anthony White, Bobby Session Jr., Clifford Harris Jr., Aldrin Davis, Gladys Hayes.

In 2022, 21 Savage appeared on Drake’s No. 1 hit, “Jimmy Cooks,” from his seventh album, Honestly, Nevermind. That same year, the two released their collaborative album Her Loss, and its opening track “Rich Flex” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The track interpolates Megan Thee Stallion‘s 2020 single “Savage” and T.I.’s “24’s,” along with Savage’s own “Red Opps,” released in 2016. “Rich Flex” also samples two 1973 songs—Charles Bernstein’s “Nora’s Transformation” and “I Want You, Girl” by Sugar.

Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Amazon Music

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