21, 21, 21... When exactly did the number become a steady part of the hip-hop vernacular? It wasn't too long ago. In late 2014, 21 Savage dropped "Picky," one of the first songs he had ever recorded. The track would go on to buzz among street enthusiasts in Atlanta, and it would land on The Slaughter Tape, released in May 2015, which ensured that the early sensation surrounding the murderous street dweller was only the beginning.

In recent memory, few rappers have experienced such a sudden rise to stardom as 21 Savage. If his trajectory since 2014 is telling, then the best is still to come -- that being said in the wake of collaborations with Drake, Meek Mill, and Travis Scott as well as a joint album with one of hip-hop's best producers. His stock has risen sharply with each of the four projects he has put out, though there have been certain songs on each release that have blown up to an increasingly unprecedented degree and defined the narrative of his young career. 

Even though he's got hits now, it still feels like the mystery and allure of 21 Savage is unfolding. With masochistic hearts and a sinister gaze, we eagerly await for him to present us with his world in its full savagery. "Fast forward n*gga, 2016, and I'm screamin' fuck a deal," he raps on Savage Mode's "No Heart." The authenticity of that line -- four months later -- is perhaps the most compelling evidence that he's on a path towards greatness.