Everything that has made Without Warning such a surprise has been blatant from the moment it was released. Forget the sneak attack method with which it arrived on Halloween, just about every preconception a hip hop fan could have applied to it proved false. Glancing at the involved parties prior to listen, the assumption at large was that this would be Offset's show, doing favors for his co-stars' career, a lucky 21 Savage tagging along.

To the contrary, this proved to very much be 21's show. Offset (naturally) shows out, but is largely content to play a supporting role, keeping the Migos brand securely involved with yet another essential moment of the year in rap, simply by showing up. The two make for a surprisingly perfect pair, 21's lounge music take on rapping never appearing to try, flawlessly setting up Offset to come in dashing through fireworks. For his part, Savage has never sounded more focused, effectively crushing to the niche in which many in the rap press seemed intent on sticking him in, all while keeping to his grim strengths.

Clocking in at under 35 minutes, Without Warning serves as a breathless trip through current trap trends, effortlessly soundtracked by the seemingly infallible Metro Boomin. The production here ranks among his very best, the chart-ready anthem of ‘Ric Flair Drip’ leads directly into one the murkiest experiments he's yet tried on ‘My Choppa Hate Niggas’. The energy never lulls, the trim tracklist avoiding any sagging, and guests kept to a minimum. Quavo does an obligatory pass, but is gone as quickly as he came, and Travis Scott manages to acquit himself relatively well, despite his odd continuing fascination with cacti. Migos fans are sure to make jokes that Takeoff was left off, again, and one can't help but think they either should have included him or skipped Quavo, but it's hardly an issue.

While this easily could have been an enjoyable throwaway, with two young artists linking up for the hype and moving it, it beats all odds to stand as one of 2017's most enjoyable and essential moments. The eerie vibe takes no prisoners, and leaves no listener behind. You're sure to have a good time, they pulled out all the stops with this one. Dig in.