Culture II: Review

Culture II is here, the latest album from the current kings of groups in hip-hop. It seems like all they can do is win in the last few years, if you disregard the whole Joe Budden beef and Offset getting caught up in a homophobic controversy. Culture, the original, was an album heavily driven by banging songs that carried a lot behind them. It was also a much more succinct and picked through album than Culture II is, at least in terms of length. That’s one of the first things that catches the eye when opening the album on Apple Music, it being 24 songs long. That is just simply too long, there are songs in the middle that could have been cut as they simply serve as filler for the rest.

One of the cooler parts of the album is that the Migos definitely tried to switch it-up, with most of my personal-favorite tracks being ones that are more slowed up with keys in the background (“Crown the Kings”, “Culture National Anthem”). The album opens on an aggressive note, with “Narcos” (which sees Takeoff absolutely go in), “Bad Bitches Only” with 21 Savage which is a track that I can see easily being overplayed and getting annoying in a month or two. “Supastars” is a solid cut from the beginning, and “Walk It, Talk It”, on which Drake goes off, putting together one of his better verses in a while. If Drake simply focuses on rapping, he is so damn good, and if he can continue to simply rap without getting caught up in stupid bullshit or getting too ‘woe is me’ with his lyrical composition. Back to the album, the fifth song is entitled, “Autopilot (Huncho on the beat)”, giving us the idea that Quavo himself gave us this fantastic beat that’s one of my favorites on the album. However, since the album dropped a producer has come out claiming to have made the beat (JSDG beats?), providing picture evidence and email proof of communication. If Quavo did make the beat, all he has to do is come out with proof that he actually made it, but if JSDG did indeed make the beat then Migos need to admit that and not try to bullshit us. Producers get fucked over regularly in today’s music landscape, and for a group such as Migos to be doing that is unacceptable, especially being that they’re already at the top of the game and don’t need to be trying to prove their other talents right now.

When it comes to lyrics on the album, there is some surprises. Yes, there is plenty of the same old same old lyrics surrounding drugs, women, and living life to the max, as to be expected. There is a depth in some of the songs, such as “Culture National Anthem”, that touch on cultural and political issues currently facing the general U.S. population. It is nice to see, but as Quavo says himself “Im tryna save whole the world, but it ain’t my job”, a very true statement that deserves evaluation from modern society. We often hold our artists to a very high standard of what they should be using their platform to say, and we want it to fit within our specific agendas. We sometimes forget that these are people too, who have flaws the same as us, and holding them to such a high standard, especially with the impossible to escape scrutiny that comes along with social media. They do their best to communicate to us what they believe but not all of them are there because they want to make a political impact in the first place. They are artists, some driven simply to entertain others and rock some dope shit. They do need to be held to a certain standard when it comes to the correlation between what they say and do (if they’re true about it), but we cannot look at them all as these role models who need to be using their platform for political change.

Overall, if the album had simply been cut to 14 songs about, it would’ve made for a much better album in my opinion. It would make it more palatable in one sitting, rather than feeling like you need to carve out a large amount of time to listen to fluff. It’s well mixed and produced the whole way through, not a shocker to anyone who saw the producer credit list on social media in the days before the album dropped. Legends like Pharell, Kanye, TM88, Murda on tha Beat, and many more were creited with helping on the album. It is another addition to their catalogue, definitely not as good as the original “Culture”, falling more into a “YRN” or “YRN 2” category. One of the things this album also showed, is that it’s time for them to go solo. “Culture” seems like it will be their peak as a group, and as they have all been slowly dropping solo songs anyways, it seems like a logical step. Whatever does come next, I will certainly still be listening to whatever they drop because you can never count them out, as the Migos have proved so many times before.

Jake Zinda

23 years old, from Wisconsin Hip-Hop Journalist @CMAG N.S.C.T.D.

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