Published Feb 25, 2019If you doubted Offset could pull off his own 4:44, then prepare to eat your words. That's right: the Migos MC, often parodied for his and his bandmates' penchant for the "skrr skrr" catchphrase and other trap rap tropes, reveals untold multitudes on his new LP, Father of 4. Offset certainly has plenty of material to work with — like JAY-Z on his contrite and confessional 4:44, the junior Atlanta MC doesn't shy away from his own cheating scandal on his debut solo LP.
"Don't Lose Me" begins with a sample of Offset's social media apology to his better half, the one and only Cardi B, for being a "selfish, messed-up husband." From there a melancholy, pulsing instrumental kicks in and Offset spits a series of rapid, plaintive bars. Then on the murky, minimalist "After Dark," (the eighth of 16 tracks on this slightly overlong, but banger-laden album) Offset admits to having a black heart, and being ashamed of breaking his lady's heart. A few tracks later. the Queenpin herself guests on the swaggering, ominous keys peppered "Clout," sounding not so much like a woman scorned, but instead like the biggest rapper in the world as she nimbly mocks gossipy, nosy haters trolling her in vain.
Equally admirable — not to mention compelling, because it blasts past the tabloid fodder — is the title track. A musical love letter to his children, the downcast and Auto-Tune-laced song finds him lamenting: "Sorry I wasn't there for all your birthdays / I tried to hit, I wasn't rich, and had no workplace." Then on "Tats On My Face," Offset reveals how "I talk to myself / In the mirror like, "Nigga, don't fail" / I'm poppin' a pill." And on "Red Room," he touches on his troubled upbringing ("How I grew up, my momma was my dad / So when I blew up I put her in a pad") as synths percolate and a trap beat crackles like crinkling paper.
That's not to say Father of 4 is overly serious or devoid of fun. On the contrary, the all-but-guaranteed chart-topper "Lick" is slathered in irresistible slinky flute notes. His Migos cohort Quavo guests on the irresistible rat-ta-tat beat-backed "On Fleek," and "Legacy" packs the star power of Travis Scott and 21 Savage all on one song.
Sure, some of the dark and downtempo beats can begin to sound same-y by the time you're through. And Offset certainly hasn't attained the lyrical brilliance of JAY-Z on 4:44, or any of the other elder rapper's releases for that matter. Nevertheless, Offset's level of growth and candour on Father of 4 is that of an MC making leaps and bounds, both in his music and his personal life. (Quality Control/Capitol/Motown/Epic)