In a benchmark year for hip-hop, one author is of the firm opinion that Offset, one third of the one and only Migos, was the best featured-artist of the year.
2017 reinstated rap’s resurgence in mainstream music. On Spotify, hip-hop listening increased by 74% globally. Not seen since the mid '00s had there been five rap number ones in a calendar year in the United States. Last year, people had no idea who Lil Pump was. This year, his self-titled album landed the Number 2 spot on the Billboard charts. But in a year marred by detestable despots, one chart-conquering trio solidified the genre's end-all, be-all status this year: Migos, the rambunctious rulers of rap.
Migos kicked off the year with their trap-heater turned pop-anthem “Bad and Boujee,” and they’d soon capitalize by dropping Culture at the apex of their hype, which, despite being overlooked in some end-of-year lists due to it’s January release, stands its ground as one of the best rap projects of this decade.
After the expansive roll out of Culture, the world awaited the Atlanta trio’s next moves. Takeoff (infamously left off "Bad and Boujee") remained relatively low key. Quavo clearly looked to make bank on chart smashes with the likes of Major Lazer, DJ Khaled and One Direction’s Liam Payne. This left Offset - a man utterly hell-bent on packing in as many fire features into a year as humanly possible - to surpass even the most diligent of his ATL peers.
Hot off the press from Culture, he jumped on the remix of Cardi B’s “Lick.” The track sparked the pair’s romance, with their chemistry immediately evident. “Lick” set the tone for Cardi’s own breakthrough to certified pop star status with her number one “Bodak Yellow,” showcasing the pair’s shared nous at making money moves.
Offset would then step up for the best rap feature of the year, "Met Gala." Gucci Mane’s Droptopwop is one of Mr. Davis’ most compact releases to date - but with help from Metro Boomin and Offset, it stands out as one of Wizop’s most consistent albums in his huge back catalogue. Here, Offset obliterated one of the most bludgeoning Boomin beats with his trademark, searing pace and playful-yet-potent delivery.
He’d then proceed to feature alongside Drake on another Metro production, “No Complaints.” Metro Boomin was the most in-demand super producer of 2017, though his first release on his own label - Boominati Records - wasn’t one of his most memorable beats, the fact he drew for Drizzy and Offset out of every other rapper in the game speaks for itself. Offset would completely out-perform Drake, becoming the standout highlight of an otherwise indifferent tack.
In July, he’d jump on “Headlock,” arguably the best takeaway from Cousin Stizz’s criminally underrated One Night Only project. He then served up icily precise bars on “Minute” alongside an ad-lib fuelled Playboi Carti and NAV, where his menacing vibrancy perfectly complimented the other facets of the track.
As the months went by, Offset’s features would continue to flourish. In August, he starred alongside ATL veteran Peewee Longway on the explosive “Sleeping on a Kilo” and joined No Plug on his high-octane street hit “Keys.” He brought along an enjoyable familiarity with him on every feature, with his iconic ad-libs and assault-rifle flow providing the perfect accomplice for a wide array of rappers.
There would be no better example than on “Patek Water,” where Offset was at the peak of his powers. Along with Future and Young Thug, he’s been responsible for sky-rocketing the search volume of “Patek Phillpe” watches by shining as brightly on records as the very thing he raps about. He even switches up the tempo mid-way through the track with pinpoint accuracy.
To cap off his fine year, Offset dropped “Without Warning” out of nowhere. It was a welcome surprise, with a host of slick solo tracks weaved into the joint album in a similar lay out to SUPER SLIMEY. One of which is a certified slapper; “Ric Flair Drip” finds Offset as the impervious impresario, murdering one of Metro Boomin’s best beats this year. Quality Control’s Control the Streets mixtape further highlighted why Offset’s stock is so high, with more strong link ups with Cardi B and Travis Scott destined to be boomed out in clubs across the globe.
Throughout 2017, Offset set it off with this slew of ferocious features on the most high-profile – and most-underrated – projects in hip-hop this year. He’s gone harder than anyone else on his features this year, and thrown down the gauntlet for 2018.