21 Savage
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21 Savage

21 Savage
21 Savage 2018.jpg
21 Savage performing in Austin, Texas in June 2018.
Background information
Shayaa 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
2014 (2014)-present

Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (born October 22, 1992), better known by his stage name 21 Savage, is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer 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'".[2]

Abraham-Joseph released his debut studio album, Issa Album, on July 7, 2017.[3] It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and gave Abraham-Joseph his first Billboard Hot 100 top 20 song, "Bank Account". He achieved his first number one single at the end of 2017 with his feature on Post Malone's "Rockstar".[4] On Halloween 2017, he released the Offset and Metro Boomin collaboration Without Warning. In December 2018, he released his sophomore album, I Am > I Was which debuted and charted at number one on the Billboard 200 for two consecutive weeks.[5]

Early life

Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was born on October 22, 1992, in Atlanta, Georgia.[6][7] 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.[8]

In the seventh grade, Abraham-Joseph was banned permanently from every single school in the DeKalb County School District due to gun possession.[9] This led him to begin attending schools around the Atlanta metropolitan area before being sent to a youth detention center.[10] 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.[11]

After dropping out, Abraham-Joseph joined a street gang affiliated with the wider Bloods street gang[2] and became a full-time drug dealer, mainly selling cannabis.[11] 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.[12] In 2011, when Abraham-Joseph was 19, he lost his "right hand" man, Larry in a shootout.[11] 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.[13]


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[12] though Savage came from Instagram predictions.[14] His music career was originally subsidized by the uncle of his deceased friend, giving him money for studio time in 2013.[2] 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.[15] The release made him what Interview called an "underground hero in Atlanta".[2]

On July 2, 2015, 21 released a collaborative EP, Free Guwop, with Sonny Digital.[16] It is a tribute EP to fellow rapper and influence Gucci Mane. On December 1, 2015, Abraham-Joseph released his second mixtape, Slaughter King.[17]

2016-17: Savage Mode, Issa Album, and Without Warning

In June 2016, Abraham-Joseph was named as one of the "Freshman Class" of 2016 by XXL.[18] 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.[19] He was on the cover of Fader.[20] His single "X" featuring Future on the EP was confirmed by Billboard as going platinum in the US, being 21's 1st platinum record.[21] On January 18, 2017, Abraham-Joseph announced that he had signed to Epic Records.[22]

In 2017, his debut studio album, Issa Album, debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200.[23][24] Its lead single, "Bank Account", peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.[25][26] Later that year, he was featured on Post Malone's single "Rockstar", which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and broke numerous records. It's Abraham-Joseph's first number 1 song.[4][27][28][29]

On October 31, 2017, a collaborative studio album by Abraham-Joseph, Offset, and Metro Boomin named Without Warning was released. Without Warning debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200[30] and received generally positive reviews from critics. Its lead single, "Ric Flair Drip" peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.[31][32]

2018-present: I Am > I Was

21 Savage in June 2018

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.[33] Later that month, he also appeared on the single "Outstanding" by SahBabii.[34] On March 21st, he was featured on the single "Rover 2.0", which is part of BlocBoy JB's Simi mixtape.[35][36] In the following month, he was featured on Ty Dolla Sign's "Clout", which was part of the deluxe edition of his album Beach House 3.[37]

On October 31, 2018, 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 album. However, it turned out to be the cover for Metro's debut solo album, Not All Heroes Wear Capes.[38]

On December 6, 2018, Abraham-Joseph posted cover art for upcoming album, I Am > I Was, on Instagram, which features a blurred out image of himself, captioning the image with a number of goat emojis.[39] The next day, Abraham-Joseph took to Twitter and his Instagram story to apologize that he "forgot" to release the album, saying on Twitter: "Dam I forgot to drop my album my bad y'all".[40] He announced a new date of December 21st, 2018.[41] The track-list was leaked by record producer Louis Bell via his Instagram story on December 13, 2018.[42][43]

21 Savage released his sophomore studio album I Am > I Was on December 21st, 2018 with features from Travis Scott, Post Malone, Childish Gambino, Offset, J. Cole, Gunna, Lil Baby, Project Pat, and Schoolboy Q.[44][45] None of those acts, however, are credited as artists on the album. I Am > I Was debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 earning 131,000 album-equivalent units (including 18,000 pure album sales), it's Abraham-Joseph's first U.S number one album.[46][47] It was led by "A Lot", featuring vocals from J. Cole. It peaked at number 33 on the US Billboard 100.[48]

Musical style

Called "one of the last street niggas left making music" by frequent collaborator Metro Boomin,[49] Abraham-Joseph's music is heavily autobiographic with emphasis on violent and criminal aspects of his past including murder and drug dealing.[12]


In 2018, 21 Savage reportedly started a movement called "Guns Down, Paintballs Up" which was intended to reduce gun violence.[50] The head of the Detroit Police Department, James Craig, described the movement as "well-intentioned, however, misguided".[51][52] The movement has been linked to several cases of property crime and homicide.[50][53] 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.[50][53]

Controversy arose after Abraham-Joseph pulled out a firearm during a pool party on June 11, 2018.[54] Abraham-Joseph was given the firearm by a friend after seeing an opposing crew member also pull out a pistol.[55]

"ASMR", a song from 21 Savage's sophomore studio album I Am > I Was caused some controversy with its lyrics. The lyrics was: "We been gettin' that Jewish money, everything is kosher." The lyrics came under fire for perpetuating negative Jewish stereotypes when LeBron James shared an Instagram story quoting "ASMR".[56] Abraham-Joseph later apologized claiming on Twitter that "The Jewish people I know are very wise with there money so that's why I said we been gettin' Jewish money. I never thought anyone would take offense, I'm sorry if I offended everybody, never my intention -- I love all people."[57]

Personal life

Abraham-Joseph practices the African religion Ifá.[58][59][60] In the summer of 2017, Savage started dating model Amber Rose.[61][62] As of May 2018, the couple has separated.[63]

He has three children; two boys and one girl. He rarely talks about them, but Abraham-Joseph had posted pictures of them on his Instagram.[64][65]


21 Savage is currently working on his first movie, "Issa Movie".[66]

21 Savage also worked on a YouTube animated mini-series named "Year 2100".[67]


Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2017 BET Awards[68] Best New Artist Himself Nominated
Streamy Awards[69] Breakthrough Artist Nominated
2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards[70] Best New Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
Hip-Hop Song of the Year "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Nominated
Billboard Music Awards[71] 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
American Music Awards[72] Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Song Nominated
Collaboration of the Year Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards[73] Best Song Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards[74] Song of the Year Won
Best Hip-Hop Video "Bartier Cardi" (with Cardi B) Nominated
BET Awards[75] Best Collaboration Nominated
BET Hip Hop Awards[76] Best Featured Verse Nominated
Best Collabo, Duo or Group "Ric Flair Drip" Nominated
2019 Grammy Awards[77] Record of the Year "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Pending
Best Rap/Sung Performance Pending


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External links

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