By Drew Matlovsky
Among the cohort of new rappers, 21 Savage stands out for his eerie, brooding flow. An aesthetic reminiscent of the horror movies of John Carpenter often adorns the cover art of Savage’s projects, prominently displayed with the color red. His lyrics often feature themes of violence; his most notable song “Bank Account” features the chorus, “I got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight shooters ready to gun you down / Ready to gun you down.” (His first mixtapes were also titled “The Slaughter Tape” and “Slaughter King”) Joining Post Malone on his Beerbongs and Bentleys Tour, 21 Savage stopped in at the Veterans Memorial Colliseum on April 26 and eviscerated the audience with his infectious flow and bloody aesthetic. He performed in front of dimmed lights and a projector that played clips of horror movies. There was also a robotic statue of Jason from “Friday the Thirteenth,” complete with his signature bloodied hockey mask.
The level of energy 21 Savage brought to his performance was particularly impressive. Given that most of his songs are downtempo, I worried his music would translate poorly for a live audience interested in dancing to something more upbeat and palpable. Yet along with his hypeman, 21 Savage kept the crowd energized and singing along. Decked out in an Adidas tracksuit, 21 Savage, approached the stage with a confidence and swagger usually found on much more seasoned rappers. He glided back and forth on the stage, encouraging the audience to sing along. It was a welcome change of pace and a worthy concert for the up-and-coming rapper.