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21 Savage

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21 Savage
21 Savage 2018.jpg
21 Savage performing in Austin, Texas in June 2018.
Background information
Birth nameShayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph
Born (1992-10-22) October 22, 1992 (age 26)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
OriginDeKalb County, Georgia, U.S
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2014 (2014)–present
Associated acts

Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (born October 22, 1992), better known by his stage name 21 Savage, is an American rapper, record producer, and songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. Abraham-Joseph grew up around criminality and eventually dropped out of school, beginning to rap in 2013 after the death of a friend. He gained attention in the Atlanta underground for the 2015 mixtape The Slaughter Tape before attaining nationwide attention following the Metro Boomin collaborative album Savage Mode (2016), its lead single "X", and his collaboration with Drake, "Sneakin'".[1]

Abraham-Joseph released his debut studio album, Issa Album, in 2017[2] which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and gave Abraham-Joseph his first top twenty song, "Bank Account". He achieved his first number one single at the end of 2017 with his feature on Post Malone's "Rockstar".[3] In 2017, he also released the Offset and Metro Boomin collaboration Without Warning.

Early life

Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was born on October 22, 1992, in Atlanta, Georgia.[4][5] He was raised by his mother Heather, who is of Dominican origin, and his four brothers and six sisters, though one is now deceased due to a shooting after a drug deal gone haywire.[6]

In the seventh grade, Abraham-Joseph was banned permanently from every single school in the DeKalb County School District due to gun possession.[7] This led him to begin attending schools around the Atlanta metropolitan area before being sent to a youth detention center.[8] After being released from the youth detention center, he completed eighth grade through an alternative program before finishing a semester of high school, dropping out in his freshman year following multiple exclusions which Abraham-Joseph said he was "exhausted" by.[9]

After dropping out, Abraham-Joseph joined a street gang affiliated with the wider Bloods street gang[1] and became a full-time drug dealer, mainly selling cannabis.[9] He also took parts in other criminal activities including robbery and grand theft auto regularly, though only being arrested once after contraband was found in a car he was driving.[10] In 2011, when Abraham-Joseph was 19, he lost his "right hand" man, Larry in a shootout.[9] In 2013, on his 21st birthday, Abraham-Joseph was shot six times by rival gang members and his brother Johnny "Tay-Man" Abraham-Joseph was killed during an attempted robbery.[11]


2014–15: Early releases

Following the death of his friend in a shootout on his 21st birthday, Abraham-Joseph began rapping, naming himself after the event[10] though Savage came from Instagram predictions.[12] His music career was originally subsidized by the uncle of his deceased friend, giving him money for studio time in 2013.[1] On November 12, 2014, 21 Savage's debut single, "Picky", produced by DJ Plugg, was released. It was later included on his debut mixtape, The Slaughter Tape, which was released on May 25, 2015.[13] The release made him what Interview called an "underground hero in Atlanta".[1]

On July 2, 2015, 21 released a collaborative EP, Free Guwop, with Sonny Digital.[14] It is a tribute EP to fellow rapper and influence Gucci Mane. On December 1, 2015, Abraham-Joseph released his second mixtape, Slaughter King.[15]

2016–late 2018: Savage Mode, Issa Album and Without Warning

21 Savage in June 2018

In June 2016, Abraham-Joseph was named as one of the "Freshman Class" of 2016 by XXL.[16] On July 15, 2016, Abraham-Joseph released his joint EP Savage Mode with Atlanta-based record producer Metro Boomin. The EP gained international success and peaked at number 23 on the Billboard 200, which became their highest charting EP to date.[17] He was on the cover of Fader.[18] His single "X" featuring Future on the EP was confirmed by Billboard as going platinum in the US, being 21's 1st platinum record.[19] On January 18, 2017, Abraham-Joseph announced that he had signed to Epic Records.[20]

In 2017, his debut studio album, Issa Album, reached at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart.[21] Its lead single, "Bank Account", charted in the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.[22] Later that year, he was featured on Post Malone's single "Rockstar", which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and broke several records.[3][23][24]

