Standout Tracks: 'Bad and Boujee", "Big on Big", "Kelly Price", "Get Right Witcha"
At the Golden Globes this year, fellow Atlanta rapper Donald Glover called hip hop group Migos “the Beatles of this generation.” While the truth of that will vary depending on the listener, it is true that, between their reintroduction of the triplet flow and their escalating memes, they have become the most influential rap group out of Atlanta since Outkast. Their previous release, Y.R.N., was bogged down by a half-hearted attempt at pop writing. With their second studio album Culture and its more concise songs they have released the first truly great Migos album.
These thirteen tracks comprise a different beast from their previous, bloated releases, while still keeping their style intact. The minor key production, triplet flow over 4/4 beats, the ad-libs are all still here. They’re more than just the dab, and set out to prove it with the zeitgeist-like title, cinematic cover, and sumptuous, spacey production.
That being said, this is an Atlanta trap album, so if you’re looking for lyrics beyond the subgenre’s purview you’ll be at a loss. Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff populate their songs with tales of their come-up in both the rap and crack games, along with the usual braggadocio -- sex, money, luxury, it's all here. The difference between them and their many imitators is that this band is simply just far more entertaining in how they do it. Their sing-song hooks, constant ad-libs and staccato delivery make their chemistry both imitable and infectious.
Despite DJ Khaled’s bombastic opening statements on the first, Culture the production never rises to a major key. That sameness wears occasionally, but the selection of producers more than makes up for it. Migos recruited a row of trap auteurs to diversify the typical snares and synths. The most prominent examples include Murda Beatz’s backing pan flute on "Get Right Witcha," or Zaytoven’s melodic keys and operatic strings that foreground "Big on Big." That’s without mentioning the slow burn of Metro Boomin’s ubiquitous "Bad and Boujee."
With Culture, Migos have finally delivered on the promises of their first mixtape from 2013, and succeeded where their previous studio album did not. Their irresistible interplay and sharp improvisations are still there, but now they’re backed by tight and cohesive, but still patient, production.