Offset and 21 Savage Find the Right Balance on ‘Without Warning’ Project
Halloween is all about balance. There’s an undeniable sweetness to Oct. 31, from kids in costumes to candy, but Halloween would not be the same without the darker aspects, which is what makes it one of the best holidays of the year. Offset and 21 Savage knew that when making Without Warning, the surprise collaborative project they released with Metro Boomin.
While the two rappers run in similar circles in the rap game, they’re on different sides of the same coin. On one side, you have 21 Savage. His name alone is evidence the music he creates takes you into a realm of violence and death. There’s little glamour in 21’s world. His Issa Album release in July was decidedly more personal and sweet with the Atlanta rapper going as far to make more love-inspired songs—seemingly aimed at his girlfriend Amber Rose—but this was the same man who made the dark Savage Mode last year.
Offset has a much different approach to his music. Like 21 Savage, his lyrics often deal with trapping, hustling and selling drugs. However, while 21’s view of the streets highlights the darkness and despair, Offset’s raps about dealing as part of Migos end with a more triumphant result. He’s the one who shouted those infectious “whoos” on Migos’ No. 1 hit “Bad and Boujee” earlier this year.
So on paper, 21 Savage and Offset might seem like a bit of an odd couple, but listening to Without Warning, it’s clear that their approaches balance each other out, which gives listeners one of the best treats of the Halloween season.
That balance is clear just from their deliveries. 21 Savage’s voice is often monotone and lifeless. His words linger on listeners with his deliberately paced raps. “Savage keep that glock on him, yeah/Savage thinkin’ ’bout droppin’ him, yeah/Nigga talking ’bout robbing him, well/Them .223’s gon’ make his face swell,” he raps on “Still Serving.” These are matter-of-fact statements to 21. He’s emotionless as he threatens to drop bodies Meanwhile, Offset announces his presence on the track by shouting his own name and going rapid-fire with his bars. The deliveries are so vastly different that they make for perfect complements to each other.
Along with those tracks where 21 Savage and Offset’s styles play off each other, they get chances to shine on their own. “Ric Flair Drop” and “Nightmare” are solo Offset joints, while 21 gets “My Choppa Hate Niggas” and “Run Up the Racks” to himself. Guests are kept to a minimum, with only Travis Scott and Migos member Quavo showing up to collaborate on the album’s first two tracks.
Meanwhile, Metro Boomin is a perfect choice for a project inspired by Halloween. Trap production already owes a lot to horror movie soundtracks as beatmakers often use minimal synth sounds over drum beats to create a terrifying ambiance to the music. On Without Warning, it’s no different for Metro. His beats mimic the sounds of great horror composers like John Carpenter and Jerry Goldsmith to provide a dark backdrop to Offset and 21 Savage’s raps. Shrieks and shouts often echo in the distance of Metro’s eerie production.
Without Warning is more than a Halloween novelty. Offset and 21 Savage turn their differences in delivery into an undeniable chemistry, while Metro Boomin’s production gives the project a proper Halloween-inspired sound so their comparisons to classic villains like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees aren’t in vain. The project isn’t just some cobbled-together collaboration meant to appease listeners like the empty calories of a fun-sized candy bar, but rather it’s a surprisingly cohesive project showcasing how well two rappers with vastly different strengths can come together.
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Author: Chris Gibbons
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