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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

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Offset sets off the charts with ‘Set It Off’

Illustration by Shveta Shah
Offset’s solo sophomore LP “Set It Off” was a clear display of his improvement in the four-year gap between now and the release of his solo debut album “Father Of 4” in 2019.

Despite some generic tracks, Offset’s “Set It Off” is a strong sophomore album that shows significant growth from the hip-hop artist.

Released Friday, “Set It Off” has been one of the most anticipated rap albums since last fall. Originally scheduled to drop in late 2022, it was delayed for over 11 months after Offset’s fellow Migos member and longtime friend Takeoff was shot dead on Nov. 1. 

With the release of “Father of 4” in 2019, Offset was the last member of the Atlanta rap trio to release a solo album. Although the record was, I think, the best of the solo Migos projects, it received mixed reviews from critics and left fans wondering what was next. With “Set It Off,” Offset steers clear from a sophomore slump.

Although there are skippable tracks throughout the project, the 21-strong tracklist starts with a couple impressive first songs.

The unique opening track, “On the River,” is reminiscent of “Avalanche,” the opener of the Migos album “Culture III.” Both are derived from soul samples, a choice unusual for Migos members who typically accompany their flow with trap beats made with original melodies or loops.The piece was an interesting and refreshing way for Offset to start the LP, and while the lyrics were lackluster compared to the rest of his catalog, the soulful instrumental stood out.

During the next track, “Say My Grace,” Offset and featured rapper Travis Scott match each other’s energy and create something memorable. Hard-hitting bars from Offset and an electric feature from Scott make “Say My Grace” one of the best songs on the album and the best mixed track on the record.

Throughout the album, Offset showcases sizable improvement from his debut solo album “Father of 4,” especially when it comes to displaying his melodic side and delivering his signature triplet flow.

There are some standout melodic tracks like “Don’t You Lie” and “Princess Cut.” However, some tend to fall short, like “I’m On,” “Worth It” and “Dissolve,” due to  their generic sound.

Some songs also feel dated. Tracks like “Dissolve” and “Worth It” sound straight out of the rap landscape of 2017 to 2018— think Kodak Black’s “Zeze,” which Offset featured on.

However, concerning his lyrical delivery, he undoubtedly shines on this record. Tracks like “Skyami,” “Hop Out the Van,” “Fine As Can Be”and “Buss My Watch” are perfect representations of why Offset is known for having some of the most impressive rhythms in the game. Along with “Say My Grace,” they are easily the best produced songs on the album.

Although Cardi B does not deliver with her choruses and verses on “Freaky,” she certainly redeems herself in “Jealousy” — one of the most popular tracks on the album so far with over 32.7 million streams on Spotify, and for good reason. Offset and Cardi trade tough verses over an incredible interpretation of a Three 6 Mafia sample.

It’s also enjoyable to listen to the different ways that Offset incorporates modern influences into the album.

In “Big Dawg” and “Blame It On Set,” you can hear an obvious 21 Savage influence in the beat selection, and Offset pays homage to Project Pat at the end of “Fan” by using Pat’s signature cadence.

Near the end of the album, on the songs “Upside Down” and “Healthy,” there are elements of rock-like electric guitar and old-school synths, which might have been influenced by Lil Uzi Vert’s “Pink Tape.”

Despite some skips and boring tracks, “Set It Off” by Offset is still worth listening to, and it’s one of the most fun trap LPs released in recent years. Overall, I’d give it a high six to a low seven.

Email:  [email protected]

Twitter: @FrancescoThorik

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