Offset, Takeoff and Quavo, better known as Migos, had been steadily ascending in popularity and impact prior to Donald Glover’s hilarious shout out to them during the 2017 Golden Globes. Glover’s mention took the group and skyrocketed their notoriety, partly because the song he specifically mentioned, ‘Bad and Boujee,’ is insanely infectious and partly because the portion of Middle America that tunes into the Golden Globes probably never heard ‘Y.R.N.’, Migos best mixtape, and now they had a reason to give it a spin.
On January 27th, the Atlanta-based rap trio released their second full-length album “Culture,” an aptly named record, considering the undeniable impact the young rap group has had on American culture. The group began its climb to the top of the chats in 2013, following the success of the Drake assisted track, ‘Versace.’ While Drake’s verse is what gained prominence, the presence of Migos on the Billboard Top 100 proved that the trap sound the group was cultivating had serious mainstream appeal. In 2015, Migos coined the ‘dab,’ a quick dance move containing immense viral appeal, with their song ‘Look at My Dab.’ From MVP quarterbacks to 12-year-old girls to desperate-to-be-hip House Speakers, the dab transcended Atlanta trap culture and quickly gained familiarity all across the United States.
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“Culture” kicks off with the familiar voice of another cultural phenomenon, DJ Khaled. After the abrasive hype-man yells at the listener for fifteen seconds, the first track ‘Culture’ takes off with Takeoff rapping the chorus with the signature triplet flow Migos have perfected. Lyrically and sonically, the song sets the tone for the rest of the album. Twisted sex stories, braggadocios wealth lyrics and drug-slinging melodies are the topics of choice and the trio has mastered their presentation.
The usual suspects appear on the production list: 808’s Mafia, Zaytoven, Metro Boomin and Purps to name a few and they all come equipped with their usual weaponry. Bombastic bass, rattling hi-hats, simple piano loops and triumphant synths dominate the musical aspect of “Culture,” as they dominate basically all of trap music. It works, as the formula has proven immensely successful, but it’s a concoction that can grow tiresome and deathly repetitive by the time 2 Chainz pops up on ‘Deadz’ and delivers one of his patented verses.
What separates Migos from the many artists creating music in the trap genre is their chemistry and sense of fun. Songs like ‘Call Casting’ and ‘T-Shirt’ have the group members working off of each other, as they effortlessly glide form verse to hook, tagging in the next member of the group like a wrestling partner. In an industry dominated by ego, the three don’t try and show each other up, instead opting to encourage the other with well-placed adlibs and shout outs.
“Culture” is Migos most refined release yet. While they don’t break any grounds they haven’t already conquered, they’ve learned to trim the fat and provide only their most complete songs. They’ve dropped the ultra-repetitive choruses that plagued many of their earlier tracks and have begun to come into their own as serious and legitimate songwriters. “Culture” is out now via Atlantic Records.