7 Things We Learned From 21 Savage's Interview on DJ Akademiks' 'Off the Record'

As he’s touring the country with J. Cole, Atlanta superstar 21 Savage stopped by DJ Akademiks’ new podcast 'Off the Record' for an extensive interview.


Image via Getty/Taylor Hill


As he’s touring the country with J. Cole, Atlanta superstar 21 Savage stopped by DJ Akademiks’ new podcast Off the Record for an extensive interview.

Appearing alongside his manager Meezy, the rapper spoke about a wide variety of topics including who his city’s biggest rapper is and why he didn’t want to work with Kanye West on Donda. Recorded just before 21’s set at Governor’s Ball over the weekend, the I Am > I Was creator also broke down who he thinks is running the rap game right now, and why he believes NBA YoungBoy wasn’t offered support from the wider rap community.

Read a breakdown of seven key moments from DJ Akademiks’ interview below, and check out the full Off the Record podcast above via Spotify.

Early in the conversation, Akademiks and 21 spoke at length about Drake. Savage suggested that for many hip-hop fans in Atlanta, Future is bigger Drake.

“If I wasn’t a rapper, I don’t feel like I still would listen to Drake, for real,” he said at the 2:30 point of the episode. “It’s just, I’m a rapper so I understand the work he put in and how hard he goes. Like, when you ain’t no rapper, all those statistics don’t mean shit. A regular street n***a don’t give a fuck about how many times you went No. 1, how many white people listen to your shit, because the farthest they think is the club. … In Atlanta, there’s n***as who you really can’t tell them that Future ain’t bigger than Drake.”

He added that he “used to think that” too, adding, “Drake ain’t really no big mixtape artist out there.”

When the clip circulated ahead of the episode arriving, 21 clarified on Twitter that he was “disconnected from mainstream music” before he was a rapper. “I didn’t know what Spotify was,” he wrote. “All we knew was mixtapes.”

While Drake made his name with chart-topping songs, Future built up his through a series of stellar mixtapes, some of which have only just been made available on streamings services. “Every Future album I ever heard was a bootleg, n***as was bootlegging it or going to LiveMixtapes,” Savage said.

At the start of the podcast, 21 also revealed the first time he ever listened to a Drake album the whole way through was with 2016’s Views. “Of course I heard him,” he added. “That was my first time listening to a Drake album top-to-bottom, on my kids.” The two would later go on to collaborate the same year with “Sneakin,” a one-off single Drizzy dropped ahead of his More Life project.

“I don’t think nobody really run it,” said 21 Savage at the 16:45 point when asked who’s in charge of the game currently. “I think it’s everybody contribute they piece and it just makes it what it is. You damn near can’t drop an album without Lil Baby on it, I think. So I’d say he’s the most featured n***a. You got everybody who do they own thing, bring they own sounds to it.”

As the topic continued, 21 said he doesn’t personally “really think about my status” in the world of hip-hop. “I don’t talk about it,” he said, to which Akademiks suggested “you wanna get recognition.”

21 replied, “I got it, I just don’t got the internet recognition. I got a Grammy, that’s recognition right? So fuck all that other shit, I don’t care about all that other shit. ... I want the money, I don’t care for 13-year-olds saying ‘Savage is No. 1.’”

Akademiks and Meek Mill have been trading shots for a number of years this point, mostly stemming from Ak being on friendly terms with 6ix9ine. But 21 thinks Meek would be willing to resolve their issues if they sat down for a chat.

“Meek willing. I know that n***a, he’s a good n***a,” Savage said at the 33:00 point. “The same way I know you, I know him. He just ain’t finna let you play with him, the same way you ain’t gonna let him play with you.”

With a smile on his face, Meezy tried to get 21 to call Meek, but 21 said “he’ll probably hang up.” 

He thinks "a lot" of people won't support YoungBoy Never Broke Again because "they f*ck with [Lil] Durk"

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Near the 52:00 mark, Akademiks suggested YoungBoy Never Broke Again hasn’t received a lot of support from people in the industry.

“You know why the fuck that shit like that. It’s their sides,” he said. “You got him, and Quando [Rondo], and a lot of n***as fuck with Durk. A lot of n***as ain’t gonna fuck with YoungBoy shit ’cause they fuck with Durk. … You don’t really gotta pick sides, but it’s like some n***as…I don’t know, you gotta be a certain type of artist to be able to just be in the middle. Can’t no n***a who say they know street n***as be in the middle, if you really fuck with a n***a.”

When it was asked if 21 would “pick a side” when there’s serious beef between two artists, he confirmed he would. He later said he’s received some hate from others in the industry due to his connection with No Plug, who admitted to being involving with Bankroll Fresh’s murder. “Rest in peace Bankroll,” Savage added.

21 touched on the topic of Kanye West’s Donda, offering his thoughts on the project and explaining why he would have turned down the opportunity to work ’Ye at that moment.

“I wouldn't have wanted to be on Donda if I'm going to be on CLB," said 21. "Me, personally. That's just the type of n***a I am."

When Ak suggested it was ridiculous to think 21 would turn down the opportunity to be on Donda, Savage continued. "I'm talkin' 'bout when n***as get smoked behind shit. ... That's why I said the Donda and CLB shit, I was probably exaggerating a little bit but I fuck with Drake so hard...I don't know."

Before they discussed why he wouldn’t be on Donda, 21 took a moment to ask Akademiks if he preferred Kanye or Drake’s record. Ak said CLB was his favorite even if the two projects are very different.

“Yeah, I like CLB too,” 21 added. “If I felt Donda was harder I would’ve said…I couldn’t really get into Donda, there was too much going on.”

The topic of Verzuz battles came up, and instead of the idea of who 21 might face, the prospect of Atlanta squaring up against another city was floated. The Savage Mode II rapper thinks it would be an easy win for ATL.

“City versus city, fuck no. Even if we did all the old n***as,” 21 said, to which Ak added it might be more appropriate to have multiple cities face Atlanta. Savage went on: “I ain’t gonna lie, n***as be getting it twisted too though, ’cause n***as be thinking everybody in Atlanta’s cool and shit. But we just don’t do that shit on the internet, like, it ain’t gonna be no public shit. It ain’t all kumbaya and shit.”

21 Savage initially had no idea 6ix9ine attended one of his club performances

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21 Savage has dissed 6ix9ine numerous times, and it escalated to a heated argument on Clubhouse last month. 6ix9ine was also spotted at one of 21’s club performances earlier in the year in Miami, presumably to provoke a reaction out of Savage, but at the time Tekashi was simply ignored. When asked about the situation, 21 admitted he and Meezy had no idea he was even there.

Meezy said when he heard a few people say 6ix9ine was at the club, he laughed it off. “This gotta be a white club,” he joked around the 65:00 point. “Never seen him, but I know he’s here.” When he told 21 Savage that 6ix9ine was there, too, 21 laughed it off.

“Even if I seen him, I don’t got no intention to do nothing to you, you just a rat, you go your way, I go my way,” the “Snitches & Rats” rapper said. “It ain’t need no smoke.”

Savage also said what Wack 100 alleged about it being on-sight for anyone dissing is “cap,” because “that ain’t how it go.” 21 also added that Tekashi had a lot of security with him at the time.

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