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Meaning of the song ‘a lot’ by ’21 Savage’

Released: 2018

“a lot” by 21 Savage is a potent narrative that marries the stark realities of street life with personal accountability and redemption. Through a series of questions and confessions, Savage explores the themes of success, loyalty, street violence, and personal growth amid adversity.

The song kicks off with a haunting question, “How much money you got?” which immediately sets the tone for a deep dive into the material and moral inventory of Savage’s life. Each question following this opener—ranging from “How many problems you got?” to “How many niggas you shot?”—is meant to provoke thought about the cost of living a life embroiled in the streets and the music industry. The recurring answer, “a lot,” serves as a double-edged sword, reflecting both the abundance of wealth and problems, loyalty and betrayal, pain and healing.

Through the lines, “Penitentiary chances just to make a couple bucks” and “My heart so cold I could put it in my cup”, 21 Savage nods to the desperate measures taken for survival and how such experiences can leave one emotionally numbed. The mention of loyalty and betrayal, particularly in the context of legal troubles and street violence, underscores the precariousness of relationships in high-stakes environments. Savage laments over lost brothers—both to the penal system and to death—which catalyzed his foray into the streets and ultimately into music.

The song isn’t just a personal reflection; it takes a critical look at the music industry too. Savage throws shade on artificial success with lines like, “How many faking they streams? (A lot) / Getting they plays from machines (A lot)” showing disdain for those who manipulate their way to the top instead of earning it. He praises realness, both in life and in music, highlighting his own trajectory in the industry and his commitment to authenticity.

The feature verse by J. Cole brings additional depth, touching on themes of perseverance, the toxic nature of fame, and paying homage to those in troubling situations like Tekashi 6ix9ine and Markelle Fultz, each facing their own battles. Cole’s introspection on his career and the music industry plays well against Savage’s raw storytelling, making “a lot” a discursive masterpiece on the highs and lows of success.

In essence, “a lot” is a reflective journey through 21 Savage’s psyche, exploring the complexities of his life and career. With its chilling honesty and introspective lyricism, the track not only serves as a testament to Savage’s evolution but also as a broader commentary on the consequences of our choices and the resilience needed to overcome adversity.

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