By Laurent Sicard – 1851 Staff
If you weren’t familiar with Migos before their second chart-topping hit “Bad and Boujee,” you are now. The hip-hop trio has returned with its second album “Cul- ture.” The group consists of rappers Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff and the new album fea- tures guest appearances from DJ Khaled, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, and Travis Scott. Released on January 27 and almost an hour in length, “Culture” displays the group’s strengths, despite a few loose ends.
The album title is reasonable in its implication that the group has impacted hip hop for the better. The trio’s first taste of commercial success was aided by Drake’s “Midas Touch” from the “Versace” remix. Since then, almost every rapper has attempted to achieve the “Migos Flow.” While they haven’t reached their pinnacle, they’ve been compared to The Beatles by fellow Atlanta artist Childish Gambino. For now, they are representative of the “rockstar” archetype in hip-hop, that artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, and Future identify them- selves with. Their brand emphasizes style, delivery, and energy.
With this in mind, the intention of this album is to move crowds. On this project Migos showcase the versatile flows and bouncy trap production that propelled them to stardom. Often, the hooks are catchy, and the ad libs in the background are energetic. On “Bad and Boujee,” Quavo reminds us of their North Atlanta upbringing as he chants, “We from the North, yeah that way.” On “What the Price,” Offset reflects on how he had to find “a better route,” because his environment was demoralizing. On “T-Shirt,” Takeoff wants to see his family well off, and there “ain’t no way around it.” Yet, the trio shines the most when they are aligned with former “Versace” producer Zaytoven. They trade hooks, flows, and bars effortlessly on “Big on Big” and “Brown Paper Bag.”
Despite these strengths, “Culture” still a few downfalls. Those who love DJ Khaled just as much as his Snapchat followers must admit that he overstays his welcome on the first track when he states the obvious, “This the intro” or perhaps a favorite, “they impacted the culture!” Thanks for your two cents, Khaled.
On “Slippery,” Gucci Mane sounds bland, attempting to rap alongside the trio who changes their flow as frequently as their designer clothes. Most awkward of all, is the placement of the last track “Out Your Way.” The song has a catchy outro, but hardly does anything to provide closure, or clarify their contributions to hip-hop culture.
Collectively, this project seeps misogyny and glorifies drug dealing and crime. However, what else is there to make music about for those who come from a segregated community whose various institutions have failed them and stigmatized them since they be- came men? One can either make a living from their situation, or let these things consume them.
Ultimately, this album deserves a B-. In spite of its loose ends, this is an enjoy- able project, if approached with the right perspective. Expect to hear Migos and their voices more often; they’re rockstars in their own right, and they’re here to cement their impact on hip-hop and pop culture.