Following a momentous 2017, Migos are back with a 24-track sequel to one of last year’s biggest hip-hop albums with new and familiar sounds.
Sequels are rarely as good as the original. Complacency kills creativity and once you’ve reached the astronomical heights that Migos did in 2017, it’s easy to phone it in and watch the money pile up.
Luckily for fans, Culture II pushes the trio’s signature sound to new levels and infuses a more diverse energy into their winning rap formula.
Clocking in at over 100 minutes spread over 24 tracks, Culture II allots plenty of time for Quavo, Offset and Takeoff to do what they do best while adding fresh elements that distinguish the album from its predecessor. That sonic growth and maturity permeates the album and gives listeners a blend of new and familiar Migos flows.
Quavo earns his first co-executive producer credit on Culture II and does a lot more than simply appear in name only. Co-producing 10 of the 24 tracks on the album, the 26-year-old goes outside the traditional Migos realm of beats and adds different influences on tracks like “Narcos,” which features upbeat Spanish guitar chords and an infectious Latin vibe.
Migos also bring in a pair of franchise players for support. Kanye West’s subtle touch is evident on “BBO (Bad Bitches Only)” featuring 21 Savage, a track where backing trumpets add an opulent dimension on top of the trap bassline. Drake’s verse on the sure-fire single “Walk It Talk It” is his first collaboration with Migos since teaming up with them on the “Versace” remix back in 2013.
The album’s second single “Stir Fry” is a staggering musical departure for Migos with production handled by Pharrell. The futuristic electric sound melds with a vintage hip-hop vibe that is vaguely reminiscent of Maestro Fresh-Wes’ 1989 single “Let Your Backbone Slide.” It’s a little weird hearing Migos rap over the beat at first, but they have more than enough charisma and swagger to pull it off successfully.
“Emoji A Chain” finds Migos in familiar territory working alongside their go-to producer Metro Boomin. The song is right in the trio’s ballpark and Offset’s catchy chorus sets a head-bopping tone throughout its duration. That same feeling is prevalent on “White Sand” featuring Travis Scott, Ty Dolla Sign and Big Sean, a posse cut that sees everyone get their cut of the shine with Travis bringing things together on the chorus.
Culture II is also notable for the rise of Takeoff, the Migos member notoriously “left off Bad and Boujee.” Quavo and Offset give their younger relative every opportunity to take the ball and run with it — and he doesn’t disappoint. The 23-year-old finds his voice in a major way on tracks like “Gang Gang” and the jazzy summer cookout-flavoured “Made Men,” two songs that showcase his versatility as a rapper who can spit different styles and tempos.
The real question people want answered is simple: does Culture II live up to standard set by their first entry in the series? The answer is a resounding yes. Migos include something for everyone on this album, there’s the trap anthems that made them superstars as well as more experimental sounds that pay off with a little patience. There is a definite depth to this young trio from Atlanta and as they continue to develop as well-rounded musicians — the next step in their evolution will be fun to watch.
Words by Patrick Cwiklinski – Read more Albums Reviews here.