Stormy life of rapper Offset

Rapper Offset with his wife, fellow rapper Cardi B, at this year's American Music Awards in Los Angeles in October.
Rapper Offset with his wife, fellow rapper Cardi B, at this year's American Music Awards in Los Angeles in October.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ATLANTA • When rapper Offset, bleeding from the mouth and hands, staggered through the bedroom door of his suburban home around 5am on a day in May, his wife, Cardi B, went ballistic.

She was about seven months pregnant with their first child.

Not much of a sleeper, Offset, 26, had driven to a store. But upon his return, he could hardly stand or speak. Everyone was certain he had been shot.

In the ambulance later, as he insisted that he had swerved to avoid a man walking on the road and slammed into a tree, the paramedics cut off his designer clothes in search of a bullet wound.

The New York Times reported that his eye socket was broken and that the police told him later that he was lucky to be alive.

"Slow down," Offset said when asked how the accident affected him. "That's the biggest lesson: Slow down. Take your time. Think through your moves."

Yet, for a member of the Atlanta trio, Migos, the biggest rap group in the world - one whose modus operandi has always been more everything, all the time - such mantras are hard to put into practice.

The day after the crash, bandaged like a bejewelled mummy, Offset was back in the studio.

In the less than 24 months since Bad And Boujee hit No. 1 and Migos pushed their way, millions of streams at a time, into the upper echelons of not just rap, but also pop, the group's members have released two albums (plus two solo albums and a 30-track label compilation).

There have been Grammy nominations plus a sold-out, 54-date arena tour with rapper Drake.

But even among a collective that has made oversaturation a default mode and continued to pile on - more appearances, more cars, more jewellery, more music - Offset has pushed excess and impulsiveness to the extreme and emerged recently as the trio's most compelling individual character.

Last September, after a brief and turbulent courtship, he merged his life and brand with Cardi B's, marrying the 26-year-old, platinum-selling rapper in a secret ceremony.

Their daughter, Kulture, is his fourth child by a fourth woman.

"A lot of people don't know Offset," he said, because of the group structure and the flashy blog headlines about his various legal and romantic troubles.

He allowed that his face, which has a panther-like intensity, is frequently in a scowl and covered in tattoos, making him "a little intimidating".

But he stressed his sense of humour, his obsession with music industry data-watching and his dedication to his mother, stepfather, friends, siblings and children, many of whom surround him at all times.

"When people talk to me, they don't even notice that I notice them saying, 'You ain't no ignorant,'" he said. "I like that. I'm going to start opening up more."

Settling down was "the best thing that's happened to me personally, which helps me make the music, which helps my career", Offset added, estimating that he had another decade left in music.

On Friday, his 27th birthday, he is set to complete the Migos solo trilogy by releasing his debut album. But can he focus on promoting it?

Just like the car accident, he has been hit by another surprise, this time from Cardi B.

Last week, she announced that she was ending her marriage to Offset, with reports suggesting that she was fed up of his cheating ways.

However, a source told the Celebrity Insider portal: "Offset is not going to walk away from his marriage. He's going to give Cardi B a little space to cool down... This is not the first time she has broken up with him.

"He obviously has made some big mistakes in the past, but he says this time, it's a set-up."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2018, with the headline 'Stormy life of rapper Offset'. Print Edition | Subscribe