Album: 21 Savage - American Dream


One of 21 Savage’s earliest forays into letter-writing came on the penultimate track of 2018’s i am > i was, where he penned an apologetic and appreciative tribute to his mother, Heather Carmillia Joseph, for dealing with his teenage mischief. It wasn’t the first time that he’d revealed such an interior window—all over the album he posited himself as a tormented agent of the macabre, unable to shake the traumatic memories while also enjoying the spoils of his riches—but it signified a unique willingness to go long on personal soliloquy. On his latest release, american dream, his mom returns the favor, opening the album with a spoken-word dedication that alludes to the countless sacrifices she undertook to help him achieve his wildest dreams. Instead of nestling the emotional weight away in the corner, 21 uses it as a battering ram, bursting through the door to begin to try to paint the full picture of who he has become.

And it’s a tall task. 21’s profile has grown in recent years, with a collaborative album and tour with Drake, humanitarian initiatives that made him a community leader in Atlanta—hell, even the teaser “trailer” credits for american dream read like an Emmy after-party invite list. His third solo album attempts to balance reveling in his newfound elevated celebrity and retaining the tortured persona that relishes in recounting the gruesome details of his journey. This produces some missteps, but the 31 year old cuts through the glossy excess with clarity and lyrical self-assuredness, producing enough sterling moments to show that he’s still a star worthy of fanfare.



1. American Dream

2. All Of Me

3. Redrum

4. N.H.I.E.

5. Sneaky

6. Letter To My Brudda

7. Dangerous

8. Née-nah

9. See The Real

10. Prove It

11. Should've Wore A Bonnet

12. Just Like Me

13. Red Sky

14. Dark Days

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