Since Migos burst onto the scene with their critically acclaimed debut album Culture, the hype surrounding the rap collective has never been weaker than it is right now. After a disappointing sophomore album—followed by the weak Quavo solo album and the stronger but far from breathtaking Takeoff album—people are wearier than ever of the group and the work they put out.
Offset, specifically, has hit a rough patch: He was in a life-threatening car crash in May; his album was set to be released in December, but he pushed it back for personal reasons; and he had a very public falling out with his fiancé Cardi B, which has now apparently ended with them reuniting. With things back in order, Offset returns with the music video for “Red Room,” the first single from his debut solo album.
The video starts with Offset alone, surrounded by candles in a dark red room as the camera slowly zooms in. In the background, a recording of a reporter recapping the horrific car crash plays—“Offset is lucky to be alive,” she says—and the camera flips, focusing on a stoic Offset before the words “Red Room” come across the screen as the beat enters.
With a menacing Metro Boomin beat, Offset bounces across the room, dancing to the beat. The camera offers a full panoramic view, as the scene slowly shifts to a litany of memories: a young Offset with his mother at dinner to Offset playing dice in the neighborhood, praying in church, checking his gun in a worn down house, and sitting in a prison cell. All this action happens as the song’s lyrics reflect his mother’s hesitations about his life choices and his own thoughts about who he’s become and what he went through to get to where he is.
The scene settles on Offset rapping to the camera while his boys continue playing dice in the background before the panoramic view returns, once again capturing the scenes of the life Offset lived as a young man, trying to make it in rap while also coping with the cards he’d been dealt and the hardships all around him. Returning to the red room, the audience finds Offset drawing on a wall, as the words “Kody” and “Kulture” (the name of his child with Cardi B) are written to his right.
The scene transitions to Offset driving, then to an aggressive arrest of a young man in front of his friends, before returning to Offset behind the wheel and ultimately crashing his vehicle. The camera goes black, and the music stops, replaced by ominous sounds as the scene shifts to the same kitchen table, now occupied with a young Offset, who was having dinner with his mother. The music returns, as the audience sees Offset stepping out of his green Dodge Challenger, the same car he was driving when he had his accident.
Viewers see Offset, decked out in jewelry and designer clothing as he stumbles down the street, before the camera pans to an old man—who Offset confirmed is his grandfather—sitting on a chair in the street, playing the harmonica. As he plays, a crowd of men dressed in all black clothing, similar to that of the Black Panthers, march toward a blockade of officers before the video ends with the same scene it began with: Offset alone, contemplating his life in the red room.
This single and video is a triumphant return for Offset, showing how he’s matured in the past year while creating proper excitement for his next album. With “Red Room,” an emotional and lyrical rumination on the hardships of his past, Offset shows that he is far from some vain artist. He has a story to tell, and, if the album follows the same path as this single, it won’t be anything like the albums released by the other two-thirds of the Migos.
Featured Image by Capitol Records