Quiet raps are a thing again. The current resurgence is indebted to Valee, but its commercial peak remains 2005’s Ying Yang Twins hit “Wait (The Whisper Song).” It’s that song, more than anyone else, that hip-hop’s favorite knife tatted, horrorcore wordsmith, Shayaa “21 Savage” Abraham-Joseph, is channeling on an early favorite from Metro Boomin’s star-studded Not All Heroes Wear Capes.
On “Don’t Come Out The House,” Savage does what he does best — rap about the brutal reality of his upbringing, while detailing why other rappers are broke, lame or not him — over an ominous Metro Boomin and Tay Keith beat. What he does new here is whisper his first verse. 21 doesn’t whisper the entire song. Just so you’re aware that he’s raised his register he bluntly raps, “Y’all must thought that I was gon’ whisper the whole time” — well yeah, it sounded cool, why wouldn’t we?
After he shifts gears, it becomes clear that the song has more going on than one attention-grabbing idea. Instead, the Issa rapper finds time to take up his second and arguably more thrilling skill, comedy. 21 Savage has a knack for one-liners: “Levi jeans, low self-esteem, he on BlackPeopleMeet” is a callous takedown of a large amount of normal African-American men who presumably did nothing to harm 21. He follows that bar a couple of seconds later with the equally hilarious, but nonetheless frightening description of his dreams: “Who want smoke ’cause I want smoke, I had a wet dream about beef.”
If “Don’t Come Out The House” has competition for the best song on Metro Boomin’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes, it’s Savage’s other contribution, “10 Freaky Girls.” Any song that shouts out Sandy Cheeks from Spongebob Squarepants and pauses to say “rest in peace to Harriet Tubman” is hard to top. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Savage’s whisper raps meme themselves into the popular consciousness. It’s already trending on Twitter, because of course, it is.