The subject of sex in Range Rovers has become sort of a thing in certain sectors of pop music. Atlanta rapper 21 Savage opens his 2016 record "Savage Mode" with a riff about that, which spins into all kinds of variations on the general topic.
Violence, sex, crime, dope, weapons and threats fill up 21 Savage's menacing tunes. Sometimes the backing tracks are at odds with the rapping — like on the lovely, hypnotic "X" (featuring Future), which has dreamy keyboard, offbeat drum accents and a lilting flute line that gets picked up on a piano toward the end. One grows tired of the contempt for women, but fans of the music seem to find creative ways of talking themselves around that problem.
The relentless triplets of the flow can get a little old, too, but 21 Savage makes up for a lot of that by sounding genuinely strained and crazed. This is a guy who got pulled from seventh grade for carrying a pistol to school. He was selling weed by the time he was 13. The struggle of being booted out of middle school is fresh in his mind. His memory of having friends and loved ones murdered is still part of his world view. He says he's trying to better himself and escape his own karma now, but the music doesn't necessarily sound like someone who's at peace with much.
See 21 Savage at The Dome at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford, on Friday, April 28, at 8 p.m. $30 and up. 203-265-1501 and livenation.com.