Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as too much fucking Migos, and I fear we’ve hit the threshold. There’s problems within their structuring, and what they’ve released, and I feel like I should talk about it.
THERE’S A LOT OF MUSIC (QUANTITY!)
I (and a couple friends who share my Migoverdose sentiments) organized everything the Migos have done in a Cultural Year (from Culture to Culture II’s release) just to give a visual grasp on how much Migos is out in the world right now in such a short span of time, because a lot of people fail to understand that there’s literally an entire lifetime of work they’ve crammed into 2017.
- JANUARY 27th, 2017: Migos release Culture.
- JANUARY 31st, 2017: Quavo is featured on Post Malone’s Congratulations single.
- FEBRUARY 17th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Jidenna’s Let Her Out off of The Chief.
- FEBRUARY 23rd, 2017: Migos are featured on Calvin Harris’ Slide single.
- FEBRUARY 28th, 2017: Quavo is featured on DJ Mustard’s Want Her single.
- APRIL, 2017: Migos are featured on Katy Perry’s Bon Appetit.
- APRIL 13th, 2017: Takeoff is featured on Cousin Stizz’s Headlock single.
- APRIL 14th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Go Off, on the Fate of the Furious soundtrack.
- APRIL 28th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Missy Elliot’s Glow Up off of Strength of a Woman.
- APRIL 28th, 2017: Quavo is featured on DJ Khaled’s I’m The One single.
- APRIL 28th, 2017: Migos are featured on Sean Paul’s Body single.
- MAY 12th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Machine Gun Kelly’s Trap Paris single.
- MAY 15th, 2017: Quavo is featured on ASAP Mob’s RAF single.
- MAY 16th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Drake’s Portland off of More Life.
- MAY 19th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Liam Payne’s Strip That Down single.
- MAY 24th, 2017: Takeoff releases Intruder as a single.
- MAY 25th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Lil Durk’s Homie Bitch single.
- MAY 26th, 2017: Offset is featured on Gucci Mane’s Met Gala off of DropTopWop.
- MAY 26th, 2017: Migos are featured on Lil Yachty’s Peek-a-Boo single.
- JUNE 1st, 2017: Quavo is featured on Major Lazer’s Know No Better single.
- JUNE 1st, 2017: Offset is featured on Philthy Rich’s Water Leak single.
- JUNE 2nd, 2017: Quavo is featured on Halsey’s Lie off of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.
- JUNE 14th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Keke Palmer’s Wind Up single.
- JUNE 16th, 2017: Quavo is featured on 2 Chainz’ Good Drank single.
- JUNE 16th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Young Thug’s You Said off of Beautiful Thugger Girls.
- JUNE 16th, 2017: Migos are featured on Steve Aoki’s Night Call single.
- JUNE 23rd, 2017: Offset is featured on Metro Boomin’s No Complaints single.
- JUNE 28th, 2017: Offset is featured on Sauce Walka’s Hop in da Lamb.
- JULY 13th, 2017: Quavo is featured on NeXxthursday’s Sway single.
- JULY 14th, 2017: Quavo is featured on French Montana’s Migo Montana off of Jungle Rules.
- JULY 20th, 2017: Quavo is featured on A-TRAK’s Believe single.
- JULY 21st, 2017: Quavo is featured on Tyga’s Bel Air off of BitchImTheShit2.
- JULY 21st, 2017: Offset is featured on Nav and Metro Boomin’s Minute off of Perfect Timing.
- JULY 21st, 2017: Offset is featured on Amine’s Wedding Crashers single.
- AUGUST 3rd, 2017: Offset is featured on Juicy J’s Flood Watch single.
- AUGUST 24th, 2017: Offset is featured on London on da Track’s No Flag single.
- SEPTEMBER 5th, 2017: Migos are featured on Gucci Mane’s I Get The Bag single.
- SEPTEMBER 22nd, 2017: Offset is featured on Macklemore’s Willy Wonka off of Gemini.
