Album Review: 21 Savage & Metro Boomin- Savage Mode 2

21 Savage and Metro Boomin redefines what it means to be a savage in the sequel to the rapper/producer duo’s 2016 project Savage Mode.

During the rollout of 21 Savage’s previous album I Am>I Was, he says in the album’s documentary “I can grow as a person, but y’all still gonna want to hear me smoke people, **** **** and wear designer; like ‘Damn! Y’all wanna keep me in a box.” At the time, this sounded like a strange contrast from the Savage who sent threats of gunplay to his rivals using KKK-themed wordplay in My Choppa Hates ****** , rapped about shooting sprees and home invasions  in No Heart, and aptly titled his debut mixtape The Slaughter Tape. Nevertheless, the album was released to huge commercial success and acclaim from fans and critics alike with songs devoted to more introspective subject matter such as romance and tribulations before fame such as Ball w/o You and A Lot. With activities in his hometown of Atlanta such as a visit to a middle school advocating financial literacy with Congressman Hank Johnson and his annual Issa Back 2 School Drive community events for kids and their families, 21 is poised to mature as a person. Savage Mode 2 reunites the rapper with his frequent collaborator and producer Metro Boomin and revisits his hardcore roots while retaining the introspection and maturity seen in I Am>I Was.

From the start, it is already evident that 21 is ready to return to a murderous and confrontational mood. The track Runnin sets off this vibe with an eerie and ghost-like Diana Ross sample in the background while 808 and hi-hats pound with the pace of someone on a stakeout for his enemies. He raps “Called the first one Savage Mode, my mood, that’s what it was/2016, we was ridin around, beatin ****** up in the club” and “He was talking gangster, we caught him at a light/I let my young ***** do it, it was free, he wanted a stripe”, immediately echoing the nihilism of the first Savage Mode. The following track Glock In My Lap continues the onslaught with horror movie-esque strings and piano in the instrumental while Savage fires with bars like “Leave an opp cold, like December, .45 on me it’s a Kimber/AK knockin down trees like timber, Get your baby mama ‘fore we bend her”. Other tracks such as Many Men expand his tales with themes of jealousy and revenge with lines such as “Many men  wanna kill me, dawg, I feel like 50, I got small fries want my spot tryna defeat me/I got real model bitches tryna R&B me, All that cap inside your raps, I ain’t even play your CD”, keeping one foot in the streets and the other in his newfound life of higher status. There’s even a song reminiscent of 1980s and 1990’s gangsta rap in Steppin On ******, with breakbeat-heavy production and a simplified flow evoking classics like NWA’s Boyz N the Hood and Ice-T’s 6 N The Mornin.

Despite the album’s predominantly gangsta rap vibe, 21 balances the grim content with some songs reflecting themes surrounding his current life. Mr. Right Now shows off a somewhat more romantic side for females with a very sexual Drake verse and lines such as “Ayy, turn your phone off, take your clothes off, I’m a savage but I **** her to a slow song”/Turn the lights down, lay the pipe down, I ain’t Mr. Right, but I’m Mr. Right Now.” Rich ***** ****  with Young Thug celebrates the excesses of fame with its hazy mid-tempo production and  bars like “Saint Laurent the only thing I put on my back, Off-White jeans look like cooked crack/I call my Porsche stomach ‘cause the **** snatch, Gave my girl a dub now her butt fat/You might take your women to the Louis store, My ******* be askin ‘Where’s Chanel at”. On a more serious note, RIP Luv laments 21’s more personal struggles with intimate relationships. In this track, he raps “Woulda never went against you ever, I even tried to make the grudge settle/Yeah I heard you slept with a couple fellas, Still treated you like a virgin because I know you better.” Metro Boomin elevates the instrumental with guitar licks to capture its somber mood.

After the release of the original Savage Mode in 2016, one would think that 21’s definition of savage is to dominate all of his opposition in the context of the streets. With this album, he proves that being savage is to stay focused and keep fighting to be at the top of his game. Metro Boomin’s cinematic production and 21 Savage’s ever evolving perspective makes this one of the most memorable hip hop albums of 2020.

Score: 9/10

Written by: Kristian Gonzales

Picture source: Genius

Linkin Park Releases Album Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)

When you think of Linkin Park, one thing that comes to mind is Chester Bennington, the lead singer. Bennington was 41 years old when we lost the talented singer to suicide; however, his legacy lives today through music with the band Linkin Park. Their music provides the tools in dealing with trauma; both fans and Chester benefited from it.   


Screenshot of Chester Bennington from Instagram: @chesterbe

On October 24, 2000, rock band Linkin Park released their debut album “Hybrid Theory,” which changed the rock music world. Twenty years later, the band releases their highly anticipated “Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition” via Warner Records.

The anniversary edition includes original songs from the album and unreleased tracks, including the highly demanded track “pictureboard,” which fans have requested for the past twenty years. The anniversary album also includes never before heard demos from twenty years ago, rarities, B-sides, DVDs, and 95 minutes of never-before-seen footage and other extras. Band member Mike Shinoda did an unboxing of the twenty-anniversary edition, which can be viewed here.

Extras in the limited-edition box set include an 80-page book containing contributions from the band and unseen photos, a cassette reproduction of the original 2-track street team sampler, a poster of Chester Bennington, three lithographs, and replica tour laminate. Purchase of the box set, which includes these items if in stock are at linkinpark.com


Screenshot of Linkin Park Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Box Set Contents from linkinpark.com

Linkin Park launched nonprofit 501 (c)(3) Music For Relief in 2005 to support and aid victims of natural disasters and prevent such tragedies. Music For Relief has raised over $9 million for victims worldwide, ranging from disasters including Hurricane Katrina, Wenchuan Earthquake in China, the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, and the two 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. 

