Trap has overstayed its welcome in hip-hop. Too many artists are jumping on the bandwagon, saturating the subgenre far beyond its limit. Yet Migos, who may have written the trap bible and brought the genre in to the mainstream, are still echoing its redeeming qualities with their newest release.
Migos started their music journey in 2010 but didn’t get a breakthrough until 2013 with their single “Versace.” Ever since, the trio narrowed in on trap as their specialty with their blend of ridiculous party songs and southern trap anthems and have churned out hit after hit. Although some music snobs may find their sound tiring, it’s impossible to deny the group’s polish and popularity. Their unique nature is hard to hide on their latest album, Culture.
Culture presents itself as a series of singles and hits and sounds more like a compilation than a full-blown album. Migos continue to thrive on the same old story of drugs, money and luxury they’ve been touting for years. Although this isn’t bad, it does mean there’s no lyrical content on this LP. The stories have little to no cohesive narrative and sporadically jump from topic to topic depending on who’s rapping. Tracks like “All Ass” and “Brown Paper Bag” drag down the album’s excitement. Most of these songs feel like filler Migos wrote just to get an album out to support their singles and likely upcoming tour.
The lead single, “Bad and Boujee,” is easily the best track on this album, with its heavy beat and strangely catchy lyrics drawing in listeners. The story on this track also brings an ever so slight amount of depth, discussing a fair amount of cultural critique on America.
“Bad and Boujee” stands as a surprisingly good song, but it‘s Lil Uzi Vert’s verse that makes it. Lil Uzi’s style is like a funny looking clown — you know it’s weird, but you can’t look away. The most accurate description of him I’ve seen yet was penned by YouTube user OS1540, who wrote, “Lil Uzi is what you get when you let your five year old cousin create a custom character on GTA.” Well said, my friend.
The feel of this album is immaculately crafted by the 808 Mafia, a production and songwriting team based out of Chicago and Atlanta that has worked with the likes of Waka Flocka Flame and Young Thug. Track after track, their consistency keeps the LP steady, letting Migos be free to do their job to surprise the listener. The beats are spacious and heavy and incorporate elements of silence in a way that emphasizes the big and loud moments even more. Although it may just boil down to strong beats and drum machines with aimless stories of drugs and money, it feels larger than life.
If you’re surprised by this, then you probably haven’t listened to popular rap recently. As polarizing as it may be, trap is here to stay as an influence in a large portion of modern hip-hop trap. While some might despise its monotonous lyrical content, fans of Migos frankly don’t give a damn.
This album isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about trap or the direction of hip-hop, but it works well as a typical Migos release. The Migos sound is undeniably massively influential and exciting, even if as a novelty.
Where they will go from here has yet to be foreseen, but for now, the boys from Migos are sitting on the throne of trap, waiting for someone to usurp them and take the genre beyond booming beats and verses about cars and drug deals.