21 Savage has taken a lot of flack for the way his introspective demeanor projects during his live performances. He always seems a little shy, withdrawn, and maybe even a little sad, which sometimes saps the energy from his stage presence. However, last night on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, it looked like he found the perfect venue and method to deliver one of the most solid performances of his career.
With a live band and soulful backup singers, 21 Savage gave a weighty performance of his reflective I Am > I Was album opener “A Lot” (sans J. Cole) in his first-ever late-night appearance. But the thing that really set the mood was the “soulful stool,” an underrated prop if ever there was one. Since Savage isn’t the most animated rapper around, the stool and mic stand combo gave him a nice, solid anchor, drawing the audience into his words — which are actually very candid and heartfelt — and bringing a poetic vibe to the proceedings. It’s a good look for him, and frankly, maybe more rappers should look into the soulful stool posture.
I Am > I Was, which gave 21 his first No. 1 hit after being pushed back when he “forgot” to turn it in, is still hovering in the top five of the Hot 100, making it his most successful outing yet.