Father of 4

by: Offset

All three members of Atlanta trap superstars Migos released solo recordings of some kind following their collective commercial breakthrough with records like 2015's Yung Rich Nation and their critically acclaimed 2017 album Culture. Offset's moody and sometimes personal Father of 4 marks the rapper's first proper attempt at a solo album, coming after the excellent 2017 project Without Warning, a grizzly Halloween-themed mixtape made in collaboration with 21 Savage and producer Metro Boomin. While Offset isn't necessarily more charismatic or visible than his Migos counterparts Quavo and Takeoff, the life experiences he mines for Father of 4 easily result in the most captivating of the group's solo offerings. Offset's rocky relationship with Cardi B received enough public scrutiny to inspire an album's worth of response tracks, and he addresses his notorious unfaithfulness in their marriage on the apology song "Don't Lose Me." Atmospheric production gives much of the album a darkly dreamy feel, but this song feels especially mournful, with plaintive strings underscoring remorseful lyrics. The marriage of minimal, eerie production and uncharacteristically vulnerable lyrics offers a direct window into Offset's psyche in the album's best moments. The opening title track sees him speaking directly to each of his four children about the shortcomings and struggles he faced trying to be a better father to each of them at different phases in his life. The intimacy of the lyrics is almost uncomfortable, but it sets the tone for how deep the album can go. He switches between more personal themes and standard trap lyricism throughout the album, touching on insecurity and substance abuse on "North Star" (which features an unexpectedly moving vocal cameo from CeeLo Green) before returning to clichés and bragging on mediocre tracks like "On Fleek" and "Made Men." Even when operating in his comfort zone, Offset produces some strong tracks with the sinister "Legacy" (bolstered by great features from 21 Savage and Travis Scott) and album standout "Clout," which is made by Cardi B's high-energy, high-confrontation cameo. While entertaining and respectable, much of the album simply sounds like emptier Migos tracks. Offset occasionally draws back the curtain on his struggles and regrets, but he plays it safe more often than not. While Father of 4 is still far more interesting and better constructed than most other Migos-related solo offerings, it re-enforces the notion that the group's chemistry is a stronger force than any one of its individual members' talents. ~ Fred Thomas

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