21 Savage Says Atlanta Is in a 'Dark Place' After Takeoff's Death: 'Just Ain't the Same'
Johnny Nunez/WireImage, Prince Williams/Wireimage 21 Savage; Takeoff
21 Savage is opening up about how Takeoff's death has impacted Atlanta as a whole.
21, who Complex named its best rapper of 2022 this week, spoke with the publication as part of the yearly recognition. During the interview, the England-born and Atlanta-based rapper shared his thoughts on recent challenges and tragedies in the city's rap scene — from Young Thug and YSL's ongoing RICO case to the shooting of Takeoff in November.
"You can feel a lot of energy missing from Atlanta right now," 21, real name Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, said. "Atlanta just ain't the same, honestly. That s--- be really driving me crazy. I feel like we took a lot of big ass losses last year. I don't feel like we'll ever recover from that s---, if I'm being honest. Especially with Takeoff."
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty for Coachella 21 Savage
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"I feel like we're just in a dark place right now in Atlanta, as far as our energy," he continued. "Going outside ain't the same, clubs ain't the same, you just feel it."
After being asked by Complex's Jordan Rose about what it would take to restore the feeling in Atlanta, 21 explained that sometimes that isn't always possible. "I feel like certain people, when you lose them or they're not physically able to be present, certain people just aren't replaceable," he said. "There's nothing you can do to fill that void. I really don't think there's nothing we can do for real, but hold on to what we have left and cherish what we have left."
Back in November, Takeoff, real name Kirsnick Khari Ball, was killed in an early-morning shooting in Houston, Texas. The shooting took place at the front door of a Houston bowling alley after a private party with fellow Migos rapper Quavo, when an altercation broke out. Takeoff has since been honored by numerous peers in hip-hop and beyond — as the Migos rapper was celebrated at Atlanta's State Farm Arena by over 20,000 fans.
Among those present were Quavo, Offset, Cardi B, Justin Bieber and Drake, all who paid tribute to his legacy through performances and personal reflections at the official Celebration of Life.
As for 21, his Complex recognition comes just months after he and Drake released their No. 1 charting collaboration album Her Loss. The album — while stirring up lawsuits over its promotion and controversy over a line that many fans suspect to be in reference to Megan Thee Stallion — was something 21 approached like any other effort, he said.
"I feel like I gained new fans from it. I think it put me on a broader scale. It leveled me up for sure, it made me hotter for sure," 21 said. "But I also think that comes from me not having any music out. It's just been straight features for two years before that s--- happened. I think [my fans] wanted me to drop, so whatever I dropped was going to do that. People were ready to hear me rap, so I think that's what I got from it too, it fed my fans."
When asked about the Drake verse on song "Circo Loco" that seemingly accused Megan of lying about being shot by singer Tory Lanez, 21 explained that he didn't feel a diss was "intentional."
"Remember when I said I was telling him to not hold back, people tried to twist that to make it seem like I was talking about that situation," he said. "That bar was more of, like, a joke bar than him trying to say something about her. But I don't really like speaking on people's situations because life be real."
21's next move is likely a trip on tour with Drizzy, as the Canadian rapper announced an apparent tour during his Apollo Theater shows over the weekend. "I'm just waiting on him to let me know what we're doing," 21 told Complex of a potential joint tour. "More than likely yeah, I think so."