21 Savage, Offset & Metro Boomin - Without Warning Album Review

Story posted November 9, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Sam McQuillan

Just in time for Oct. 31 and without (much) warning, antiheroes 21 Savage and Offset team up with super producer Metro Boomin to release a surprise 10 track LP. In perfect seasonal fashion, Without Warning features a plethora of spooks, screams, gunshots and gasps, which makes for a plethora of intimidating trap anthems and quite the scary Halloween. In their zombified, horror flick of an album, super producer Metro Boomin acts as 21’s and Offset’s Dr. Frankenstein, supplying the beats that juice life into two of ATL’s most notorious monsters.

Despite their shared Atlanta roots and similar upbringings, Offset and 21 Savage have distinctly different styles from each other. As Migos’ unofficial No. 2 to Quavo, Offset has always been the most vibrant member of the group, ricocheting across a track like Spalding manufactured him. 21 Savage has built his reputation by channeling out the horrors of his life through a cadence so monotone it feels like the direct reflection of his numbness. It’s the differences between both trap stars’ manor and flow, which make for the unlikely strong musical bond their coalescence forms. 21’s hollow, emotionless demeanor compliments Offset’s lively energetic style. Metro’s dark melodic beats help friends Travis Scott and Quavo seamlessly find their place among the three artists on the LP’s first two tracks. Travis finishes off “Ghostface Killers” with a fully auto-tuned verse to top off Offset and 21’s introduction into the wild world of Without Warning. Quavo provides one of the albums best moments when he inserts himself into the last minute of “Rap Saved Me,” acting in classic Migos fashion, adlibbing his way around the beat with an AK, ironically saving the track. On “Darth Vader,” Offset and 21 lament on Atlanta’s hot streak and how its given way to imitators and carpet baggers alike, each looking to bite their own piece of the culture. It’s one of the better tracks that involves each one of the album’s contributors without a feature from someone else.

After just one listen, it becomes clear that Without Warning is more about what comes from three of Atlanta’s biggest stars joining forces and less about ultra-precise composition and carefully planned music. The album serves as a strong symbol for the negatives and positives advances in technology have given modern hip hop. There’s the sudden release factor; in reality, this album probably wasn’t given the planned out consideration something like Reasonable Doubt was. It probably came to be like this: Metro Boomin hit up Offset and 21 Savage, two rappers he’s enjoyed collaboration success with independently in the past. He then asked if they’d like to work on something, proceeded to select a handful of beats saved up in his ever expansive arsenal and Without Warning was finished likely a week later. Another distinctive facet of modern rap Without Warning highlights is artist’s newfound propensity to work with a peer. It’s a fact that’s often lauded by hip hop enthusiasts of the current generation and simply draws scolding headshakes from old school rappers. As Without Warning exhibits, collaboration has pros and cons. The album’s standout track “Ric Flair Drip” only features two of Without Warning’s main contributors. And notwithstanding a few tracks, most of the album lacks much replay value, as songs like “Mad Stalkers” and “Still Serving” will do little more than amass a slew of cobwebs.

But that’s okay. Without Warning is no Watch the Throne, but not every collab. album needs to be a great album. 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin give fans plenty to enjoy on their 10 track LP collaboration and the Halloween quasi-theme is just an added bonus. On the heels of Atlanta phenomes Future and Young Thugs’ SUPER SLIMEY, trap fans should only be more enthusiastic for the next big thing this sudden Atlanta mass-fraternization will lead to.

Rating: 8/10

 

Sam McQuillan is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email samuelrmcquillan@gmail.com