By CHARLIE SNYDER
Morgan Freeman would be proud of this week's savage releases.
On Oct. 2, music goers were blessed with a wide variety of the most heavily anticipated releases of the year. Atlanta rapper 21 Savage and St. Louis producer Metro Boomin dropped their collaborative album SAVAGE MODE II, which came as the sequel to their fan-favorite 2016 project Savage Mode. Singer-songwriter Bryson Tiller also got in on the fun, releasing his third studio album ANNIVERSARY. Ironically, this came on the fifth anniversary of his debut breakout album, TRAPSOUL.
In addition, not only did these well-known and widely loved artists come through, but so did up-and-coming rapper Westside Gunn, who released his official debut album, WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE, on the same day. This comes after his extremely popular mixtapes earlier this year, including the critically acclaimed project, Pray For Paris, which incorporated collaborations from the likes of Tyler, The Creator, Freddie Gibbs and Joey Bada$$.
With this variety of expected releases finally reaching streaming platforms on Oct. 2, listeners can now enjoy what has been 2020’s most prominent day in music so far.
21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s third collaborative project opens with a rather familiar voice. No, not either artist, but rather Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. Throughout the entire album, Freeman serves as the role of a narrator, coming through between songs to ask questions and offer advice. Essentially, Freeman's narration projects the album like a movie, and as each song transitions to the next, his lines tie it all together like sequential scenes. One of the most notable questions he asks within the album: “Are things better or worse the second time around?”
Savage Mode II answers that question.
Being the much-anticipated sequel to the 2016 fan-favorite Savage Mode, many critics and listeners alike doubted a superior follow up. Without a doubt did these thoughts reach the ears of Metro and 21, as they came together once again to prove critics wrong.
Combined with stellar production from Metro Boomin, it is safe to say that 21 Savage will not be able to ruin any track with his notorious vocals. But if you are familiar with 21, it is undeniable that he has continuously improved throughout each new release. With Metro’s production skill combined with 21’s enhanced performance, the two seamlessly fit together flawlessly on this 15 track album.
With the exception of three tracks (and Morgan Freeman), 21 and Metro handled the entire album alone. That being said, the features that appear are likely to turn some heads. High-profile artists such as Drake, Young Thug and Young Nudy all make their presence known while giving a little more flavor to the album. In the end, the project is a satisfying sequel that is sure to make playlists for months to come.
Speaking of satisfying sequels, Bryson Tiller also came through this past Friday with a long-awaited ANNIVERSARY. The album was originally teased on Sep. 3 when Tiller ended a music video with the message: “New album this Fall.” To the surprise of many, Tiller actually meant this year's October. Rather than following the common trope of releasing music next year, fans were ecstatic when they received new tracks in less than a month.
The album which Tiller dedicates to his late grandmother fulfills all expectations. Like SAVAGE MODE II, the project remains fairly true to the album's creator. Especially with a surprising feature from Drake, the song "Outta Time" expresses the artist's feelings towards leaving his significant other. Love and relationships have been a theme throughout Tiller’s fusion of R&B and hip-hop over recent years. Tiller claims that this is just the start of a wave of new music he will be releasing, and if ANNIVERSARY is an indicator of what is to come, fans are in good hands.
If these two projects were not enough already, then I would like to introduce you to Alvin Lamar Worthy, more commonly known as Westside Gunn. His debut album WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE reached streaming platforms on Oct. 2 and did not disappoint on any level.
To start, the 11 track album is full of grimy piano-heavy beats, slick and witty bars and incredible features. The album includes artists such as rap legend Black Thought, Armani Caesar, Slick Rick and many more. Gunn's release is no short of a win for fans, as the rapper has once again proven his amazing sense in music direction. Especially since he cohesively fused 16 artists within an 11 song album, such as the fan-favorite, The Butcher and The Blade, which features Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine. Much like Bryson Tiller, if this is any indication of Gunn's future in the music industry, then he is going to be a name to watch out for in years to come.
With hours of new music being released, Oct. 2 has given listeners something to enjoy in these trying times. It has undoubtedly been the best day for music 2020 has seen so far.
With there only being two months until the new year, the only question left to ask: can it be topped?