21 Savage Defends His Lyrics From Fans Calling Him A Hypocrite For Speaking Out Against Gun Violence

Thanks to legal cases against Young Thug and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, rap lyrics have been under the microscope as fans and critics debate rappers’ responsibility for their rhymes’ relations to reality. From New York drill rappers battling back against Mayor Eric Adams’ plans to ban their genre in public spaces to 300 Entertainment’s Kevin Liles calling for the expansion of New York’s “Rap On Trial” bill — and a similar bill that was recently introduced in the US Senate — the debate, which has raged since hip-hop’s earliest days, has received renewed attention and scrutiny thanks to current events.

Fans and rappers are increasingly being drawn into the discourse on a personal level as well. After 21 Savage tweeted about a rise in gun violence in his hometown Atlanta, some fans called him out, saying that the violent content of his music undermines his calls for peace. “Atlanta We Have To Do Better,” he tweeted yesterday. “Put The F****** Guns Down !!!!!” When a fan quoted a line from his recent Drake collaboration “Jimmy Cooks” at him, though, Savage pointed out that there should be a line between art and life.

“A song is for entertainment it’s not an instruction manual on how to live life,” he shot back. “In real life I give away a lot of money and spread financial literacy to my community. Stop trying to make me 1 dimensional.” It’s likely he was referring to his annual Issa Back 2 School Drive in Decatur this weekend, where he gave 2000 students school supplies like backpacks, notebooks, and shoes and offered services such as haircuts and braiding ahead of the upcoming school term.

For what it’s worth, some version of this debate has taken place in movies, television, and video games as well. And while rap has long espoused the “keep it real” attitude, the fact is that rappers have exaggerated their experiences since the very beginning. The moment was a great example of the issue at the core of the lyrics debate. While critics say that rappers’ lyrics encourage violence or depict it in detail, artists themselves insist that the lyrics aren’t to be taken literally or that they are simply recording their lived experiences.

21 Savage and His Leading By Example Foundation Host 7th ‘Issa Back 2 School Drive’

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The eighth annual “Issa Back 2 School Drive,” sponsored by Amazon MusicWarner Chappell MusicPGADick’s Sporting GoodsFoot Locker AtlantaFive Below, and Champions, was organized by 21 Savage and his Leading By Example Foundation in his hometown of Decatur, Georgia.

Before the forthcoming 2022–2023 school year, 21 Savage gave away school goods and services to nearly 2,000 young pupils and families, including backpacks, sneakers, haircuts, hair braiding, notebooks, headphones, uniforms, and shoes. Every kid received a personalized financial literacy education guide from Savage.

Following the success of Savage’s nationwide Bank Account at Home Extension of this Financial Literacy Campaign, which was first introduced in March 2018 in partnership with educational non-profit Get Schooled, comes this back-to-school effort. In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, 21 Savage expanded the reach of his well-received campaign by moving it online. He did this by establishing his nationwide “Bank Account at Home” Chime X 21 Savage effort in July 2020.

You can see images from the event below.

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The Best Music This Week: Cardi B, City Girls, Joey Badass, and More

Image via Complex Original

  • Cardi B f/ Kanye West & Lil Durk, “Hot Shit” 

  • City Girls f/ Usher, “Good Love”

  • Joey Badass, “Where I Belong”

  • Calvin Harris f/ 21 Savage, “New Money”

  • Steve Lacy, “Bad Habit”

  • DJ Drama f/ Benny The Butcher, Jim Jones, Fabolous, & Capella Grey, “Forever” 

  • Gucci Mane f/ Lil Baby, “All Dz Chainz”

  • Symba, “Never End Up Broke”

  • Lloyd Banks f/ Conway the Machine, “Menace”

DJ Drama The Forever Kid, Calvin Harris On New Money, EarthGang With The Deluxe Album

New Music Friday

After back-to-back weeks of multiple drops, this week is to catch a breather. It may not be as much as we’ve had since last summer, but we still got bangers here. One thing stayed steady: Deluxe albums. This time from EARTHGANG and French Montana. We also have feature drops by Gucci Mane, Tory Lanez, and […]

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Calvin Harris And 21 Savage Cash In On Some Summer Fun With The Groovy ‘New Money’

Calvin Harris is back with the second offering from his upcoming album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, tapping 21 Savage for his new single “New Money.” It is an arena the “A Lot” rapper has never found himself in, but much like his feature run over the last year and some change, he floats with ease over the angelic piano keys and soothing drums.

“New Money” follows the lead single “Potion” featuring Dua Lipa and Young Thug. This past week, the Scottish DJ shared the list of features for his long-awaited Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 through an oceanic album trailer. The album will include contributions from 6lack, Chloe, Tinashe, Snoop Dogg, Charlie Puth, Halsey, Justin Timberlake, Latto, Pusha T, Offset, and more. Vol. 2, set to release on August 5, comes five years after Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, headlined by the major singles “Slide” featuring Frank Ocean, Quavo, and Offset and “Feels” with Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, and Big Sean. If the first album is any indication, Vol. 2 will be placing many people’s favorite artists in soundscapes they’ve likely never been in before, but Calvin Harris knows what he’s doing.

In a summer where listeners will have already received Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind and Beyonce’s Renaissance Part 1, led by “Break My Soul,” the “This Is What You Came For” artist may very well be providing the sounds aligning with that song’s title.

Check out Calvin Harris and 21 Savage on “New Money” above.

The Best Rap Verses of 2022 (So Far)

Image via Complex Original

  • Lil Baby, “In A Minute”

  • Reason, “1st Quarter”

  • Ransom, “Circumstances”

  • Young Dro, “Here On In”

  • Dom Kennedy, “CORSA”

  • Leikeli47, “Carry Anne”

  • Nick Grant, LA Leakers Freestyle

  • Chance the Rapper, “The Highs & The Lows”

  • Denzel Curry, “The Ills”

  • Omeretta the Great, “Sorry Not Sorry”

  • Vince Staples, “The Beach”

  • BabyTron, “Manute Bol”

  • billy woods, “Remorseless”

  • Nicki Minaj, “Blick Blick”

  • Quelle Chris, “Nynex”

  • Lupe Fiasco, “Ms Mural”

  • 21 Savage, “Jimmy Cooks”

  • Navy Blue, “So Tired You Can’t Stop Dreaming”

  • Conway the Machine, “Tyson vs Ali”

  • JID, “Home (Remix)”

  • Benny the Butcher, “10 More Commandments”

  • Jay-Z, “Neck & Wrist”

  • Pusha-T, “Just So You Remember”

  • Cardi B, “Shake It”

  • Tyler, the Creator, “Cash In Cash Out”

  • J. Cole, “Johnny P’s Caddy”

  • Che Noir, “Communion”

  • Kendrick Lamar, “Mother I Sober”

  • Malice, “I Pray For You”

  • Drake, “Churchill Downs”