Reviews are a pain-free way of combining writing with what I love (for example, music), in a way that generates interest.
A Taste of the Rockstar Lifestyle
Giving followers a taste of the rockstar lifestyle, Atlanta, Georgia based hip-hop trio Migos (comprised of emcees Quavo, Takeoff and Offset) are hell bent on having a good time on their second studio album ‘Culture’. The record will impact strongest with those who can relate to the trio's need for satisfaction.
‘Culture’ probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Listeners are advised to let go of their rational mind before pressing play on the project. ‘Culture’ is animated, on the whole this is a positive thing. In fact, many of the LP’s better moments are gloriously cartoony. Migos continuously sound as if they don’t have a care in the world, and there’s appeal in that. Philly rapper/songwriter Lil Uzi Vert’s ridiculously fearless guest spot on ‘Bad And Boujee’ is certainly hard to miss.
However, although ‘Culture’ occasionally comes close to sounding progressive, many of its tracks fall under the radar simply because they’ve been done before. The worst of these sound vacant, mindless and like they took no more than a minute to brainstorm.
Self-Indulgent Flair and Hip-Hop Horseplay
Because nothing on ‘Culture’ strays too far from lead single ‘Bad And Boujee’, most of the album’s lesser efforts can be found repackaged elsewhere on its tracklisting. ‘T-Shirt’ and ‘Call Casting’ expand on the all-conquering hit with varying levels of success.
Driven by new money (and a large helping of “skrrt” ad-libs), ‘Culture’ is a good representation of what’s currently popular in hip-hop right now. Migos don’t try to reinvent the genre. They generally stick to taking complete advantage of the fact that their overall sound is trending. To their credit, somehow, the trio stop themselves from sounding gimmicky. Actual focus can be found within the group’s self-indulgent flair and hip-hop horseplay.
DJ Khaled Scolds Migos' Detractors
Scolding those who doubted the rise of Migos, ‘Culture’ is kicked off by the ever upfront DJ Khaled, who appears on the album’s title track. ‘Slippery’ with Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane is packed with watery imagery. 'Slippery' is admirably out of the box, however initially, it sounds a little strange.
Eventually though, as Offset's lyrical skills unfurl, the tune begins to make more sense. Compounded by lavish electric guitar licks and haunted piano stabs, ‘What The Price’ is an ode to the hustler mentality. Its memorable choruses contain cascading shoutouts and spacious vocal riffing from the group.
Sizing Up the Competition
Migos size up the rap scene in their own special way on 'Big On Big'. The tune’s instrumental stands apart from the rest of ‘Culture’. Yet even its elaborate piano ideas and sense of drama can't elevate ‘Big On Big’ above sounding passable.
Boosted by a guest spot from hip-hop artist 2 Chainz, ‘Deadz’ is a highlight. Its layered instrumental effectively rises and recedes. The sub bass sounds on the tune alone, deserve an award. It’s easy to imagine people losing their minds to ‘Deadz’ in a club. The track’s momentous, presidential loops and low-riding beats are meaty.
As demonstrated on its extended, loosely chanted sections, ’Deadz’ is carried by charisma more than anything else. Although the four featured rappers' performances are fun and repetitive, rather than substantial, ‘Deadz’ makes its mark. Takeoff’s verse towards the end of the track crucially injects it with momentum.
In the Fast Lane
Migos take listeners to the strip club for ‘All Ass’. Hungry for action, the trio rap about a line-up of scantily-clad dancers on the bassy trap banger. Impressed by their determined, money making work ethic, Migos don’t hesitate to pay the ladies generously for their time. 'All Ass' dresses up its mischievous themes in inexplicably hooky playground elements. Yet ultimately, just like ‘Brown Paper Bag’, ‘All Ass’ is outshone by other tracks on the record.
‘On Yo Way’ flickers with genuine depth. Compared to the rest of ‘Culture’, it’s practically sentimental. ‘On Yo Way’ is light and digestible. The track’s gradual trap works an R&B feel. Kicking off with tender, auto-tuned vocals, the breezy cut unreservedly thanks the circle of women that surround the trio for their steadfast loyalty.
Co-starring Travis Scott, Migos muse on the joys of recreational drugs and casual sex on trap highlight ‘Kelly Price’. Proudly living life in the fast lane, the band of rappers use ‘Kelly Price’ to showcase their more outlandish ideas. Centred around simplistic, lifted, hazy crooning, ‘Kelly Price’ is peppered with scatty, sporadic hollering. As the tune plays out further, it becomes harder and harder to resist the boys’ on-record shenanigans.