Of all the weird trends to crop up in hip-hop over the past year, by far the weirdest is the tendency for rappers to miss projected release dates without even announcing the delays ahead of time. Just hours after posting the cover for his new album, I Am > I Was and a month after announcing its release date, 21 Savage popped up on Twitter to acknowledge his own release snafu, tweeting, “Dam I forgot to drop my album my bad y’all.”
Now that streaming has taken over as the primary avenue for distribution, the responsibility for releases has fallen to artists and their teams more often than not, leading to all kinds of release-day oddities that have frustrated fans — including, apparently, NBA star Lonzo Ball. For instance, last week, Atlanta rapper JID saw a precipitous drop in streaming numbers when he had to remove and re-upload DiCaprio 2 to streaming services, and now, 21 is making his apologies for just straight up forgetting to drop his new album, even though he literally revealed its cover just hours before the album’s supposed release date.
Now, to be fair, his announcement tweet was pretty cryptic, only containing the numbers “12-7-18.” They could have referred to anything. Likewise, the album cover he uploaded came unaccompanied by an actual date, so he could have just been putting it out to build hype for a future date. Given his subdued sense of humor, his apologetic tweet could very well be more of the deadpan sarcasm that made him a meme (and inadvertently birthed the name of his debut album) when he advised a curious documentarian that the tattoo on his forehead is not a cross, but a knife.
However, the hype train cares little about nuance or mitigating circumstances; it just keeps rolling on. However, fans weren’t left completely empty-handed. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released the trailer for the latest game in its Mortal Kombat series, Mortal Kombat 11, which features a new, original song from Savage soundtracking a brutal beatdown as thunder god Raiden slaps the bejeezus out Scorpion, before being promptly dispatched himself by… another Scorpion. Warning: Don’t watch the trailer below if you’re at all faint of heart. It gets really violent.
Meanwhile, 21 fans did get a glimmer of hope from Instagram yet again: The deadpan rapper posted a clip to his Instagram suggesting that the new release date will be December 21.
Update: 21 Savage’s manager attributed the delay to yet another video game receiving its big debut tonight: Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. “We ain’t drop on the 7th because this day belongs to Super Smash bros,” he wrote. “Let’s respect this legendary moment and all connect our switches in peace.”