"A Lot" is the perfect opener for 21 Savage's excellently sequenced i am > i was album. This is not up for debate. For further evidence, let's consult this new live rendition of the 21 career highlight given to The Tonight Show Monday night.
Complete with a live band and an assortment of voices to bring the track's central East of Underground sample to life, 21 delivered most of the show-improving performance from atop a chair. It all works quite well. See for yourself up top, then revisit the studio version—which notably features some contributions from J. Cole—below:
i am > i was gave 21 his first Billboard 200 chart topper back in December. That same month, he stopped by The Breakfast Club headquarters to talk through a few songs from the album, including the one I'm going on and on about here. As he recalled in the interview, he and Cole first met at JAY-Z's Made in America fest.
"We exchanged numbers and shit," he said. And we always been talking on some big brother, giving me advice on my career shit."
Later, an out-of-nowhere text from Cole resulted in a studio session. "He took the song with him back home to Raleigh, 'cause he drove [...] and then he sent me the shit," he further explained of the "A Lot" journey. "And I was like, 'Damn, this shit hard as fuck.' That was just like some spare-of-the-moment shit. You know I had to go up there and fuck with Cole."