21 Savage Shares Advice From J.Cole, Unnamed Features In 'i am > i was'
"You gotta play my s**t from top-to-bottom, I got a lot of ni**as that you ain't gon' expect."
21 Savage's i am > i was is an evolutionary body of work for the 26-year-old, housing collaboration with allies such as Childish Gambino, Yung Miami, and ScHoolboy Q. But along with those three in this 15-track album, J.Cole makes an unlikely appearance in the project's intro "a lot," bodying the second verse with thought-provoking lines dedicated to Tekashi 69's racketeering case. Speaking with Genius to explain how the unexpected tag-team came into fruition, the "Bank Account" emcee reminisced on the making of this record.
Not initially planned for Cole, "a lot" came after the Forest Hills Drive emcee planned to collab on another track.
"I had sent him a song, but he didn't want to do that song cause it was like I was trying to come in his world and he was like that's what they going to expect us to do, a storytelling song, they are going to expect you to put me on a storytelling song," 21 Savage said. "He called me out the blue probably two or three days before I was done with the album and he drove to Atlanta from Raleigh. 6-hour drive. And he stopped at the studio."
Taking the song back with him to North Carolina, Young Simba laid his verse before the album's arrival on Dec. 21.
Operating with unnamed features, the playlist holds several big names but the physical list does not. Refusing to disclose the magnitude of the album's guest list, Savage only gave listeners song titles to prevent observers from skipping songs. "You just got to listen and see," he said.
Watch the full interview below.