Label: Slaughter Gang, LLC/Epic Records
Released: July 7

There might be no artist better suited to these dark times than 21 Savage. No, he’s not particularly political or socially conscious—if anything, he leans the other way—but his relentless, emotionless delivery of even the most disturbing lines (like, say, most if not all of “Thug Life”) are like a consistently horrific Twitter feed you can’t help but follow. His delivery doesn’t change much no matter what the topic, whether it’s copping a Saint Laurent jacket or, on “Close My Eyes,” seeing dead bodies. It’s the affectless tone of someone who never expected to make it, but somehow did. His major-label debut carries over what made him an underground sensation—that natural born killer vocal style over Metro Boomin’ and others’ trap beats, anchored by repetitive hooks that stick in your head like, well, hooks. In the era of mumble rap, there’s a lot of rappers out there we can’t understand that we wish we could. 21 Savage is one that we can understand all too well, and sometimes wish we couldn’t. —Russ Bengtson