Migos- Culture II Album Review
(By: Thomas Rodriguez)
Atlanta rap trio Migos returns with a bloated sequel to one of 2017’s best trap albums.
When speaking about the biggest rap groups (or names in music) today, you’d be hard pressed to not hear about the Migos. An Atlanta-based rap trio comprised of members Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff, (who are well known for their hedonism, triplet flows, and wild personalities), Migos have been propelled to superstardom by the success of their surprisingly well received 2017 album Culture. Through Culture, the trio dominated both the charts and local party playlists with some extremely hot singles, such as “Bad and Boujee”, the biggest single they’ve ever made. In addition to this, they surpassed the low expectations set by stuffy music critics that claimed their projects were overly long and dumbed down. Culture achieved this through a short tracklist made of only the best songs Migos would put on the album, as well as making their “dumb” music incredibly catchy and fun to listen to. Coupling a great album with some stellar guest appearances on other artists’ songs throughout the last year, as well as an announcement of a 2018 sequel to Culture, the Migos had the whole rap world holding its breath, waiting for Culture II. Despite a sizable amount of quality Migos songs being sprinkled throughout Culture II, the project ultimately falters due to its incredibly long runtime and lack of consistency in its songs.
On Culture II, Migos don’t try to reinvent the wheel, at least when it comes to their sound; they still have heavy usage of stylish trap instrumentals in the 24 songs they have given us. While some may frown upon this, asking for a new sound from the trio, this is ultimately Migos’ bread and butter, and the album ultimately fits a similar aesthetic to that of the original Culture. Most of the songs (despite their varying levels of quality) sound cohesive, despite the staggering amount of producers on the project, which includes (among others): Pharrell, Buddha Bless, Murda Beats, Kanye West, and Quavo himself. While there are a good amount of amazing beats found on Culture II, such as the kooky whistling on “Stir Fry” and the atmospheric saxophone on “Too Playa”, there are more forgettable instrumentals than would be expected. While none of these average moments are necessarily bad, they are just mere footnotes in the album’s hour and 45 minute runtime, and they definitely hinder the album’s success as a whole (good instrumentals are essential in a Migos album). The vast majority of these mediocre beats appear on the second half of the album, which slows to a dreadful crawl in long stretches of time because the group essentially showed us almost all that they would offer instrumentally in the first half. The few instrumental bright spots on songs like “Motorsport” or “Made Men” save us from falling asleep to boring, average beats on tracks like “Flooded” or “Crown the Kings”. In a similar vein, most of the featured artists on the album are good, yet a few are downright phoning it in (Gucci Mane on “CC” was so boring, you couldn’t even tell he was there). 2 Chainz, Drake, and 21 Savage all make solid appearances on their respective songs, yet their performances (like the forgettable beats) are again lost in the excessive runtime because very few truly stand out as outstanding; Cardi B and Nicki Minaj are among the few exceptions to this rule. Because of the unfortunate emphasis on quantity over quality, many of the Migos’ surrounding production and artists get lost in the clutter.
How are the Migos themselves, however? In short, they’ve taken their performances and writing down the same route as the production in the album: the Culture route. All of their autotuned crooning, quickly delivered bars, hilarious ad-libs, and cocky attitudes arrive in spades in the album. However, while the Migos’ rapping style is very unique, their lack of versatility in the songs throughout Culture II wears on the listener. This arrives mainly in the second half, as they barely change things up, with no standout beats to support them. Granted, there are many great verses from Takeoff throughout the entire album (“Too Much Jewelry” is a prime example of this), but Offset and Quavo do very little to change up their performance and writing from track to track, and by the second half it becomes stale bragging. By the hour and 10 minute mark, hearing the Migos flaunt their success over and over again, with no changes in delivery, is tiring. I wish that the Migos would embrace their weirder sides as much as they do on the standout “Narcos”, with its hilarious hook, but it feels as though they’re going through the motions on many cuts, without their signature catchy hooks or memorable lines. Beyond mediocrity, their performances are sometimes flat out bad, such as on songs like “Flooded” and “Emoji a Chain”, which are some of the clunkiest songs they’ve ever made. Even a song like “Gang Gang”, (which could have been amazing due to its silky smooth synths and handclaps), ultimately fails because of the absolutely dreadful repetition of its hook and verses. The song single-handedly ruined the word “gang” for me.
In short, Culture II is like a well cooked steak, only with 45 percent of it being fat. There are a lot of solid Migos songs scattered throughout the project, yet it falls apart in the second half, not only because of it not trying anything different from all that the trio had shown us in the first half, but because it’s simply too long. Had the group cut the fat of the project by removing the boring or flat out bad songs, we could have had a great project. Alas, Culture II’s “steak” is good at times, yet ultimately disappointing.
Tracks to Save: “Narcos”, “B.B.O”, “Stir Fry”, “Motorsport”, “Too Playa”, “Made Men”
Tracks to Skip: “Emoji a Chain”, “Gang Gang”, Tracks 13-16, “Movin’ Too Fast” “Top Down on da NAWF”
Did you like this album? Any comments or criticism? Comment down below and let me know! I’d love to hear what you think!