21 Savage has been living up to his name lately, particularly when it comes to his participation in live chats with fans. That’s something he’s been doing a lot of as he promotes his new album, Her Loss, reacting to memes featuring his collaborator Drake, and declaring that he’d “smoke” fellow 2016 XXL Freshman Kodak Black in a hits battle. He acquired another of these moments over the weekend during a Twitter Spaces chat about Nas and Hit-Boy’s newly released album, King’s Disease III.
As some of the participants brought up veteran rap icon Nas’ “relevance,” 21 — (who’s 30 years old and wasn’t even born yet when Nas made his debut in 1991 on Main Source’s “Live At The Barbecue”) had this to say: “I don’t feel like he’s relevant, he just has a loyal ass fanbase and he still makes good-ass music.” While the clip that has been circulating on Twitter doesn’t have much context, it’s probably fair to guess that Savage, whose own album just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, is likely referring to the elder rapper’s chart impact.
Is 21 Savage right or wrong? I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
For reference, the first King’s Disease, released in 2020, won a Grammy and debuted at No. 5 on the B200, but only one of its songs charted on the Hot 100. Its follow-up, released a year later, sold 9,000 more units and landed at No. 3. This is impressive considering these were indie releases with little promotion, but given Nas has five No. 1 albums to his name (six, including The Firm album), this is something of a decline from his heyday. Fortunately, a loyal fanbase is all one needs to have an impact these days thanks to streaming and direct sales.
Nas is also something of a media mainstay, appearing in commercials for Hennessey and Nike that make use of his legacy as a hip-hop pioneer. But it’s not like he’s going viral on TikTok — which is where “the kids” do much of their music discovery and share their interests. It’s an interesting conundrum and not one that’s likely to be resolved anytime soon. While old-school hip-hop fans probably won’t take kindly to Savage’s comments, there are undoubtedly plenty of younger fans who will agree. As for Nas himself, he’s probably doing just fine either way as he keeps proving his impact and boasts on his new album that he’ll probably have 16-year-old fans in his sixties.
21 Savage said Nas is irrelevant. It’s funny because Nas at 49 years old just released 4 better quality albums than his whole discography.
But it’s even funnier when 21 Savage is being relevant exclusively thanks to Drake in the last year pic.twitter.com/ffIdthZ2ti
— Bitch Please (@HipHopEsp_) November 14, 2022
21 Savage literally sampled his song i don’t understand why he called Nas irrelevant pic.twitter.com/A936csuUT6
— Rishabhhh (@wishabhhh) November 14, 2022
Can’t believe 21 savage weak ass had the audacity to say that Nas was irrelevant
— Lauri. (@FineeNine) November 14, 2022
Clubhouse really showed how unintelligent/simple minded/chatty 21 Savage is.
Imagine a rap nigga, any nigga, calling Nas irrelevant. pic.twitter.com/BI6Y3EepVS
— IG: @MilagroGramz (@MilagroGramz__) November 14, 2022
Rap legends and icons can never be irrelevant. They already paid their dues and impacted the culture. Nas’s Illmatic and Ether will outlive him. Nothing 21 savage has done will ever have that type of influence and relevance in the culture. https://t.co/8dsC1qeAQP
— BeautyNBars (@BeautyNBars) November 14, 2022