Each member of Migos—Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff—has each recently gone solo in an effort to individualize themselves from the collective rap trio. Quavo released Quavo Huncho and Takeoff released The Last Rocket, both in 2018, but Offset's Father of 4, released Feb. 22, explores heavy themes and boasts memorable tracks, something that cannot be said for the two previous Migos solo albums.
Undoubtedly fatherhood take massive thematic roles in Father of 4, as does Offset’s on–again, off–again relationship with Cardi B and the eight–month old child they have together. In the album’s opening track, “Father of 4,” Offset addresses the three children he had before he met Cardi B, his sons Jordan and Kody and his daughter Kalea. In an album exclusively produced by Metro Boomin and Southside, two of hip–hop’s most talented producers, the melancholy trap beat on “Father of 4” complements Offset’s lyrics perfectly. He raps, “Kalea you my first first daughter / I missed the first three years of your life I’m sorry,” in direct reference to how his jail time affects his relationship with his children.
Offset went to prison in February 2013 for violating probation on an original offense of firearms possession, and he (alongside Quavo) was arrested again in 2015 following a concert at Georgia Southern University on two felony charges relating to firearm possession. Considering the extremely high recidivism rate in Georgia’s prison system (two–thirds of offenders released from prison are re–arrested within three years) and the racial prejudices of the criminal justice system (in 2013, African Americans made up over 60 percent of Georgia’s prison population), Offset opens up an important conversation by talking about these experiences.
In “How Did I Get Here,” featuring J. Cole, Offset continues to pursue themes of crime and its impact on his life trajectory. Offset raps, “Have you ever done time? / Looking at my kids through the blinds / Confinement mind / How you feelin’ when you face a dime? / Truth be told / I’m supposed to be locked up and dead, cold.” J. Cole, similarly, wrestles with the juxtaposition of the luxuries of rap stardom and the struggles of growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a town that ranks as being more unsafe than 95 percent of other American cities. Cole raps, “in the dirty south where bodies pilin’ up / So high, they block the birds and rerouted ‘em / Plenty murders had observers but / You never heard a peep out of them / So many funerals it ain’t enough numerals to keep count of them.”
One of the biggest questions surrounding the release of Father of 4 was how Offset would address his complex relationship with Cardi B. “Don’t Lose Me” is the definitive answer to this question. In a overt reference to his alleged infidelity with female rapper Cuban Doll, Offset raps to Cardi B, “Number one, it’s a loyalty code / Temptation, had the devil in my soul / I wanna be with you when we old.”
The opening of “Don’t Lose Me” also features a recording of Offset’s public apology to Cardi B, saying, “And I apologize, you know what I’m saying? Breaking your heart, breaking our promise, breaking God’s promise, and being a selfish and messed up husband, you know what I’m saying? I’m trying to be a better person.” With a gloomy and desolate beat interspersed with subtle violins, “Don’t Lose Me” represents yet another break from Offset’s typical energetic and aggressive rapping style.
One of the highlights of Father of 4 is the track “Legacy,” featuring 21 Savage and Travis Scott over Southside’s production. “Legacy” sounds like Offset’s previous work, as the trap beat doesn’t lend itself to introspective lyrics compared to many of the other beats on the album. However, “Legacy” does act as a refreshing change of pace from some of the slower parts of the album, and Travis Scott and 21 Savage deliver solid features to round out the track's aggressive sound.
Unfortunately, the depth and significance of Father of 4 declines as the album goes on. “Clout,” featuring Cardi B, possesses none of the vulnerability and regret Offset displayed on “Don’t Lose Me,” and “Red Room, in which Offset makes reference to a near–fatal car crash in 2018 and his abuse of Percocet during his youth, is one of the only introspective tracks in the final quarter of the album.
Offset, notorious for rapping about expensive watches and jewelry, makes a clear effort to pursue less materialistic themes on Father of 4. While some stretches of the album lack depth, overall it marks a significant step forward in his artistic ability. While Takeoff and Quavo have faltered in delivering meaningful lyrics in their solo albums, Offset has now set himself ahead of the pack.