Migos; Culture (2017) Review

Culture by Tre Simmons

It’s a well-known internet fact that Migos are a better group than The Beatles. While this might be overstating the case of Migos as a cultural phenomenon and critically/commercially/fan acclaimed rap group, the trio of rappers have seen a level of prolificacy matched with a consistency few besides the Fab Four can claim. Their forefathers are Outkast and the Dungeon Family, who channeled in a sweet, slightly psychedelic and all-together innovative manner of combining technical potency with an ingratiating sense of humor, topped off with a set of producers who create catchy, menacing beats for them to rap over. Simply put, Migos are at a cultural pinnacle, staking claim to #1 sales, rave reviews, and a fan base that simply won’t quit. On their new album Culture, they have made their best work to date and have firmly established the idea that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Beginning with opener “Culture” (featuring producer/yelling connoisseur DJ Khaled), Migos stretch out their now-signature triplet flow (among many others) over the various productions given to them from a star-studded cast of beatmakers, including the aforementioned Khaled, as well as Metro Boomin’, Cardo and Nard & B. There is a blues/psychedelic/trap hybrid moving through most of the songs, and as usual, a bass-heavy low end to round out every lyric and mad-hatted ad lib throughout the album. Lead single and standout track “Bad and Boujee” extends their cultural currency, with appearances from fellow rappers Travis Scott and OG Maco appearing in the music video. The collaborative efforts continue sparsely throughout the album, but are utilized to maximum effect (including another sterling verse from post-prison Gucci Mane on “Slippery,” and my personal favorite song “Deadz,” featuring equally idiosyncratic rapper 2 Chainz). Not one to let their guests outshine them in any way, however, Migos get in some of their strongest hooks here that even outweigh the memorability of their earlier, simplistic choruses that began their cultural cache in the first place (compare the hits “Hannah Montana” and “Versace” to the inescapable “rain drop/drop top” chorus on “Bad And Boujee” or the crooning, sing-songy melodies on “What The Price”).

Their punchlines continue to shine, as well as the duality evident between the more hedonistic respects of their lifestyle and religious beliefs. As evidence, you can look to “still be playing with pots and pans/call me Quavo Ratatouille,” and contrast this with verses from guest appearances on Young Thug’s “Quarterback” from 2015, featuring lyrics such as “the world is gonna end one day/read it in Revelations,” as well as references to a passed grandmother giving her blessings on “Out Yo Way.” Migos are equally in reverence to those who raised them and made them who they are, and the manner in which they currently live their lives. On Culture, they have created a singular piece of work that extends their reign as one of the (possibly, best) rap groups in the annals of rap history by simply doubling down on everything that has made them successful thus far. They may not quite be on the level of legendary that a lot of people give to four mop-top British men who (admittedly) altered the pop zeitgeist (especially if fellow group Rae Sremmurd have any say), but Migos have definitely crafted a unique lane of Culture all their own.