Recently 21 Savage set off a debate when during a Complex interview he declared that what a lot of people are calling trap music isn't really trap music if the artist making it isn't actually from Atlanta. He then named Young Thug, Future, Migos, 2 Chainz, and himself as contemporary hip hop artists who could follow in the footsteps of T.I. and Gucci Mane in owning the title. During an exclusive released by Genius on Wednesday, July 26, the Issa rapper delved deeper into the subject, classifying the true essence of the music and the culture responsible for breeding it.
During his sit down with Rob Markman at the Sword and the Stone blacksmith shop in Los Angeles, 21 opened up about some of the details of his rough come up in the ATL streets and how it shaped his artistry. Compared to his peers and what they've been forthcoming in exposing to the public, there is indeed a degree of depth and eccentricity that perhaps helps him balance his hood credibility with spiritual and historical insight. He talks about engaging in Ifa, which is a form of religious spiritism that derives from West Africa. He also highlighted the range of his musical taste and how he's gone from balancing mainstream and underground Atlanta rap to now having old school r&b tunes dominate his playlist. It all informs the style and perspective the rapper brings to the game.
Prior to shedding light on his cultivation as a person, 21 expressed agitation over having initially been grouped in with the new wave of rappers that are being tagged with the "mumble rap" label, arguing that what he does with his music is far from a gimmick. He'd later give a wise explanation of trap music that articulated exactly what he means when he separates the fake from the real. "You got a trap house right? It's a house that n****s pay their rent out on, and sell drugs out of it. It's not a bando. A bando is an abandoned apartment. You could say 'I'm in the trap.' The trap could be a block outside. Then you could say 'I'm in the trap' and be in a trap house. Then you could say 'S**t, I'm finna go bust a trap.' Trap music is a reflection of the trap," he said, before further breaking down the essence with accounts of murder, drug dealing, prostitution, and other components of street life that normalize it as space for street commerce. "Trap is your hustle. If it ain't reflecting what's going on in the trap, it ain't trap music," says 21.