Before stepping on stage at Los Angeles’ Shrine Expo Hall Friday night (July 19), rapper 21 Savage made sure the crowd knew where he came from and what he stands for.
In a video showing footage from the beginning of his career in 2013, Savage paid homage to his brother Tay Man and best friend Johnny B, who were both killed in gang-related incidents. “Everything’s about the streets,” a younger Savage — a.k.a. Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — said in the clip.
“I don’t wanna be famous, I don’t wanna be the best rapper in the game. Just give me all the money.”
The stage was set up to look like a volcano, with rock-encrusted stairs leading to an upper level with a large screen for visuals. Everything flashed a lava-like red, and then with a blue lightning strike, 21 Savage appeared as if out of thin air.
What followed was a solid set of his most-loved tracks, supplemented with a couple of surprise guests.
Below, find the eight best moments from the show.
21 Savage didn’t say much during his hour-long set, but when he did, the phrase “Hell yeah” was somehow involved. Though it served its purpose of heightening audience participation, it definitely got a bit repetitive. Variations included: “If you don’t give a fuck about what nobody says about you say hell yeah!” “If you was born in Los Angeles, lemme hear you say hell yeah!” and “If you’re in savage mode tonight say hell yeah!” Hell yeah!
Trappin’ So Hard
An early musical highlight of the night was his 2016 hit “No Heart,” which got the crowd going crazy. Halfway through the song, he even cut the backing track and allowed the audience to rap the words a cappella, which led to “Young Savage, why you trappin’ so hard” vibrating through the auditorium.
Posty Makes an Appearance
In what was perhaps the best moment of the show, Post Malone came out to perform their No.1 song and collaboration “rockstar.” The crowd’s excitement had a ripple effect, resulting in a deafening roar as Malone began to sing the iconic chorus. The two playfully performed the song and ended it with a long hug.
After “rockstar,” Savage took a short break while another video played for the audience. This time it was all about his recent ICE detainment, which shocked fans who had no idea he was British-born. News clips flashed on the screen, with all of the reporters’ eyes crossed out to mimic Savage’s i am > i was album cover. It ended with moving shows of fan support and the subsequent news of his release.
Savage re-emerged in a new outfit to perform “a lot,” the biggest track off of his new album and a personal ode to his struggles. Its placement after the video interlude made the lyrics mean even more: “I been through the storm and it turned me to a G/ But the other side was sunny, I get paid to rap on beats.”
In another hilarious audience call-and-response chant, Savage singled out both the guys and girls in the room. “Ladies, if you’ve ever been cheated on before, if you’ve ever had your heart broken, scream f–k ‘em!” Middle fingers flew in the air as the women responded. “Fellas, if you’ve ever had a bitch that f–ked your friend and then f–ked your other friend and then f–ked me and then came back and kissed you, say f–k ‘em!” Despite its specific nature, the guys delivered an even more resounding response. Savage then launched into legendary track “X,” giving the crowd the opportunity to flex on their ex.
“Bank Account” with Metro Boomin
“Bank Account” ended the set, but not before Savage brought out yet another guest: Metro Boomin, his main producer and frequent collaborator. Boomin wrote and produced the track with Savage and stood by his side as the audience chanted the infectious chorus.
In place of a goodbye, Savage paid tribute to a fallen hero: “Thank you, L.A. I just wanna say RIP Nipsey Hussle,” Savage said. “We lost a real soldier.” The crowd cheered in agreement, with scattered yells of “RIP” ringing out into the night.
21 Savage’s Shrine Expo Hall Set List
“My Choppa Hate N—as”
“Don’t Come Out The House”
“10 Freaky Girls”
“Rap Saved Me”
“BBO (Bad Bitches Only)” (Migos cover)
“Wish Wish” (DJ Khaled cover)
“rockstar” (with Post Malone)
“ball w/o you”
“break da law”
“out for the night”
“can’t leave without it”
“Bank Account (with Metro Boomin)”