By Eli Schoop, Copy Editor
[Quality Control; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Bad and Boujee,” “Deadz,” “Kelly Price”
Migos is now a fad. Rather than being judged as a sort of rap boy band churning out hit after hit, their music is akin to a “Macarena” or a “Crank Dat”, seeping into the public consciousness as a meme. Their phrases: “Bad and Boujee,” “Versace,” “I’m a knock the pussy out like fight night,” act as an easy reference for white people and corporations alike to throw out for cool points. There’s nothing more annoying than co-optation of culture and in Migos’ case, they’re taking the brunt of that damage.
C U L T U R E follows this pathway after the success of “Bad and Boujee”. It’s a tremendous track and the best song on the album, but if your lead single is the best song, what would make people want to come back? Migos’ reliance on these big hits belie the choice cuts that truly make a tape worthwhile (see: JEFFREY, DS2). Even though Migos usually carry their music by themselves, the most effective tunes feature such stalwarts as 2 Chainz and Travis Scott in “Deadz” and “Kelly Price” respectively. That shouldn’t be the modus operandi from a group with three players that can each go off individually or in tandem, but the production is too watered down to make use of.
Make no mistake, the rapping doesn’t falter at all. Quavo, Offset and Takeoff are still as potent and powerful as ever, combining their mastery of ad-libs and slick flows to pack every line with a punch fitting for the boundless Atlanta trio. Takeoff really shines on this LP, in part because with Quavo as the group’s Beyonce and Offset breaking out as a sensation through “Bad and Boujee”, Takeoff seemed to think he had to up his game immensely, which lets the album breathe through his revitalization. All three of these dudes are one of a kind in the industry right now, and by no fault of theirs does the album falter.
However, unlike on No Label II or Young Rich Ni**as, the energy and vitality can’t keep up with the Migos themselves. While that sounds bleak, it’s a testament to how particularly talented the group is wherein their bars and breaks need to be complemented with just as exceptional beats and melodies. C U L T U R E will get any party lit and that’s admirable, but Migos have supplied far more before and it’s troubling to see the output now not match that.