BY PARKER KLYN
At the Golden Globes a few weeks ago, Donald Glover gave thanks and remarks after winning Best Television Series for “Atlanta.” Glover shouted out Migos: “Not for being on the show,” Glover said, although their cameo was one of the highlights of the first season, “but for making ‘Bad and Boujee.’ That’s the greatest song ever.”
Migos, an Atlanta rap trio consisting of Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff, have always had the uncanny ability to go viral and make memes out of themselves.
Their debut single, “Versace,” popularized their signature rapid-fire triplet flow, got a Drake remix and found itself near the top of multiple publications’ best songs of 2013.
They brought regional terms like “bando” and “pipe it up” into the national lexicon.
They jump-started the mainstream’s embrace of dabbing. And finally, their music has caught up to their cultural impact as “Bad and Boujee,” the lead single off their new album, “Culture,” has rocketed to number one on the Billboard charts.
It’s a fantastic hip-hop banger, but not in the same vein of previous hits “Hannah Montana” or “Bricks.” Those tracks radiated white-hot intensity, with Quavo practically screaming at times.
“Bad and Boujee” is a much more refined hit, as Offset becomes the star with his impeccably cool hook (“My n****s is savage, ruthless/ We got 30s and 100-rounds too”). And despite how critical I’ve been of Lil Uzi Vert, he comes through with a relentlessly charismatic verse that wraps up the “Bad and Boujee” package nicely.
So, coming into Culture, it was hard to know what to expect; would Migos keep up their string of high-energy pop-rap, or would they refine their sound into this more low-key confidence?
I’m a little bit disappointed to say it’s the latter. Migos are unquestionably great singles artists (“Versace,” “Hannah Montana,” “Fight Night,” “Bricks,” “Bad and Boujee”), but that hasn’t translated into great albums or mixtapes.
Unfortunately, that trend continues onto “Culture,” as a lot of filler surrounds some exhilarating moments.
The best moments on Culture are those that don’t fit into that boilerplate Atlanta trap sound that Migos helped pioneer.
It has since become oversaturated, and that genre’s best albums (Lil Yachty’s “Lil Boat,” Travis Scott’s “Rodeo”) have gimmicks and defining features that set them apart. “What the Price” is an awesome piece of psychedelia, with soft-rock guitars complimenting Quavo’s cacophonous vocals. The song sounds like it’s being sung in front of 70,000 inside a football stadium, giving ambition to Migos’ sound.
“Deadz” is orchestral and ominous, with frightening brass chords backing Quavo and Offset, telling us how much we’re in danger. It also contains an incredible 2 Chainz feature.
But the rest of the album doesn’t excite me quite as much as those moments.
“Kelly Price,” with Travis Scott, sounds like a leftover from Scott’s disappointing Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. After listening to the album, I honestly had a difficult time remembering any specific moments from an early three-song stretch (“Call Casting” to “Slippery”), although Gucci Mane’s feature on “Slippery” is a nice change of pace.
Part of the problem is that Migos subscribe to the quantity-over-quality portion of lyric-writing, and over a full hour of music, that can get exhausting.
So they haven’t changed my opinions at all: Migos can make some of the greatest trap singles of the decade, but they have yet to prove themselves over a full project. And they’re probably okay with that; after all, they still have “Bad and Boujee.”