Rapper 21 Savage and producer Metro Boomin returned with another joint album, “Savage Mode II,” which included features from the usual suspects, including Drake, Young Thug, and a slew of other rap artists. However, a guest appearance from award-winning actor Morgan Freeman, who narrated the project, threw fans for a loop.
Yet, Morgan, nicknamed “the voice of God,” found his placement on the album which — in the week ending Oct. 8, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart — to be quite fitting. During an interview with GQ, the Academy Award winner explained just how the collaboration came about. Freeman noted that he wanted to work on a project that didn’t present him as the “nice guy” with whom fans are familiar.
“What happens is you sort of get locked into a position,” Freeman explained. “Henry Fonda was in it, Spencer Tracy was in it, James Stewart was in it, even though he played a couple of bad guys. You don’t really don’t want to be cast into a mold, but after a few years, it’s bound to happen. Every [offer] that’s outside of what you consider [your] mold is fun to do. I got to jump at it.”
Freeman told the publication, “I read the copy and was like, ‘Wow, there’s some wisdom in here.’ After reading the script, the actor said he simplified the monologues to their central themes and values. “I think this is the way I think. It’s basically saying don’t suffer fools and when you want something go for that. If [Savage’s music] is a young people thing, then this is stuff they need to be aware of. So it’s a good thing to do,” he said. The Hollywood veteran recorded all seven of his monologues at home, on his iPhone, and with no improvisations.
Aside from an unexpected guest feature, 21 Savage’s album cover was heavily influenced by iconic Houston-based design company Pen & Pixel, whose graphics, for a time, were identified with Southern rap. The rapper touched on how he’d changed musically since his 2018 project “I AM > I Was” to “Savage Mode II.”
“I just care more about my craft,” the rapper revealed. He added, “I don’t like just throwing music out, I never have, but especially now, I want my music to stick. A lot of artists just throwing music out and the fans forget about it a week later, so focusing on making quality is something that I focus hard on.”