In April 2018, Abraham-Joseph had a guest appearance on Young Thug's extended play Hear No Evil along with fellow rappers Nicki Minaj and Lil Uzi Vert.[25] Later that month he also appeared on the single "Outstanding" by SahBabii.[26] In March 21 he was featured on the single "Rover 2.0", which is part of BlocBoy JB's Simi mixtape.[27][28] In the following month, he was featured on Ty Dolla Sign's "Clout", which is part of the upcoming deluxe edition of last years's Beach House 3.[29]

On October 31, 2018, Halloween, Abraham-Joseph posted on his Instagram a picture of a man in silhouette jumping in the air in the direction away from a large blaze. In the bottom right corner of the picture there is a "Parental Advisory" notice, as there oftentimes is on the cover of rap releases. Abraham-Joseph also tagged Metro Boomin in the post. For these reasons, some speculated it to be a sequel to 2017's Without Warning record. However, it turned out to be the cover for Metro’s debut solo album, Not All Heroes Wear Capes.[30]

Late 2018-present: I Am > I Was

Musical style

Called "one of the last street niggas left making music" by frequent collaborator Metro Boomin,[31] Abraham-Joseph's music is heavily autobiographic with emphasis on violent and criminal aspects of his past including murder and drug dealing.[10]


In 2018, 21 Savage reportedly started a movement called "Guns Down, Paintballs Up" which was intended to reduce gun violence.[32] The head of the Detroit Police Department, James Craig, described the movement as "well-intentioned, however, misguided".[33][34] The movement has been linked to several cases of property crime and homicide.[32][35] 21 Savage has not commented on the matter, although he paid for the funeral of a 3-year old who was killed in a related incident.[32][35]

Controversy arose after Abraham-Joseph pulled out a firearm during a pool party on June 11, 2018.[36] Abraham-Joseph was given the firearm by a friend after seeing an opposing crew member also pull out a pistol.[37]

Personal life

Abraham-Joseph practices the African religion Ifá.[38][39][40] In summer 2017, Savage started dating model Amber Rose.[41][42] As of March 2018, the couple has separated.[43]

He also has three children.[44]


21 Savage is currently working on his first movie, "Issa Movie".[45]

21 Savage also worked on a YouTube miniseries named "Year 2100".[46]


Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2018 BET Awards Best New Artist Himself Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards[47] Best New Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
Hip-Hop Song of the Year "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Nominated
Billboard Music Awards[48] Top New Artist Himself Nominated
Top Hot 100 Song "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Nominated
Top Streaming Song (Audio) Nominated
Top Collaboration Nominated
Top Rap Song Won
ASCAP Pop Awards[49] Winning Songs Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Song of the Year Won


