For a rapper who only launched his solo career in 2014, Atlanta MC 21 Savage has an impressive résumé, snagging a verse on Drake's "Sneakin'" and inclusion in XXL's 2016 Freshman Class. Couched in haunting, minimalist beats courtesy in-demand producer Metro Boomin, Savage's newest nine-track EP, Savage Mode, is the trap rapper's strongest yet.

For a rapper who only launched his solo career in 2014, Atlanta MC 21 Savage has an impressive résumé, snagging a verse on Drake's "Sneakin'" and inclusion in XXL's 2016 Freshman Class. Couched in haunting, minimalist beats courtesy in-demand producer Metro Boomin, Savage's newest nine-track EP, Savage Mode, is the trap rapper's strongest yet. The EP's lead single, "X" (featuring Future), went platinum, which is even more impressive considering 21 Savage is going the Chance the Rapper route, releasing his music without any major-label deals.

Though Savage too often uses illicit boasting about sexual escapades like a crutch, the ever-present violence in his music comes from real life experience. On Savage Mode track "No Heart," he says, "I grew up in the streets without no heart" and later raps about shots ringing out in his neighborhood ("thought it was Fourth of July") and getting expelled from school for gun possession in seventh grade. In ninth grade, Savage (born Shayaa Joseph) was kicked out of school for good. On his 21st birthday, he was shot six times next to his best friend, who didn't survive.

Savage began to make a name for himself after releasing single "Picky" and recording debut mixtape, The Slaughter Tape, on gear his little brothers stole from someone's house. Judging by his trajectory, Savage should be able to buy his own gear from here on out. (Safe bet)