Offset "Set It Off": First Impression

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Offset returns with a sophomore album that showcases him utilizing a variety of flows, features and beats to tell his tale.

Offset has been on quite the run with the rollout of his sophomore solo album, SET IT OFF. In 2022, he delivered a number of stand-out features before unleashing singles like "CODE" and "54321." However, the singles he released throughout the last few months have strongly indicated that he's ready to be back in the spotlight.

The album’s lead single “JEALOUSY” features his rap star wife, Cardi B showcasing their chemistry and their creative range, taking inspiration from Baby Boy for the official music video, along with a cameo from Taraji P. Henson. Then, he unveiled "FAN," an homage to the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. SET IT OFF marks Offset's first solo album since Father Of 4 in 2019, and much has happened in his life since. The tragic death of Takeoff undoubtedly took a toll on Offset. Unfortunately, the late Migos member doesn't have a feature on the project. Still, at 21 tracks, it seems Offset had a lot to share and his fans were eager to hear it all.

Offset Offers Variety

Offset’s SET IT OFF album banks off of his versatility, offering various moods and unique vocal techniques. For the most part, his attempts to stretch his vocal capabilities outside of his comfort zone are successful. However, it's clear that he's daring to try something different with each try.

The biggest strength of the project is that it offers variety without actually compromising Offset's signature style. Even with the production, the use of easily recognizable samples is tasteful. There's a solid mix of records that jump from Offset's inevitable flexing to more intimate and emotional joints. The latter, while minimal, are still some of the strongest moments on the album.

Offset Provides Several Vocal Deliveries

Offset’s ad-libs and flow have been his greatest strength since Migos blew up. On SET IT OFF, he expands beyond these signature techniques, although the results vary. On “HOP OUT THE VAN," his high-pitch delivery contrasts the deep looped vocal sample and together, it sounds uncharacteristically odd. With verses that don’t offer anything noteworthy, this one could have been left off.

Meanwhile, on “I’M ON” and “DISSOLVE” his auto-tuned croons pair well with the atmospheric melodies as he dives into some emotional vulnerabilities. He trades in these vulnerabilities for intimacies on “PRINCESS CUT” which features Chlöe. She slightly modifies the hook of the song to sing from her perspective which creatively reinforces the intimate atmosphere it has.

Offset Brings The Hype

Naturally, Offset’s album has some bangers that highlight his inimitable ad-libbed flows. However, it's the production that allows him to find these pockets that truly stand out. “BIG DAWG” and “SKYAMI” share space-like melodies that showcase Offset’s delivery well. The latter features fellow Atlanta rapper Mango Foo. “DOPE BOY” which features Young Nudy, continues this formula alongside an infectious hook.

The Metro Boomin-produced “NIGHT VISION” rides the border between hype and low-key through its dreamy soundscape. Throughout these offerings, Offset fleshes out a universe with each song, switching his energy and pairing them with their respective instrumentals.

The Emotional Depth

Perhaps, the most anticipated aspect of this project surrounds Offset's state of mind. Between issues surrounding his marriage, welcoming his fifth child, and the death of Takeoff, Offset promised to provide insight into his personal life on SET IT OFF. On the album intro, "On The River," he declares, "I'm telling the truth, I became the one when I got out the group," with equal parts pride and honesty. It's a grand statement to make, especially when many felt he was at fault during the Migos break-up.

On “SAY MY GRACE” with Travis Scott he wonders: “Why I lose my brother to bullets? / Why I lose my grandma to cancer? / Why mе, God? I need answers.” It all comes together during the penultimate track “UPSIDE DOWN." Offset gives a glimpse of his mental state over some minimal production and background vocals that enhance his lyrics. A contrast to the rest of the project, "UPSIDE DOWN" largely feels like a stream-of-consciousness. It's a necessary moment on the project that leads to the closer, "HEALTHY," where Offset balances his vulnerabilities and his braggadocio tendencies expertly.

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