By Alec Matuszak
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Since their debut in 2011, few expected three family members from the north side of Georgia to rise in the ranks of the hip hop world and lift the genre to what it is today. Legendary rapper Gucci Mane discovered these artists and aided them in finding a record deal. When all three relatives combine, they are known as Migos. Removing a letter from the Spanish word “amigos” was all that was needed to create a successful name, especially in rap. (See names like Lil’ Wayne or Young Dolph, for example). Thankfully for the three members, Quavo, Offset and Takeo (real names Quavious Marshall, Kiari Cepheus, and Kirshnik Ball), their music is admired due to their fast-rhyming style and an impeccable ability to finish each other’s rhymes and play off one-another. Continuing their success from previous singles such as “Versace,” “Hannah Montana” and “Pipe it Up,” the dynamic trio released their long-anticipated album “Culture” on Jan. 27, 2017 to critical acclaim and massive fan appeal.
The release could not have come at a better time for the three superstars, as the group hit its stride in Fall 2016 with the smash-hit single “Bad and Boujee,” produced by highly sought-after hip-hop producer Metro Boomin’. Irrelevant to the story concerning their music! As the weeks went on after the release of the single, the Migos would be catapulted to even bigger heights. Thanks to the catchy beat that Metro Boomin’ has become famous for creating, along with a famous opening line that has spawned countless internet memes (“Rain drop, drop top”), the single became the group’s first number-one hit. Following the success of the first single, Migos released two more before the album became available to increase the hype for the project even more. Songs such as “T-shirt” and “What the Price” gave fans just enough new material to feed their appetites while leaving room for much more later.
The big question for Migos fans is if the album has indeed fulfilled the hype that it created for itself. As one may have expected, this album is more of the same from the group, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” right? Although fans may hold the opinion that the album is similar to the group’s other projects, the consistency in the quality of the songs has not declined. In fact, certain aspects have definitely improved. The production sounds have changed a lot from what many are used to hearing from Migos, the generic same-sounding trap beats have been replaced for the most part with trap beats that still feature the signature drums, but with unique effects that add to the song. “Get Right Witcha” has a whistle-sounding effect in the background that has a distinctively different sound when is incredibly fun to listen to over the piano keys. “Call Casting” has a tribal-like feel to it due to the incorporation of horns along with other instruments. “What the Price” is a nice slow jam with a rock-and-roll guitar solo in the beginning which is an interesting change of pace.
As with many trap-inspired rap albums, the subject matter is an acquired taste that may not be liked by everyone. The “trap” is a slang term for an area in which buying and selling drugs is common. Rhyming about the struggles of living in the ghettos of Atlanta is not a subject that the majority of America can relate to, but the way in which the rappers tell their stories of hardship adds to the listening experience. Quavo, O set, and Takeo do not censor themselves from speaking about any topic, and that much is obvious from the first track onward. Speaking of the opening track, it was awful. Sounding like a teaser-track rather than a proper album introduction, the opener features an annoying verse from DJ Khaled. Aside from the occasional misses on this album, the rest of the features either live up to or exceed expectations. The Travis Scott feature fits perfectly on the beat, and Gucci Mane shines all over “Slippery.”
Zachary Lunch, an undecided freshman Migos fan, enjoys the album thoroughly. “Travis Scott’s verse, in my opinion, is amazing. He has a special flow that he [uses] as he goes along,” Lynch said. “‘Slippery’ has a trippy beat,” he said. Lynch listens to Migos when working out in the gym. Perhaps the fast rhyme schemes and hard-hitting drums will help Lynch kick in to that extra gear.