To say that 21 Savage has had a breakout year would be a severe understatement.
Following the release of his and Metro Boomin’s wonderfully nihilistic Savage Mode, the XXL Freshman has worked with everyone from Young Thug (the two have since embarked on their HiHORSE’D Tour together) to Meek Mill to Drake, and he is only getting started.
Savage was recently greeted with his biggest success in music thus far, as his Savage Mode single “X” hit the million-unit mark. With the recent inclusion of SoundCloud into Billboard’s chart system, Savage Mode has also gone Gold as well.
Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph is now the focal point of the FADER’s Faith Issue. In the Amos Barshad-penned issue, the magazine follows 21 through his hometown of Atlanta where despite his personal burdens he is emerging as one of rap’s brightest newcomers.
In it he talks about his childhood days (which includes a humorous tale with his mother), his life and times in the system, the infamous dagger tattoo, and more.
A choice quote:
There are other tattoos, other memorials: his mother’s name on his stomach, kiddie versions of the classic villains Freddy and Jason. On Savage’s chest, in a tattooed outlay of clouds, are the names Larry and Johnny — two of his best friends, both shot and killed — and Tamika, Larry’s mother, who was killed at the same time as her son.
Savage was in the car at the time of Johnny’s murder. It was Savage’s 21st birthday, and he himself was shot six times. He is cagey about recalling the incident, but later, when he’s out of earshot, one of his friends quickly shares with me the version of the story he’d always heard. That a deal turned into an attempted robbery. That there were two assailants. That Johnny got shot in the head. That Savage, wounded, tried to shoot back. That afterward he shut Johnny’s eyes, got out of the car, closed the door, lit a cigarette, and waited nearly 30 minutes for the ambulance to come.
Did you think you were gonna die? I ask Savage later.
“Yeah,” he says. “A whole lot of blood loss. A whole lot of blood loss. But I guess they say your adrenaline be rushing. So you don’t really feel it, when it’s going on.”