Gulf Today

Here is how Offset drew inspiratio­n from Michael Jackson

- Peter Larsen,

Actor and rapper Donald Glover once compared the rap group Migos to the Beatles. But Offset, one of the three members of Migos, is taking his inspiratio­n these days from a different pop icon: the late Michael Jackson. “I was just a big fan of him,” says the 32-year-old Offset, who was born Kiari Cephus, as he headlines his first solo tour. “I loved the way how his videos were shot. It was always a storyline, or always a different type of character that he would be in for his videos, especially when I was young. “But as I got older, I learned to appreciate the skill set that he put in, and the extra grind and the work and the practice,” Offset continues. “He envisioned himself being way bigger, even though he was already big. On my album, I’m already in a nice place where I’m big and stuff like that. But I still see more for myself and creatively challenge myself to take it to the next level, even though I’m on a high level.”

On the cover of Offset’s second solo album, “Set It Off,” released in October, the rapper is seen falling from an upside-down cityscape, dressed in clothing reminiscen­t of Jackson in his “Beat It” video. In Offset’s video for the single “Fan,” he wears facsimiles of oufits Jackson wore in his “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” videos — and he breaks out some of those videos’ iconic dance moves, too. “He came from a group where there’s a family,” Offset says of similariti­es he sees between himself and Jackson. Migos was a trio made up of cousins Quavo and the late Takeoff, with Offset close enough they oten said they were all cousins, the Jackson 5, of course, were Michael and his brothers, including Jermaine, who gets name-checked in the lyrics of one of the songs on Offset’s new record.

“I felt like it fell into my story,” he continues. “His first solo album was ‘Off the Wall’ and mine is ‘Set It Off.’ …The vibe on it’s like growing up and developing and becoming a beter artist.

In an interview edited for length and clarity, Offset did not talk about his on-and-off marriage to rapper Cardi B, with whom he has two children. Instead, he focused on his plans for the current tour, the ongoing pain he feels for the death of Takeoff in a November 2022 shooting, the new vulnerabil­ity he’s used in some of his lyrics, and the importance of good vibes with guest artists that on the recent record include Travis Scot, Don Tolliver, Future and Chloe.

You’re geting ready to head out on your first headlining tour. What’s it feel like to finally be here?

I’m very excited, man. I’m ready to get out there in front of the people. And do what I do best. Put a lot of thought and creativity into this. So I’m super-excited, man.

Tell me about sort of the show you’ve got planned. The tour teaser trailer shows some choreograp­hy being worked on, but what will you present?

I’m coming with a live band and a more intimate feel where people can hear me actually live singing songs. I got choreo. I got four dancers that are very experience­d. I’m gonna be hanging from the roof until they tell me I can’t no more. And I’m having hits.

It took a couple of years to make this record. How did it come together and what were your goals with it?

As I was puting this one together, I was just thinking to come up with a new sound. So that’s why it took me two years. I wanted to develop a new me, a new version of me that it could be presented as just me. I wanted to see what was going on in the music scene and pay atention to that. So I can see what’s going on and what’s not going on anymore.

 ?? Tribune News Service ?? Offset performs live at The Fillmore Philadelph­ia in Philadelph­ia.
Tribune News Service Offset performs live at The Fillmore Philadelph­ia in Philadelph­ia.

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