21 Savage is a rapper that’s starting to gain serious momentum. Born Shayaa Joseph, the young upstart raps street tales and looks the part. His background is intense. He was expelled from school in the seventh grade because he got caught with a gun and dropped out of school completely in the ninth. In 2013, he was shot six times and his best friend was killed. That traumatic experience led Savage to take rapping seriously and solidifying his team, 21, which consists of Lotto Savage, Mookie Madri Gra and Freaky D$MG. After the release of his debut mixtape, The Slaughter Tape, the ATL product is becoming a name.

"We are the real Atlanta, we are really in the street, we are really what the fuck Atlanta has going on," he told XXL. "Every artist that I got with me is really from the hood and really from Atlanta and really in the streets of Atlanta. Lotto Savage, Mookie Madri Gra, Freaky D$MG., that who I bring with me, that’s all sides of Atlanta. The other shit y’all been seeing, some of them really from Atlanta but some ain’t and rapping about that gay ass fashion shit. We bringing back that pain, street real feeling music."

He continued to say: "My voice is needed, if it weren’t for my voice, niggas wouldn’t even know niggas shoot in Atlanta. Niggas would think everybody wears Giuseppe's and buy Versace. Niggas would think everybody got money in Atlanta. There’s niggas fucked up in Atlanta. It’s a lot of poverty, it's niggas struggling, it's niggas hustling, it's niggas robbing and niggas killing in Atlanta. It ain’t all money and drugs like the picture is painted. It’s a lot of gangsta shit going on in Atlanta. We’re going to bring that back, every aspect of everything. I salute everybody coming out of Atlanta because they keep the light on Atlanta. But I’m going to bring that young nigga feeling back. I got my other partner who’s going to bring that Jay Z, lyrical shit. I got another partner who can harmonize and bring that groove back. I got another artist whose also just like me. It ain’t nothing new but we’re going to bring back some shit that’s needed."

With the two projects, Savage Boomin (collab tape with Metro Boomin) and Slaughter King, in his arsenal dropping sometime this year, get familiar with 21 Savage now.—Emmanuel C.M.

Name: 21 Savage

Age: 22

Hometown: Decatur, Ga.

I grew up listening to: Gucci Mane, Lotto Savage, Mookie Madri Gra, Freaky D$MG. Me, My Momma and Them Roaches, Live From Da Carter, Gucci Mane’s “East Atlanta 6.” All his mixtapes that Gucci drop I listened to and T.I. plus Yo Gotti. My favorite Gucci tape/record is “Sun Valley.” My folks be out there and I know what he talking about. My cousin run that shit now, PE, Paradise East. In the song where he’s rapping about paradise, I just shot my last video over there. That’s the real Bouldercrest. That’s why I fuck with Gucci so hard and that’s why “Sun Valley” my favorite song

I wanted to become a rapper after I got shot. I rapped before but I ain’t want to be no rapper. I was just rapping because my big brother was rapping and we just made a song. When I got shot, I just came back to trying to rap. I got shot the day I turned 21, on my birthday. 21 is my gang, that’s not my name. That’s just like saying Bricksquad Gucci. Bricksquad is his gang, Gucci is his name, 21 is my gang, Savage is my name.

My style’s been compared to: Real street shit, real life shit. I be flexing though too, I ain’t going to lie. I ain’t never sold no brick, but I’ve done been around niggas that did that. I’m a street nigga though because I done did street shit. Niggas be rapping about drugs and shit but that doesn’t make you know street nigga to me it means you a drug dealer. I’m an active street as far as other shit. That’s why I say street shit. I’m speaking to both crowds, the niggas who selling bricks and the niggas who taking the bricks from the niggas who selling them. So that’s what I consider my music, both sides of the fence.

Most people don't know: Niggas really don’t know shit about me, they just know my music; I can play NBA2K. Either I’m going to with the Trail Blazers or of course LeBron [and Cleveland] or San Antonio. It also depends on who I’m playing against.

My standout records and/or moments to date have been: Just me period is my standout, niggas biting my swag already, big artists. I think “Slaughter ya Daughter” and “Picky” are my standouts records. Everything I do standout I feel like, everybody gravitate towards it. They not just gravitating towards one song, niggas gravitate towards everything I’m doing. I think muthafuckas fuck with me because what I look like. That’s what I think standout about me, because of this tattoo on my face.

My goal in Hip-Hop is: To get rich and take care of all my niggas and my momma, I don’t want to be the best rapper in the world, I don’t want to be the richest rapper in the world, I want all my partners to have nice houses and cars and I want my momma to have a nice car and a nice house.

I’m going to be the next: Gucci Mane, 'cause we in the same lane and on the same type of shit. Other than him, I’ll be the next Bill Gates too, money-wise.

Follow 21 Savage on Twitter plus check out his SoundCloud.

Standouts: "Woah"


Free Guwop

"Skrrt Skrrt"

"Slaughter ya Daughter"

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