It was one of the most highly-anticipated releases of 2018, marred in some recent controversy, and now it's here. Migos
' Culture II
, the follow up to 2017's groundbreaking Culture
is out today via Quality Control Music, Motown and Capitol Records.
The controversy stems from when member Offset was recently called out for homophobic lyrics in a collab track he did with YFN Lucci. Along with others, his beau Cardi B came to his aid, though in the process made some pretty transphobic statements herself. It's not the first time the trio has gotten involved in a controversy like this though, as Quavo was called out almost this time last year for homophobic comments involving rapper iLoveMakonnen.
Either way, the controversies didn't seem to dull the hype, but now that the new album is here, it seems that Migos and their fans are coming back down to earth a bit. Don't worry, I'll take plenty of time to elaborate, but simply put, Culture II
is bad, and doesn't fulfill the hype and expectations set by the original Culture
There's a lot to dissect here, chiefly because the album is a whopping 24 tracks and 105 minutes in total runtime. It's ambitious to say the least, but as the saying goes, "the harder they come, the harder they fall", and Migos falls hard. If I could pinpoint an overarching issue, it's that the album is too homogenous, simply put, everything sounds the same. The most standout moments are features from other artists, such as Minaj and Cardi B on the single "Motor Sport" which most of us have already heard, and "White Sand" which features Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign and Big Sean.
And even then that's honestly a bit of a stretch. Drake's feature on "Walk It Talk It" is as devoid of substance as it is boring, and the whole track vibes like a cheap boast as Quavo repeats "Walk it, like I talk it" ad nauseam. Gucci Mane makes an appearance on "CC" but I had to look up the lyrics to see which verse was his because it's that unrecognizable and underwhelming.
But the real problems start when the Migos are left to their own devices. On their own the trio show little initiative to try anything new or outside of their comfort zone, and the results speak for themselves. The group used to be clowned for years as the poster child for what's wrong with mumble rap before breaking out on Culture
, which in retrospect looks more like how to make a one-hit mumble rap wonder instead of a sign that mumble rap was becoming more accepted.
It's not only boring to listen to tracks like "Supastars", "Crown The Kings", and "Open It Up", it's downright infuriating. Given that the album is 24 tracks the list of producers is pretty long and eclectic, so sometimes it has its moments, but most of the times tracks suffer from minimalist and fantastical beats that play more like a lullaby than trap anthem. They've definitely embraced the cloud rap sound, at least in their production, but it's uninspired and vapid, and most of the time the beat simply seems to fade into the backdrop like a bland piece of furniture.
Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff are essentially the same rapper in three different bodies. Of course you can discern the differences between them when you listen hard enough, but none of them attempt to significantly differentiate themselves from the others, and most tracks simply sound like one artist taking one long verse all the way through. The autotune is simply overkill, present in virtually every situation and track, and adding an unnecessary amount of melodrama when tracks don't need it.
The Migos' flow, if you can call it that, is maddening to listen to spread over 24 tracks, and the stuttering mumble that most of them seem to embrace gets old very, very quickly. Instead of lacing into them anymore for it, I'll let Snoop Dogg handle it.
has its moments I suppose, but that's all they are, moments. The single "Stir Fry" and "Motor Sport" are obvious standouts, mainly because there's some life to them, beats that actually beat and verses that don't sound like a really stoned person on the couch is trying to mumble something to you. "Too Much Jewelry", if perhaps released as a single and not attached to the album in any way, would be a decent track with its airy production style and verses where the artists actually enunciate.
Maybe Culture II
is a sophomore slump, maybe it's Migos resting on their laurels, or maybe it's something else entirely, but what it most certainly isn't is the follow up to Culture
that we were all looking forward to.