Psalms Of The Hood: 21 Savage's Mumble Rap Is What We Need In Trump’s America

Psalms Of The Hood: 21 Savage's Mumble Rap Is What We Need In Trump’s America

Savage’s menacing presence is a confrontation to present day America, voicing issues of systematic racism through repetitive odes.

Beneath the glistening gold chains and the so-called 8Ms in the bank account, there is something so rudimentary to 21 Savage that diverges far from the ostentatious façade he seems to cling so tightly onto. An acolyte to Gucci Mane, Savage belongs to the transformative Hip hop lineage of the new generation, creating Billboard 100 hits derived from mixtapes and SoundCloud tracks along with bards including novelty Lil Uzi Vert, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Pump.

Though often characterized as bland and relatively uniform, Savage’s monotonous voice is rather an undervalued commodity hidden among those of his contemporaries. Aside from the levity and carnal pleasures that are often associated with the assortment of materialistic “Saint Laurent jacket”, “Rolex on fleek” and “Issa Goyard”, Savage voices the inscrutable concerns from the people of color by stressing what they are most deprived of – money.

Perhaps it is the immediacy of violence and fear derived from the original nomenclature “savage”, that drives his audience through the trap aesthetics to Savage’s metaphysical interior – a tragic tale of extremities beginning at a very young age. A character of many depths, Savage is an Atlanta native of Haitian and Dominican descent. Reared under the influences of crack-dealer father and the brutal callings of the streets, Savage does not flinch to the cruelty of omnipresent violence so essential to his upbringing.

From carrying a gun to school in seventh grade as “protection from bullies” to fostering a burgeoning career in prescription opiates during his late teens, Savage belongs to the niche of cliché hood kids the privileged Americans have become so accustomed of knowing.

In this jaundiced era where our president forgot to acknowledge the Jews in a Holocaust remembrance statement, accused to have funded ads that associate Native Americans with drug abuse and repeatedly called the Mexican communities as rapists, everyone is almost obliged to pinpoint themselves on the scatterplot of racial inequality.

Savage’s debut solo album Issa Album, aside from all the mumble rap, is an excruciating tale of the racial and financial landscape of colored communities in present-day America. There is no absence of guns, drug abuse, or racism in Issa Album, where Savage is chiefly committed reminding us the complexity belonging to the people of color.

Through the track “Nothin New”, produced by Metro Boomin and Zaytoven, Savage delves into the socioeconomic plight of colored communities. Howbeit lacking the same fervency as his celebrated singles like “Famous” and “Bank Account”, “Nothin New” is a brutally honest account of Savage’s own tangible experiences, bringing the audience into close proximity of his mystique. “Im tryna feed my family, I ain’t being political” is just among one of the most incisive lines in this track, addressing head-on the poverty issues so entrenched within the projects. Visuals for “Nothin New” opens with prominent figures - Colin Kaepernick, Barack Obama and, Lebron James. After the famous clip of Lebron James’ unapologetic scorn, calling Trump a “bum.”, the video cuts to a scene where Savage is at a funeral.

“Nothin New” follows a life of a young girl – a daughter of a prisoner and an addict. As the video unfolds, she is later caught for robbery and shot by the police. Frankly, Savage’s unraveling of America's systematic and institutional racism is quite a touch of a genius. Incorporating his signature monotonous rapping with a compelling tale inspired by his own psyche, Savage is able to bypass the superficiality typically attributed to his music and interrogate issues so inherently relevant to our society.

In a primordial sense, Savage is the poster child of the hood. He’s been there, he’s done that. Issa Album, despite all its controversies, is not simply about “getting high, getting laid, and getting money”. Just as Savage tweeted in late November, “Our music is a reflection of what’s going on in our community and all we doing is using our talent to escape that community”, Issa Album is a psalter as well as a desperate wail from ethnic enclaves all across the nation, calling for attention.

With a revised travel ban under the mischievous name of “national security” looming around the corners of the Supreme Court, the nation ought to rethink the rationales for seclusion. A year after the election, as divided and as exclusive as we were, our society is still fighting to plow the same old weeds, so deeply rooted within. And herein lies the central problem, when and how are we going to exempt the new colored generation from these racial norms?

Maybe, after all, President Trump should give Issa Album a listen.

Cover Image Credit: John Cannon

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.


Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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