  1. ^ a b c d "21 Savage chops it up with Seth Rogen". Interview Magazine. 2018-04-26. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  2. ^ C.M., Emmanuel (October 9, 2015). "The Break Presents: 21 Savage". XXL Magazine. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Post Malone's Rockstar Hits No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 Chart". XXL Magazine. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Jeffries, David. "Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  5. ^ "21 Savage". South by Southwest. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  6. ^ James, Andy (November 22, 2018). "The Brutal Story Behind 21 Savage's Dagger Face Tattoo". DJBooth. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  7. ^ Charlamagne tha God, DJ Envy (August 4, 2016). 21 Savage Interview With The Breakfast Club (8-4-16) (Video). New York City: The Breakfast Club (radio show). Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Everything You Need To Know About 21 Savage". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  9. ^ a b c "21 Savage Talks Being An "A" Student, Losing His Best Friends On The Breakfast Club". The FADER. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  10. ^ a b c Wood, Samuel Hine, Geordie (2018-06-27). "21 Savage: From Robbin' Season to Role Model". GQ. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  11. ^ "Meet 21 Savage, Atlanta's Most Respected New Rapper". The Fader. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  12. ^ "19 Facts You Need To Know About 'Rockstar' Rapper 21 Savage". Capital XTRA. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  13. ^ "21 Savage - The Slaughter Tape". LiveMixtapes. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  14. ^ "21 Savage - Free Guwop EP". LiveMixtapes. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  15. ^ Rose Lilah (2 December 2015). "21 Savage - Slaughter King - Download & Listen [New Mixtape]". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  16. ^ "XXL Freshman Class Cover 2016". XXL Magazine. Townsquare Media. June 13, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  17. ^ "21 Savage – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  18. ^ Lilah, Rose. "21 Savage on the cover of Fader". Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  19. ^ Weinstein, Max (November 22, 2016). "21 Savage Gets His First Platinum Record With "X"". Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  20. ^ "21 Savage Inks Record Deal With Epic Records". Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  21. ^ Caulfield, Keith (July 16, 2017). "21 Savage & Haim Debut in Top 10 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  22. ^ "Hot 100: Niall Horan's "Slow Hands" Enters Top 15, 21 Savage's "Bank Account" Top 20". Headline Planet. August 7, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Post Malone Breaks Spotify Global Record With Rockstar - XXL". XXL Magazine. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  24. ^ "Post Malone & 21 Savage's 'Rockstar' Is Now Certified Platinum". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  25. ^ Maicki, Salvatore (April 13, 2018). "Young Thug drops Hear No Evil EP". The Fader. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  26. ^ India, Lindsey (April 20, 2018). "Listen to SahBabii and 21 Savage's New Song "Outstanding"". XXL Magazine. Townsquare Media. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  27. ^ Breihan, Tom (March 23, 2018). "BlocBoy JB – "Rover 2.0" (Feat. 21 Savage)". Stereogum. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  28. ^ Coleman II, C. Vernon (May 4, 2018). "BlocBoy JB Drops 'Simi' Mixtape Featuring Drake, Lil Pump and More". XXL Magazine. Townsquare Media. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  29. ^ Darville, Jordan (May 9, 2018). "Ty Dolla $ign recruits 21 Savage for "Clout"". The Fader. New York City. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  30. ^ "Saint Laurent Don on Instagram: "y'all know what season it is @metroboomin 4L"". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  31. ^ "Meet 21 Savage, Atlanta's Most Respected New Rapper". The FADER. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  32. ^ a b c Diaz, Adriana (May 1, 2018). ""Paintball wars," initially intended to curb gun violence, linked to 2 deaths". CBS News. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  33. ^ "Detroit police cracks down on citywide "paintball wars"". CBS News. April 21, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  34. ^ Patterson, Brandon; Zaniewski, Ann (April 27, 2018). "Detroit police to crack down on citywide 'paintball wars'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  35. ^ a b Mensch, Jessica; Luthern, Ashley (May 1, 2018). "Paintball shootings splatter cities after rapper calls for swapping handguns for paintball weapons". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  36. ^ "21 Savage Draws Gun During Atlanta Pool Party Brawl". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  37. ^ "21 Savage Pulls Out A Gun During A Brawl: Watch". Vibe. 2018-06-10. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  38. ^ Witmer, Phil (August 4, 2016). "No Joke, You Should Definitely Watch 21 Savage's Entire 'Breakfast Club' Interview". Noisey. Vice Media. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  39. ^ Barshad, Amos (November 21, 2016). "Savage World". The Fader. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  40. ^ Tayo, Ayomide O. "21 Savage, the hottest rapper in America worships Ifa". Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  41. ^ Coleman II, C. Vernon (February 10, 2018). "Amber Rose Sniffs 21 Savage's Underwear When She Misses Him". XXL Magazine. Townsquare Media. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  42. ^ "21 Savage Got The Sexiest Gift From Amber Rose For Valentine's Day". BET. February 14, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  43. ^ Mizoguchi, Karen; Rubenstein, Janine (March 14, 2018). "Amber Rose and 21 Savage Split After Nearly 2 Years of Dating". People. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  44. ^ "Does 21 Savage have any kids?". Capital XTRA. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  45. ^ "21 Savage Delivers Trailer for "ISSA" Movie". 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  46. ^ "21 Savage Gets Animated in New Web Series 'The Year 2100' - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  47. ^ Atkinson, Katie (March 11, 2018). "iHeartRadio Music Award Winners 2018: Complete List". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  48. ^ "Billboard Music Awards 2018 Nominations: See the Full List". Billboard. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  49. ^ "2018 Ascap Pop Awards". ASCAP. Retrieved April 24, 2018.

External links