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Irish on Aux: 21 Savage’s American Dream

The soundtrack to a new dramatization of 21 Savage’s life, American Dream, dropped on January 12th.

The album is 21’s 3rd solo album after Issa Album and I am > I was. American Dream contains features from Doja Cat, Young Thug, Lil Durk, Travis Scott, Summer Walker, Brent Faiyaz, Burna Boy, Tommy Newport, Mikky Ekko, Mariah the Scientist, and various songs produced by Metro Boomin. 

Throughout the album, he portrays his journey of becoming who he is today using various emotions and events he had felt through various stages of his life. 

The album starts with an opening address from 21’s mother discussing her motivations and overall journey on her final mission for, “my son to become a man and live free in his American dream.”

What follows are some steady, relaxed flows set with heavy, violent imagery throughout the first couple of songs, carrying a murderous energy, especially in “redrum,” reflecting his life hustling in East Atlanta. It is often common to see this tough nature within 21’s music, yet he does drop this tough nature to show a more vulnerable and fragile side in some songs.

This vulnerability and fragility is brought up in the song, “letter to my brudda,” praising his fallen friend, showing their upbringings, 

“... we be comin’ from, like, the worst conditions, the worst circumstances

The trenches, the gutter 

And sometimes we be forced to make decisions that we don’t even wanna make 

It be about survival.”

With the feature of Lil Durk, they displayed the tumultuous background of growing up on the Eastside losing their friends by murder, betrayal, or the court system. Additionally, with the feature, Travis Scott, they deliver their personal experiences in the music industry, the differences between their rivals, and their successes.

This openness continues throughout the album with “see the real” discussing the loyalty in personal relationships, and facing countless losses, yet still has a relentless pursuit of success. The transparency 21 produces with sharing on his journey, he explores a more R&B approach with Summer Walker, using themes of love and trust in a relationship. Additionally, 21 uses this R&B approach with Brent Faiyez exploring the desire of a relationship and the consequences of one’s actions.

The theme of relationships continues with “just like me” featuring Burna Boy and Metro Boomin, which discusses how a former partner has grown similar to the artist, inspiring the title, “just like me.” The dark, violent theme returns in “red sky” featuring Tommy Newport and Mikky Ekko, conveying a tale of survival and loyalty to one’s own family. 

The album ends with “dark days” featuring Mariah the Scientist which explores the struggles and realities of life in the streets and the ultimate pursuit of success. 21 acknowledges the gun violence among teenagers where firearms are easily accessible and then proceeds to highlight the loss of friends one might experience due to gun violence. 

“You gon’ lose a lot of your friends and that’s what hurt the most 

You can’t do nothin’ but reminisce about y’all crackin’ jokes 

You feelin’ like nobody love you, I know how that go 

You gotta love yourself.”

Overall, the album covers the best and worst the "American Dream" has to offer conveying his struggles of emigrating from the United Kingdom to the United States and the opportunity to fame and wealth that America had to offer.

The album has been in Billboard Top 200 #1 for the past 2 weeks, yet there have been many mixed reviews. Hackett sophomore, Sam Finley, says, “I only really like the popular songs, and all the other ones are just there, but it is still one of 21’s better albums. I’ll give it a 7.8/10.” Over other websites, there has been an average rating of 7.2/10, which gives the album an overall good rating. However, personally, the album holds many good songs, yet with 21, he sounds the same and has the same flow in every single song, ultimately giving the album a 7.0/10.

American Dream holds a special place in 21 Savage’s discography, encapsulating his whole life into a single album.


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