Kardinal Offishall’s “Set it Off” feat. The Clipse
This song should not have worked but it does, and it does so massively. T-Dot producer Boi 1-da works seamless diplomacy on this beat, weaving together the loud, boisterous energy of Kardi, who carries his crew and his country on his shoulders, with the quiet, under-the-breath swagger of the Clipse, who always ride backseat to their producers. What should really only have been incongrous mixtape filler becomes a standout track on an already pretty solid album.
It comes together on the hook with Kardi urging anyone listening, “fire me up!” over fitful sonics and crowd shouts — classic Offishall party-mongering. Then the beat drops like a slide whistle and the wailing synths are replaced by a few gutter-low notes, Kardi holding his breath and saying “pull it dowwwn” and the Clipse responding quietly, confidentially, “yea that’s it.” With Boi 1-da’s help they accomodate each other’s style as they pass back and forth.
On the verses, Kardi brags about legal money making, his net worth and fudging his taxes; the Clipse rap their typical ish about making money from drugs and spending it on cars and women. It makes no sense when you first consider it and juxtapose the players and sensibilities involved, but throw the headphones on and let the track work its magic and it knocks HARD with a cohesive purpose and singular effect.