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21 Savage, Offset & Metro Boomin ‘Without Warning’ [Album Review]


Rap joint albums seem to be the biggest trend in the hip-hop industry at the moment. There have been a number of attempts at the Best Of Both Worlds-style pairings of two rappers who seemingly complement one another since Jay-Z and Kanye West’s, ‘Watch the Throne.’ What A Time To Be Alive, the collaboration album between Drake and Future, was released in ’15, while ‘Super Slimey,’ another Future production – this time with rapper, Young Thug – was released this year on October 20th. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have long been rumored to be working on a joint project, but good luck finding it on any label’s slate.

Not long after Future and Young Thug teamed up to deliver their collaborated album, ‘Super Slimey,’ fellow ATLiens 21 Savage, Metro Boomin and Migos’ member, Offset came together to deliver the Halloween surprise collaboration project. Fittingly titled Without Warning, the album consists of 10 tracks and features appearances from Travis Scott, and Migos’ Quavo. The release hit streaming services after 11:00PM ET on Monday night (Oct 30).

The Halloween and nightmarish themed mixtape provides in its lyrics, allusions, and sonic cues: eerie cackling, howling winds, Jason and Nightmare on Elm Street, referencing a trap flair that carries the same menacing spirit that 21 Savage delivers on all of his tracks, and Offset does what he does best with an even bigger effort in flows and lyricism. In some sense, 21 Savage and Offset seemed like an odd couple coming into this. They have very different methods: 21 is hostile and inhuman, rapping with the lifeless delivery of someone numb to violence; Offset is adrenalized and constantly in motion with tightly-wound, precisely-measured, fiercely-performed meters. But they weirdly complement each other here. Offset helps to fill the gaps in 21’s affectless, menacing execution, keeping those disinterested murmurs from flatlining. Wherever 21’s performances are lacking, Offset adds a touch of showmanship; wherever Offset’s raps become too dense, 21 provides that simplicity concision, and clarity.

This is 21’s second project of this year, following his debut album Issa Album. Already paired with producer, Metro Boomin, 21 linked up with the producer again after last years’ project, Savage Mode. Offset has been making quite the name for himself as a solo artist this year, with notable guest spots on Gucci Mane’s “Met Gala” and Drake’s Metro Boomin produced track, “No Complaints.” According to Billboard, Without Warning debuted at No. 4 on their Top 200 albums chart and moved 53,000 album units in just three days. This gives 21 his second top five debut album Issa Album landing at No. 2 this past July. It marks Offset’s first debut as a solo artist. The same goes for Young Metro.

Without Warning starts off strong with the Wu-Tang referencing “Ghostface Killers” which features Travis Scott. Travis provides a decent trap flair like he always does, and the track gives 21 and Offset a good way to introduce the album’s concept fluidly. Then, on “Rap Saved Me,” they take turns talking about their come up and how rap allowed them to make more money. Quavo hops on the track to provide a melodic third verse for the song. Metro Boomin allowed both of the rappers to really be themselves while also sticking to the concept, he gave them a few individual tracks and a few that work for both of their styles. The flourishes are subtle but impactful, such as the seamless segue from 21’s “My Choppa Hates N*****” to Offset’s “Nightmare.” This is Halloween if Michael Myers was Menace II Society’s O-Dog. It’s short and cohesive, an enjoyable and uncomplicated 33 minutes of pure entertainment. In one form or another, the collaboration comes as a surprise to all of us, arriving suddenly and carrying within the electricity and satisfaction of a good scare.

Written By: @happyfeetjones

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