Published Feb 01, 2017The first voice heard on Migos' C U L T U R E is DJ Khaled's, chiding you for ever doubting the influence of the Atlanta trio. Though Khaled's innumerable catch phrases have long worn out their welcome, he isn't wrong.
First came "Versace," which saw a litany of rappers ride Quavo, Takeoff and Offset's re-popularizing of the now-ubiquitous triplet cadence to more commercially successful heights. Then came debut album Young Rich Nation, a modest achievement despite some smashing singles. On top of issues with management and the law, the three still managed to put out more hits than misses since then.
Consistency has never been a question when it comes to Migos' catalogue, but the success of leading single "Bad and Boujee" was something new, earning them top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 following a shout-out from Donald Glover. For anyone who questioned the trio's place not only in Atlanta, but also within hip-hop C U L T U R E as a whole, that song alone firmly cemented them as some of its biggest players.
Having come from "nothing to something," as Offset puts it, Migos rightfully revel in both the trappings of rap and the trap itself on "Bad and Boujee." Takeoff recalls waking up early to "beat the pot with a passion" on "Call Casting," while Offset equates his own life to a game when he raps, "I own all of my cars, jewellery and I got property / Building these houses in places, I'm playing Monopoly." The subject matter isn't new, but the trio's knack for delivering humorous one-liners, tasteful adlibs and memorable hooks in impressively technical fashion remains a winning formula here.
Drawing on the same brooding, rarely exuberant nature of "Bad and Boujee" are the R&B-leaning "What the Price" and "Kelly Price." While the former provides a good look at Offset's increased attention to melody in its hook, the latter runs a bit too long in making room for a wholly unnecessary Travis Scott feature ("Cocaine in my hair, thought it was lice").
Production-wise, the three assemble a stable of beatmakers they should have had for Young Rich Nation. Nard & B provide the shifty, reversed synths that adorn "T-Shirt" (their second "T-Shirt" tune for an Atlanta artist), while Cardo lines up a brash, intimidating brass section for "Deadz," on which the trio become a fearsome foursome that includes 2 Chainz.
New Beatles or not, Migos shift into a new creative gear on C U L T U R E to keep in step with the current hip-hop climate they helped cultivate. Over two decades on from a fellow ATLien's declaration that "the South got something to say," the trio only continue to build on their undeniable influence here. (Quality Control/300)