- OCTOBER 9th, 2017: Offset is featured on Ski Mask “The Slump God”‘s With Vengeance single.
- OCTOBER 20th, 2017: Offset is featured on Young Thug and Future’s Patek Water single.
- OCTOBER 27th, 2017: Quavo is featured on Karol G’s Ahora Me Llama off of Unstoppable.
- OCTOBER 31st, 2017: Quavo is featured on Offset, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s Rap Saved Me off of Without Warning.
- OCTOBER 31st, 2017: Offset, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin release Without Warning.
- DECEMBER 19th, 2017: Quality Control: Control the Streets Vol. 1 is released. One or more Migo(s) appear on 22 tracks out of 30.
- DECEMBER 21st, 2017: Quavo and Travis Scott release Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho.
- DECEMBER 21st, 2017: Offset is featured on Quavo and Travis Scott’s Dubai Shit off of Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho.
- DECEMBER 21st, 2017: Takeoff is featured on Quavo and Travis Scott’s Eye to Eye off of Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho.
That’s an absurd amount of Migos to listen to. I have friends who listen to pretty much everything that comes out in multiple genres and I guarantee there’s stuff that they didn’t catch from this list. That, and I’m pretty sure Takeoff is missing off of this list with a ton of shit because for some reason, Takeoff doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, which is hilarious to me. There’s more than just one issue with this quantity of music, and it’s got to do with the quality of the music.
THERE’S NOT MUCH INNOVATION IN THIS MUSIC (THAT’S FINE!)
The Migos are not rappers who rap about lots of topics. In JUST the song “Slippery” I found an example of pretty much every recurring theme in a Migos song.
- Selling drugs.
- “Big scales, fishscale, big weight // Iceberg, ice tray, ice tray”
- Using certain drugs.
- “Pop a perky just to start up // Pop two cups of purple just to warm up”
- The production of drugs. (Past-tense)
- “I’m gon’ pop, if I don’t, I’m back to the pot // I got rocks, big bales, big arms”
- Having sex with women.
- “Slippery, she numbin’ me, that tongue on me // Honestly, she fuck with me, your wife to be”
- Gun violence.
- “Run in your house with pumps and the shotties // Your mama might be up inside it”
- “I gave her some dollars, I Gucci’d her collar, now she can’t get over me”
- “Red dot, retro Air Jord’ deadstock”
- “Get beat, ’cause I’m flexin’ ‘Raris // You can bet on me (skr skrrrrr)”
- “I pull up Diablo, I pull up with models // I gave her her first Phillippe”
There’s a grand total of maybe 10 topics at the maximum that they have in their music, and before someone singles me out for this, that’s fine. Plenty of rappers have gotten away with entire lifetimes of work based around simple subject matters — Wiz Khalifa is one of the biggest rappers in the world and I’m not even sure he’s got a song where he doesn’t talk about smoking weed. It can work for some people, and Migos have traditionally been those people. This was, of course, until the year they released 4 albums between them and featured themselves on 378,294 songs. (That’s a real number.)
The problem isn’t that it’s not going out of their comfort zone enough, it’s that it’s not going out of their comfort zone at all and when songs like Stir Fry surfaced near the end of the year, it was blatantly obvious that Migos are, if anything, more than capable of creating sounds that venture into new territory without going out of the usual formula. (Plus, Stir Fry is fuckin’ crazy well-produced.)
THEY HOPPED ON THE COLLABORATION WAVE AND BATTED .500 (AVERAGE!)
