21 Savage has untied his sophomore album “I Am > I Was” before the year comes to an end. 21 has been in the game for just a few years and his fans have already watched him grow tremendously as an artist. The new album discovers 21 conveying raps that are either tales from East Atlanta “Zone 6” or representing his journey as a rapper from Atlanta.
Inside an old motel once known as the Glen Royal Inn on the eastside of Atlanta in a city called Decatur, 21 Savage steps outside the box by remodeling the crack motel to give his fans the opportunity to experience an interactive art exhibit called Motel 21. The two-story structure was revealed by red lights with the words “No Vacancy” painted across the building. Before even getting inside, hundreds of people stood in the cold and rain and lined up outside and were patted up and down by several armed guards searching for weapons, to make sure no one has any weapons before entering. The only violence anticipated that night would only be present through the lyrics and art.
The purpose was to give a glimpse inside of multiple rooms that tie into his forthcoming album. Each room you step into has a theme related to a certain song on the album that consist of either installations, performances or activities based off Savage’s life and true Atlanta stories.
21 Savage opens things up with those nights at the basketball court in Zone 6 representing his song “ball w/o You.” With glow-in-the-dark basketballs and hoops in one room, guests are invited to play and shoot.
That’s not the only standout record on the album. Inside of a smoke-filled room sits a single gunman surrounded by a multitude of handguns and automatic rifles as if he was preparing for a hit or shootout.
One room features an obsessive woman who has handcrafted her own personal sanctum with everything about Savage displayed on the walls. Rappers are known for having that crazy stalker fan who is always vying for attention.Years of heavy research digging into his every move, she knows his exact location and concert dates, collection of his favorite cigars, pictures of him with his close friends and family and even the personal letters she made copies of that she has sent to him.
The fourth room represented his song “ a&t” depicting he always has a good night out with the DJ on the play, dancers on the poles and dollar bills tossed around left to right.
The last room was the confession room based off the theme of his album I Am greater than I Was with sticky notes all over the wall. The motel manager Tiffany Burke said she was delighted to be a part of the art project and explained why the ending was so meaningful. “The goal is to embrace each fan to go inside to write their ‘I am’ statement discussing who they used to be to empower them to know that their past doesn’t define who they are right now or their future.”
Motel 21 was one of the most creative displays of imagery to show emotional and reenactments as it relates to 21 Savage’s album and his life. It also shines the light on the life changing side of places like Motels that are often viewed as unlawful and dangerous. Motel 21 is located at 4460 Glenwood Road in Decatur, Georgia, Motel 21 is open until Friday, Dec. 21, the scheduled release date of 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was.