Life hasn’t always been easy for Offset.
Some of that hasn’t been up to him, like his upbringing without a father. But legal troubles, such as a conviction for battery, have been all his doing, along with a much-publicized recent controversy in which he cheated on his wife and mother of his fourth child, Cardi B.
The Atlanta-born rapper, best known for his role in the rap group Migos, released his first solo project this week, titled “FATHER OF 4.” While much of Migos’ work covers stereotypical rap topics like cars, women, drugs and jewelry, Offset takes his debut album in a different direction. He provides an emotional and apologetic look back at his life — controversies and all — creating an album that stands as a work of art on its own.
The album’s introductory song and title track wastes no time covering the topics Offset wants to address on the LP. He apologizes to each of his first three children for his mistakes, especially to his daughter Kalea, who was born when he was 17. He raps about trying to find his soul and how he missed birthdays and didn’t get to see his kids grow up. Most importantly, Offset vows that things are different now. “Even though we gotta catch up, pray to God that he bless us / Imma keep grindin' for my kids, never gon' let up / Imma put the money up for y'all, I can't be selfish,” he raps.
Offset then moves on to “How Did I Get Here,” another calm and composed track, which covers his journey to becoming a rapper. He reflects back on hearing gunshots at night and how he escaped the dangerous parts of Atlanta. He also raps about his time in jail in 2015 and how it hurt him to be away from his kids and family. The song’s arc concludes with how he has made it now, how he beat the odds of growing up in a dangerous neighborhood and escaped poverty.
Even in the midst of continued emotional and personal tales, “FATHER OF 4” is not without the trap-style songs that have vaulted Offset and Migos to national popularity. Songs such as “Tats On My Face,” “On Fleek” and “Quarter Milli” follow this formula to much success, as they are highlights on the album. Offset raps lines like, “Sippin’ codeine with no common cold,” “Big boy money in the vault” and “Rolls Royce, it's a ghost like Casper,” reminding listeners that he still cares about the flashy parts of life, too.
For the most part, that content is just a minor part of the album. On “North Star,” Offset raps about how fame has made his mistakes more visible, hurting his family as a result. On “Clout,” his collaborative track with Cardi B, the duo reinforce their status as a devoted couple, even after it was rumored they were getting divorced earlier this year. After his highly public affair, Offset reiterates he is with Cardi B for the long haul, rapping, “Shorty DM me, I'm straight (I'm straight) / I'm not gon' bite on the bait (Nah).”
“FATHER OF 4” concludes with an uptempo, hopeful song, titled “Came A Long Way.” Offset raps about how his issues are behind him and he is focused on providing for his family once again. With lines like “I won't let this fame or these chains break my family” and “Tryna pass through the cash through the generations,” Offset’s intentions are clear. He knows he is in a position to provide for his family, and he won’t squander it.
With a shift in content from a typical Migos album, Offset ran the risk of failure with “FATHER OF 4.” Instead of failing, he came away with an introspective and cohesive album. While the artistic nature of many songs helps them overall, they stand on their own quality as well. The depth of his songs shows his willingness to learn from past mistakes, and while his dedication to his family has been lacking in the past, he demonstrates his intent to change. It hasn’t always been easy for Offset, but he has a chance to make his mark now, a chance he vows to take.