In 2017, for some reason, lots of artists decided to release collaboration projects. G-Eazy and Carnage, Nav and Metro Boomin (twice for some reason) and shit, even Lil Wayne and T-Pain dropped some older material that never came out to thunderous applause. Migos, not one to leave their hand out of any cookie jar, decided to make two collaboration projects. One being Quavo’s collaboration with Travis Scott; Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho and the other being Offset’s collaboration with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin; Without Warning. Huncho Jack suffered from the issues I talked about prior; it focuses on what Quavo (and Travis) focus on, but it doesn’t do enough to draw the listener in and when you have 15,000 songs a year, you have to go against the grain a little. Offset, however, managed to drop something special with 21 and Metro. The one missing name from this trio is, you guessed it, Takeoff — who has rumored progress on a tape with Lil Yachty of all people. The point here is that there’s pretty much nothing for them in the collaboration wave; the people they collaborate with (traditionally) don’t bring them out of their shells enough. Huncho Jack felt like one continuous song. Without Warning escaped the stigma, but it’s not likely Yachty/Takeoff meets the same standard.
SO WHAT CAN THEY DO TO POSSIBLY ESCAPE THIS STIGMA (STALE!)
There’s an easy answer and a difficult answer.
EASY ANSWER: Literally just get Pharrell to produce more stuff for them.
DIFFICULT ANSWER: Adapt to the new sound we’re seeing in their genre.
Over the year that hip-hop had, the sound changed a little. Drake took a turn toward more island-thematic sounds. 6ix9ine and xxxtentacion made it cool for 13 year-olds to yell in their rooms again. Lil Pump showed us a hook could be an entire song. Maxo Kream almost singlehandedly made storytelling workable into catchy tunes again. Migos made… Culture 2. It speaks volumes about their dropoff in quality that Pitchfork gave Culture an 8.1 and Culture 2 barely got past a 6. Not that Pitchfork is the authority in music reviewing; they’re certainly not, but they’re a consistent rating system you can look at and when a group as big as them takes that big of a hit, you’ve got to take notice. If you talk to anyone, you’ll hear that they think Culture 2 is a dropoff. Where Culture felt like going on a roadtrip to Atlanta for something really cool like a theme park, Culture 2 felt like going on a roadtrip to Atlanta because there’s a special dentist there who’s gonna operate on your gums. Ain’t no one wanna drive 24 tracks for some wack shit like that. Culture let us drive for 12 tracks and have a ton of fun on the way.
This is a side thought, but if Culture 2 was Culture 1 and Culture 1 was Culture 2, it’d make much more sense. Culture 2 is plagued by being too long and too generic. Culture just cuts the filler and makes it dynamic while not bouncing all over the place. They managed to introduce mistakes to their music instead of fix them.
However, there is something they haven’t tried yet.
THERE’S A SECRET WEAPON ON DECK (TAKEOFF!)
Takeoff doesn’t really do a lot for the Migos — almost to a point of it being a joke among the fanbase that Takeoff just gets left off of everything and to a point, it’s true. Takeoff didn’t really get featured on anything unless the rest of the group did last year. He did one single of his own (that’s 1 more than both Quavo and Offset though) and two features: one for Cousin Stizz and one for fellow Migos member Quavo on Eye 2 Eye. It’s obvious he doesn’t really do a lot unless the homies do and that’s a reason I don’t think the Migos can go down anytime soon. They’ve got a secret weapon in Takeoff because, albeit the fact he’s not plastered up and down their brand, he’s incredibly skilled and versatile in his craft. Plus, doitlooklikeiwasleftoffbadandboujee was quite possibly the best moment in Hip-Hop media last year. That’s Takeoff.
For evidence, here’s a Takeoff verse a lot of people don’t appreciate enough from Commando. (1:28+)
And shit, even though there’s no real solo hook by Takeoff on that song like Offset and Quavo tend to do, Takeoff is able to do the whole catchy-hook thing: people forget he’s responsible for one of the group’s absolute best hooks ever.
He’s capable of a lot more than most casual fans of Migos would understand and I think if Takeoff has a standout 2018, he’s the key to this group actually making Culture 3 (or whatever project comes next from the group) the real spiritual successor to Culture: fun, dope music.
You can listen to Migos’ Culture and Culture 2 on all major streaming services and purchase both projects at all major music retailers.