Atlanta’s Quavo, Offset and Takeoff, who make up the trio known as Migos, have always made music that is more than just music. They breathe the voice of hip hop’s most vibrant city, they craft anthems for a young and energetic generation and they drop some of the filthiest bangers on the face of this planet. Simply put, it’s more than music. It’s culture.
Many Migos mixtapes and albums have come and gone, but the hip hop community, internet and culture were especially buzzing for this one. The group had been lurking in the background after the overdone and frankly overrated “Pipe It Up,”and with the dab trend having died out, many dismissed the group as superficial gimmick rappers. But everything changed in October with the single “Bad and Boujee.”
“Bad and Boujee,” as Donald Glover pointed out in his Golden Globes name-check of the track, is extremely important — for Migos, hip hop and all of us. “Bad and Boujee” showed the world not only that Migos are back stronger than ever, but also that they are making much more than gimmick hits. This song is the thesis statement, manifesto and earth-shattering proclamation of CULTURE, the album and the construct. The infectious bounce of this hit is why the hype is so present around this album, and upon the first listen, this hype is absolutely warranted.
The album opens up with the title track, “Culture.” Featuring DJ Khaled, this song utilizes the most appropriate hypeman possible because, whether you like him or not, Khaled has established himself as a cultural icon over the last year. The next few tracks keep the album’s opening extremely high energy, as heavy-hitting singles “T-Shirt,” “Call Casting” and “Bad and Boujee” follow.
The rest of the album, which features entirely new material, is extremely consistent with strong production, smooth southern flow and a few well-placed features. Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and Travis Scott, who all mesh perfectly with Migos, have standout roles. “Kelly Price,” featuring Travis Scott, particularly shows the group’s versatility as they weave in and out of a downtempo beat with melodic verses. This album’s strength lies in the ability to go in on a harder beat and contrarily sing well on a slower one. Other highlights include the head nodder “Get Right Witcha,” and a Zaytoven-produced piano banger called “Big On Big.” The contrasts between each track are noticeable and keep the listener engaged throughout the album. The only noticeable flaw is the drawn-out length of some of the songs.
CULTURE is extremely important for the careers of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff, as it is the most seriously they have been taken and is the first true album from the group that will be listened to as such. After early breakout hits like the Drake-remixed “Versace” and club favorite “Hannah Montana,” Migos were all about internet presence. They made hot singles that were played for fun at parties, often memed on the internet, and nothing more. However, after signing onto Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label and this release of a cohesive and consistent album on the coattails of “Bad and Boujee,” Migos are finally serious hip hop contenders.
The brilliant X factor in this group’s success is the Migos’ conscious realization of their influence in spaces that transcend music. Upon listening to this album, it is extremely apparent that their approach has changed from a hit-making formula to something both enigmatic and fluid. Quavo, Offset and Takeoff have used Atlanta to create music that is not for profit appeal but for the appeal of themselves, their roots, their experience and their audience. Migos have started a dialogue with their audience that we must engage in — for ourselves, for the music, for each other, for the culture.