“Do it for the culture, they gon’ bite like vultures”. Quavo called it exactly as it is on “T-Shirt” off of Culture, Migos second album. The hype leading up to Culture was nothing that Migos had experienced before. While they have had success in the past, it always seemed fleeting at least to the mainstream. They exploded with “Versace” in 2013, their first hit that connected with those outside of the hip-hop community. Obviously the addition of a Drake feature didn’t hurt their cause, an early sign of what was to come for Migos.
The successes of Migos had almost always come on the back of one member or the other. With “Handsome and Wealthy” Quavo was the star, shining on both the hook and his verse. Then came “Fight Night” where Takeoff’s gruff vocals proved to be king. I mean who wouldn’t get hyped listening to Takeoff shout “Ima knock that pussy out like fight night”? Undoubtedly the groups biggest success, commercially at least, was with “Bad and Boujee”. The song was a slow rising star, released at the end of October in 2016 and largely only heard in the hip-hop community. It didn’t take long for it to reach outside of the community however. Twitter was a driving force for the song, with memes containing the phrase “Rain drop, Drop top” in some form popping up all over the site. A video surfaced of a crowd in Nigeria going crazy at a Migos concert, screaming every word along with the group. The song was anchored by an incredibly catchy hook from Offset, and an equally strong verse. He doesn’t even need to use words to announce to the listeners that they’re about to hear straight heat, simply shouting “WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA”.
Culture is different. Culture is a culmination. Culture is domination. Culture is proof that Migos can come together, as one, and all shine to the point that there isn’t one clear “top” rapper of the album. Offset, Quavo and Takeoff all shine on multiple tracks. Its almost alternating between the tracks that haven’t yet blown up in the mainstream. At the same time on “T-Shirt”, the albums second biggest track, all three are spitting their best bars, going bar for bar with each other. The album also shows that Migos is willing to slow it down. While the argument could be made that Migos have no versatility with their music, that every song sounds the same, that all the content is usually similar I believe that this album showed differently. They put together a full album, cohesive top to bottom album that slows and hypes in the right places. The first track, named after the album, features a hyped up (but when isn’t he?) DJ Khaled going off about the “fuckboys” who don’t respect what Migos have done for the culture. The album continues in an upward hype level through “Slippery” which features Gucci Mane, the original Trap God. Not a surprise to see a Gucci feature on this album, as all of them have been heavily influenced by Guwop. “Big on Big” takes a step back, almost a declaration of Migos reign on top of hip-hop. It’s a boasting track about girls, money, cars and everything else that you might have, and reming us that Migos version of all of that is better than yours. No matter what. “What The Price” could be described as a trap ballad, with Quavo singing over the beat, calling out to the plug. The album continues the vibe heavy feel through the end.
Migos might not be considered the best in rap. They may never become the next Beatles. Culture might be a footnote in history rather than a large point in 20 years. This could all be true. But I don’t think it will be. Migos already put their stamp on the culture when they arrived on the scene with their signature Migos Flow which was adapted by dozens and dozens of aspiring rappers. No one can control social media like the Migos can (well maybe the exception being Donald Trump). Their inputs into hip-hop are already well document and will only continue to grow. Only time will tell if Migos can attain that legendary status, but Culture puts them well on their way.