21 Savage is one of the most under-appreciated feature artists in rap right now. While he’s very skilled at making solo records and crafting vivid worlds with his concept albums, his skill for tearing apart guest verses has gone largely unnoticed. The combination of his unique whispering tone and menacing delivery creates standout moments on every song he’s been on this year, and the rapper has made it a point to only get better on each new appearance.
It’s been nearly two years since the release of 21’s last studio album, Savage Mode 2, with Metro Boomin, but he’s been keeping fans fed in the interim with a steady diet of elite bars. His streak of impressive guest verses started in 2021 with standout appearances on tracks like Roddy Ricch’s “Hibachi,” J. Cole’s “My Life,” and his viral song with Drake “Knife Talk” on Certified Lover Boy. Each of these performances demonstrated a different lyrical pocket that the Atlanta rapper has, and acted as a primer for the bars he’s delivered in 2022.
What makes a 21 Savage feature so impressive is the way he’s able to diversify his flow. Similar to Pusha T, 21 has mastered the art of rapping about the same thing all the time (in most cases horror and hood politics), while managing to make every new verse sound fresh. It’s a testament to his creativity and lyrical ability.
The Atlanta rapper has also been working with a wider variety of artists this year, from his pop-friendly collaboration with Calvin Harris on “New Money,” to his linking up with Tyler, the Creator over Pharrell’s impressive production on “Cash In Cash Out,” and more.
These verses all reflect 21 Savage’s ability to produce technically savvy bars infused with his devilish aesthetics. If these guest verses are any indicator of where his pen is at right now, then the rap game should be on notice.
As 2022 comes to an end, we waded through over half a dozen features to rank the best 21 Savage guest appearances of the year so far.