Anytime I am able to hit a 21 Savage show, out of habit, I make that move. Floating on the massive success of his collaborative project Her Loss with Drake, the Grammy award-winning artist took to the RED Studios stage in Hollywood for Amazon Music Live’s final show of the year, so of course I had to be there.
The first time I saw 21 Savage live was at one of those iconic Ham On Everything (ironically, our UPROXX Sessions partner) warehouse parties in 2016. This was back when Savage was typecast as a “mumble” and “SoundCloud rapper” — descriptors that were meant to be taken in offense. At the same time, the Atlanta native had a whole crowd all the way in Los Angeles packed out in a smokey venue screaming all the words to “Red Opps” and “Skrrt Skrrt.” Oh, and the stage was packed out too! Three No. 1 albums, a Coachella performance, a Grammy award, a few platinum plaques, and an abundance of No. 1 hit songs later, it appears as if the “SoundCloud rapper” is doing alright.
Fast forward to his 2022 year-end Amazon Music Live appearance, and Savage is still bringing that same packed-out, energetic (but larger) crowd, only this time with an elevated stage presence immersed in glowing red light and billowing smoke. As the rap star emerged from backstage, he spun around in an accent swivel chair, donning the darkest of shades like a 9’0s R&B singer as he opened up the show with his phenomenal “Jimmy Cooks” verse from Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind.
slaughter gang shit! pic.twitter.com/4p2dYw4D1O
— cherise johnson (@yourCheriseAmor) January 5, 2023
Then, as the instrumental from Her Loss’ “3AM On Glenwood” softly played in the background, he got up from his chair, politely asked if the audience was ready to have a good time, and then requested they sing the next song with him. They sang along to all the songs, including his classic single “Red Opps” and Her Loss goodies such as “Major Distribution,” “More Ms,” “Privilege Rappers” and “Spin About U.” At some point, any hope for a surprise appearance by Drake quickly shriveled up as he continued to perform cuts off Her Loss solo. Even a pop-up from Young Nudy would have been dope, but most of the Amazon Music Live shows seem to lack guest appearances. No one seemed to mind though, because the energy in the building was so insane, especially with “Knife Talk” and “Rich Flex” as the evening’s closing numbers.
But honestly, Savage could’ve just performed any one of his projects, from The Slaughterhouse Tape to I Am > I Was to Savage Mode 2 to Her Loss, and a good time would still be had. Anyone who says Savage doesn’t have any songs in his catalog that will be remembered forever should absolutely revisit his entire discography. The way he was able to effortlessly weave in and out of his varying musical eras while keeping the crowd hype and turning the VIP lounge into the club, is why pulling up to 21 Savage show will always and continue to be the move.