Rapper 21 Savage wants fans to separate his lyrics from his actual stance on gun violence. The rapper sparked an online debate when he tweeted, “Atlanta We Have To Do Better Put The F****** Guns Down!!!!!”
His remarks, which were made on Aug. 8, came just hours after two people were killed and four others, including a 6-year-old child, were shot during a softball game at Atlanta’s Dunbar Park. Savage is known for his records such as “Glock in My Lap,” “Ghostface Killers” and “Dead People” that valiantly highlight violent acts of crime involving guns.
A sampling of lyrics include: “Stray bullets hittin kids while they playin hop scotch.” “Pull up to your mama house keep shooting there till somebody dies.” “I just bought a pistol it got 30 rounds in it, pull up to ya momma house and put sum rounds in it.” Online, several people were quick to accuse Savage of being a hypocrite for rapping one thing but then saying the complete opposite online.
“Regardless his still putting negative energy out in the universe just by speaking it in his rhythms,” read a comment.
Another person wrote,”I wish people didn’t glorify shootings to the point where it’s used for entertainment but whatevs.”
“You can’t make money off of promoting gun violence and gang activity, then try to act like you’re an activist,” wrote a third critic.
In a subsequent tweet, the Atlanta emcee hit back at the criticism by writing, “A Song Is For Entertainment It’s Not An Instruction Manual On How To Live Life. In Real Life I Give Away A lot Of Money And Spread Financial Literacy To My Community Stop Trying To Make Me 1 Dimensional.”
He further doubled-down on his stance by addressing the topic in a live chat on social. In part he said the uptick in shooting and gun-related deaths leaves him feeling “depressed,” and that it’s unlike any other time he has experienced in Atlanta.
“When I speak up on that they say I’m a hypocrite. ‘You this, you that.’ I ain’t never promoted violence. I just rap about what I been through, what I’ve heard about, what I saw. That ain’t me promoting violence, that’s not me saying violence is cool or whatever — yeah I say a lot of s—t on songs. It’s catchy, people like it,” said the “No Heart” lyricist. He went on to argue that at the end of the day he is making music that fans like so that he can provide for his family and contribute to his community.
He continued, “If I started making music about Jesus Christ and turkey drives and s–t like that — how many fans would I have? Zero. How would I be able to feed my family rapping if I was rapping about that type of s—t? Y’all gotta be realistic, like a lot of y’all just be getting on here just writing comments just to like try and get likes and s—t and try to be cool and s—t. That s—t be lame. It’s a lot of young people who come from these environments we come from that found a way to feed they family and feed a lot of people in they community and neighborhoods by making this type of music.”
On Aug. 7, Savage teamed up with fellow Atlanta rapper Lil Baby and the Goodr organization to provide backpacks, school supplies, snacks, haircuts, and more to upwards of 3,000 children.