21 Savage, Offset’s sounds clash ‘Without Warning’

Collaborative projects have always been extremely exciting for hip-hop fans, and recently they seem to be coming more often. Last week, Future and Young Thug dropped their joint mixtape “Super Slimey,” and on Halloween, fellow Atlanta natives 21 Savage and Offset followed suit with their 10-track project, “Without Warning.” However, the pair’s contradicting styles and different levels of energy clash on each song in which both artists are featured.

21 Savage has one of the most distinguishable styles in rap. Though he is often associated with mumble-rap, Savage’s lyrics come through clearly, and he delivers them in an empty, monotonous flow. The eerily heartless way in which he bluntly raps about graphic violence gives him the vibe of a remorseless serial killer. While Offset’s style often mimics that of his group Migos, he continues to prove on every solo feature and song that he is growing as an artist. His high-energy delivery and rapid-fire flow sound like a machine gun spraying the beat in controlled bursts. On paper, the two should complement each other well, but it did not come to fruition.

Executive producer, Metro Boomin, is the real highlight of the tape, proving that he gets better with every song. At this point, Metro could produce a collaborative project with Lil B, Fetty Wap and Eminem, and it would sound great, but sounding great is only half the battle. Were 21 Savage and Offset actually ever in a studio together while recording this? It sounded like Metro emailed the two the same beat and they both sent him back a couple of verses, and he was forced to piece them together. The chemistry that should be there between the two Atlanta stars is nonexistent. With two of the best ad-libbing rappers in the game, this  should have had a playful back-and-forth throughout the tape.  Offset has had many interactive back-and-forth songs with his own group Migos, and one of 21 Savage’s most successful songs, “X,” was a song in which he traded verses with Future multiple times. The dynamic between 21 Savage and Offset that seemed like an inevitable layup when the project was announced simply was not there.

The tape was not without its highlights, however. As it was with “Super Slimey,” they came in the rappers’ respective solo cuts. Offset’s “Ric Flair Drip” has the most memorable beat and the catchiest hook while 21’s “My Choppa Hate N*****” is reminiscent of something that would have appeared on he and Metro’s earlier project, “Savage Mode.” Quavo joined his fellow Migo on the track “Rap Saved Me,” and Travis Scott dropped off perhaps the best verse of his career on “Ghostface Killers.”

Even with Metro Boomin’s mesmerizing production, the tape falls well short of greatness. While “Ric Flair Drip” will be in heavy rotation due to its club-friendly sound, the only other song on this tape with considerable replay value is “Ghostface Killers,” and even that is mostly for the Travis Scott verse.

Image from 21 Savage via YouTube.com

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