A Lot
by 21 Savage (featuring J. Cole)

Album: I AM > I WAS (2018)
Charted: 29 12

Songfacts®:

  • 21 Savage kicks off his I Am Greater Than I Was album with this introspective track in which he reflects on the numerous blessings and curses in his life.

    How much money you got? (A lot)
    How many problems you got? (A lot)
    How many people done doubted you? (A lot)
    Left you out to rot? (A lot)
    How many pray that you flop? (A lot)
    How many lawyers you got? (A lot)
    How many times you got shot? (A lot)


    21 Savage was shot six times on his 21st birthday in 2013. He almost died from blood loss and also lost his best friend to the shooting. He turned to rapping as a result of the incident.
  • J. Cole spits the second verse as well as the interlude. He shouts out the controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine who at the time of the recording was in jail awaiting trial on racketeering and gun charges.

    Pray for Tekashi, they want him to rot
    I picture him inside a cell on a cot
    'Flectin' on how he made it to the top
    Wondering if it was worth it or not


    Many people want to see 6ix9ine punished for his alleged crimes, but Cole sympathizes with the predicament the rapper has found himself in.
  • J. Cole turned down the original song that was sent by 21 Savage. But then he called him out the blue, a couple of days before he was due to finish recording I Am Greater Than I Was and drove the six hour journey from Raleigh to Atlanta.

    "It was like 3:00 in the morning," Savage recalled to Genius, "he drove all the way back to Raleigh and did the song."
  • Fans who bought physical copies of the I AM > I WAS album discovered that Cole is nowhere to be found on this track. Instead, 21 spits a third verse about his rise to fame and current relationship status, as well as addressing immigration and the Flint water crisis. It's likely the reason for this is that Cole's verse arrived too late to be included on the CD version of the album.
  • 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta on February 3, 2019 by US Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE). They said he was a British national who moved to the States aged 12 in 2005 and had overstayed his visa when it expired in July 2006. The rapper's lawyers suggested he was targeted by the ICE after he rapped an alternate version of "A Lot" with lyrics about immigration on the January 29, 2019 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:

    Started from the bottom straight from the gutter, so I had to go a lil' harder
    The lights was off, the gas was off, so we had to boil up the water
    Been through some things so I can't imagine my kids stuck at the border


    21 Savage is referencing migrant children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
  • This won for Best Rap Song at the Grammy Awards in 2020.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Lip-Synch Rebels

Lip-Synch RebelsSong Writing

What happens when Kurt Cobain, Iron Maiden and Johnny Lydon are told to lip-synch? Some hilarious "performances."

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Boz Scaggs

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Rosanne Cash

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

70s Music Quiz 1

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

John Doe of X

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.