Linkin Park Hybrid Theory defined a generation by incorporating alternative rock, hip-hop, and electronic. The album officially certified 12 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), reports sales of at least 12 million copies. Singles for the album included “Crawling,” “In the End,” and “One Step Closer” with single “In the End,” reaching a milestone of 1-billion views on YouTube this past summer, following the music video for “Numb.” Awards from the album include a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for Crawling, and then Best Rock Video for “In the End” at the MTV Video Music Awards.

You can stream “Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Edition” on Spotify and Apple Music.

Written By: Mike Stark @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram





New Electronic Music Discoveries

Check out these tunes if you like electronic dance music.

In this blog, I’m going to highlight electronic music that has recently been released, as well as those that are soon to be. Mark your calendars and open your music libraries because you will definitely find some good music in here!

Upside down (feat. Grouplove) – Whethan, Grouplove

I love Whethan and I love his new song! It’s definitely a happy beat to listen to.

Get By – Medasin, Cautious Clay

This was the first single released from Medasin’s upcoming album. I really love the vibe of this song, and how Medasin and Cautious Clay combined their sounds into it.

“Es Isso” – Habstrakt, Asdek

If you like bass house, you’ll love Habstrakt’s new song! It definitely gets you hype.

Free Your Mind – Big Gigantic

I really love Big Gigantic’s new album! It is so pretty and highlights Big Gigantic completely. Definitely give it a listen!

“Every Color” (with Foster the People) – Louis the Child, Foster the People

I really liked this song. I like the collaboration between these two artists, because they fit together! Foster the People and future bass are an awesome combo.

“Never The Same” – STRFKR

This song is definitely a chill vibe. One of my new favorites.

“Ghosts” (feat. Hana) – Tchami, HANA and “Proud” (feat. Daecolm) – Tchami, Daecolm

Tchami is one of my all-time favorite house music artists. Both of these songs are so good and I’ve listened to them nonstop! Check these out if you love house music vibes.

RIPPLS – Medasin (album released March 6)

Medasin comes out with his new album RIPPLS on March 6! I read other people’s tweets reacting over his listening premiere and they have only good things to say about it. I am excited to see his creativity and soul projected in this album.

“The Difference” – Flume, Toro y Moi (song released March 11)

For those of you that don’t know, Flume is my absolute favorite electronic music artist. I am so excited to see what he has to show us with this new song — I heard it was drum and bass!

I hope some of these songs have expanded your music library! Check out these artists for some awesome new music.

Written by: Alexandra Gex

New Music Friday With Mike – February 14

For this week’s “New Music Friday,” we have new releases from Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, and more.

Happy Friday and Valentine’s Day! We made it to the end of another week, phew. Welcome to the first “New Music Friday” where every week, I update you on what’s fresh out for music. This week we had a ton of new music drop from all of your favorite artists, so let’s dive right in.

Justin Bieber – Changes

Justin Bieber’s highly anticipated new album Changes is finally here and a great valentines day present for all. A lot of changes have happened since the singer’s previous album Purpose, which was released in 2015. He is now married to Hailey Baldwin, which has been an inspiration to the album. The singer also informed us of his battle with Lyme Disease. Justin stopped by the MTV studios and told MTV’s Sway Calloway the vibe of the album is “super R&B influenced” and features include Quavo, Post Malone, Clever, Lil Dicky, Travis Scott, and Khelani. You can stream Changes everywhere on music streaming platforms. You can also check out the tour schedule on his website to find if Justin is coming to a city near you. Good news local beliebers, Justin will be stopping in San Diego on May 26, 2020.

Justin Bieber – Intentions feat. Quavo | Music Video

Billie Eilish – “No Time To Die”

Screenshot of tweet from 007 twitter account stating that Billie Eilish will be performing "No Time To Die" as the theme song for the next 007 movie.
Twitter Announcement from @007 on Twitter announcing Billie Eilish performing “No Time To Die”

The theme song for the upcoming 007 James Bond movie is here. Billie Eilish with “No Time To Die.” Billie and brother Finneas co-write the song which was announced on the official James Bond 007 Twitter account back on January 14, 2020. Eilish, 18, is the youngest person to write and perform the 007 theme song. Other past theme song performers of the franchise include Tina Turner, Wings, Madonna, Adele, and Sam Smith. You can stream “No Time To Die” on music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and more. The movie No Time To Die comes out on April 10, 2020.

Sam Smith – “To Die For”

This week, New Music Friday falls on Valentine’s Day and, of course, I had to throw in a song that fits perfectly for all my single friends out there. Sam Smith’s “To Die For.” Sam expressed to Rolling Stone, “…This is for all the lonely hearts out there on another Valentine’s Day.” Thank you, Sam Smith, I truly needed this one. In addition to releasing “To Die For” Sam also informed us that his third studio album is set for release on May 1, 2020. Pre-orders for the album begin February 15, 2020.

Sam Smith – To Die For | Music Video

More New Music from February 14

Other songs that dropped today include:

What new music are you listening to or have on repeat this weekend? Let me know by hitting me up on Twitter or Instagram @mikestarkca See you next week for another New Music Friday update.

Written By: Mike Stark