The trailblazing rap trio Migos, featuring Quavo, Offset and Takeoff, has made its return to the rap game after a dreadfully long one-year hiatus. Migos recently released its third studio album, “Culture II,” a sequel to their wildly popular 2017 project, “Culture.” With two 2018 Grammy nominations for “Culture,” “Culture II” has become one of the most highly anticipated hip-hop records of 2018.
“Culture II” starts off slowly with forgettable tracks like “Higher We Go (Intro)” and “Supastars.” These tracks provide nothing new for Migos as the group braggadociously strings together bars about fame and stardom over trap beats. However, the album recovers quickly with three consecutive standout songs, starting with “Narcos.” Over a sample of a French classic, “Les Difficiles De Petion-Ville,” the group executes each verse perfectly. Offset’s versatility as an artist is clear, as he provides both a catchy hook and solid verse. This banger is followed by “BBO (Bad B*****s Only),” an up-tempo song about Migos’ infatuation with beautiful women. Both Quavo’s and Takeoff’s flows are highlighted this in this track. Following “BBO” is the best song on the album, “Walk It Talk It.” The catchy repetition that Migos is famous for is at the forefront of Quavo’s hook, while Drake provides arguably the best verse on the entire album. This track is guaranteed to be a club hit with the group’s usual trap sound.
However, Migos tries a completely new sound with “Stir Fry,” as Quavo displays his mastery in hook creation. The album closes with “Made Men” and “Culture National Anthem (Outro).” Both tracks summarize Migos’ rise to fame and what “Culture” and being unique means to each of them. The lavish piano melodies layered on top of these beats provide a very laid-back vibe and end the album on a high note.
One of the first and most obvious characteristics of this album is the colossal size of “Culture II.” With 24 songs spanning an one hour and 45 minutes, the album feels like a chore to listen to. In the music industry today, listeners don’t have the time or the attention spans to listen to extremely long albums, which is why even industry giants like Kendrick Lamar and JAY-Z created superior albums well under an hour in 2017. With significantly less lyrical depth and musical versatility than Kendrick and JAY-Z, Migos has no business creating an album of such length. Unfortunately, this strips away a main component of the success of “Culture,” which was a higher quality experience in a fraction of the time. Migos has always been a group to emphasize quantity over quality in the past and it’s disappointing to see the group decide to create yet another unnecessarily lengthy project.
Another glaring issue with the album is the production quality. According to Migos, there were 18 producers who worked on “Culture II,” a stark contrast to “Culture” the tracks on which were produced by Zaytoven, Metro Boomin’ or Murda Beatz. Because of this, Migos was able to establish a very specific trap sound on “Culture”, while still varying the tracks enough to keep the listener engaged. “Culture II” sounds completely different from track to track, never consistently sticking to Migos’ previously identifiable sound.
Where “Culture” dominated rap headlines for months and was widely considered one of the best hip-hop albums of 2017, “Culture II” lacks sonic variation and is a largely forgettable album. The legacy of this album will always be plagued by its inability to live up to the glory of its predecessor.
Overall, “Culture II” a lot discernible issues. Many of the tracks are forgettable, while a few have a chance to become radio hits.