By: Lucas Kowalik
Ever since they broke the Internet back in 2013 with “Versace,” Migos’ influence on hip-hop culture has been readily apparent. Their signature triplet flow was borrowed by Drake and in turn emulated by nearly every rapper, though no one could copy the trio’s unparalleled chemistry.
Migos is a family affair, consisting of the de-facto leader Quavo, his cousin Offset, and his nephew Takeoff. Each bring something different to the table and all get their moments to shine. While the trio has had memorable singles in the past, they lacked a classic album for their fans to rally around.
On their latest album Culture, it is safe to say that Migos have themselves a trap classic. Their ability to craft a hit single has translated into radio potential for nearly every track. Even on the less exciting tracks, the choruses still manage to get stuck in your head. But the true highlight of Migos has always been their ad-libs, which are layered so perfectly with their bars.
The success of Culture is largely thanks to Donald Glover, also known as hip-hop artist Childish Gambino. During his Golden Globe acceptance speech for his show Atlanta, which Migos made a cameo on, he shouted out the trio’s song “Bad and Boujee” for being “the best song ever.” While that may be a tall order, it is a great trap anthem and also the trio’s first number 1 single. Offset delivers the infectious chorus (“rain drop, drop top”), as well as a lyrically-dense verse that was broken down by Rap Genius for its internal rhymes. The only problem with the track is that Takeoff was left off for seemingly no one reason and Lil Uzi Vert fails to fill his shoes with his incredibly bland verse. The upside is that Takeoff turns it up to eleven for his verses on every other track and is debatably the star of this album.
Migos continues their trendsetting streak on “T-Shirt.” All the members utilize a stop-start flow that is jarring on first listen but you will likely be hearing this a lot more in the future. Takeoff is the standout member on this track and the way he brashly yells his ad-libs is undeniably hilarious.
From the auto-tuned hums to the wavy, atmospheric tracks, there is a lingering influence from Migos’ contemporary Travis Scott. He even appears on the ethereal track “Kelly Price,” named after the Grammy-nominated R&B artist. While the song’s runtime is over six minutes, it does not overstay its welcome. The track is dominated by Quavo and Scott, who have recently teased at a collab. album. It is a lavish, ethereal track and displays the true versatility of Culture.
All of the other features on the album contribute to some of the best tracks. The titular intro track features DJ Khaled who calls out anyone who ever doubted Migos. This track is loud, in your face, and the perfect start to the album. Another highlight is “Slippery” featuring Atlanta trap legend Gucci Mane who fits perfectly on this beat. The drug and sex-fueled chorus is one the catchiest on the album, especially the water-themed ad-libs. Takeoff absolutely spazzes in his verse and steals the show yet again. “Deadz,” featuring 2 Chainz, is a simple track about getting money and trapping, but is the album’s best banger. The chorus goes so hard and there is a high chance you will break your neck listening to it.
On the album’s closer, “Out Yo Way,” Migos switches things up thematically. The trio thank all of the women who have been there for them through the thick and thin. This is in contrast to the misogynist view of women which is so prevalent in hip-hop, and shows yet again how Migos are trendsetters.
In the past, Quavo has been called the Beyoncé of the group and some have recommended he go solo. While he may have the most mainstream success, this album proves that all three members of Migos can hold their own. Furthermore, each member brings something different and are all equally essential to the group’s success. In a recent interview, Donald Glover called Migos “The Beatles of this generation.” While that may be a triggering statement for some, their influence on the culture is undeniable. Some thought Migos would be a one-hit wonder, but it is clear they are here to stay.
(Feature Photo: Culture, 300 Entertainment)