By RITHWIK GUPTA
Releasing their third studio album exactly one year after their highly successful album Culture, Migos is back attempting to break new records with the anticipated Culture II. After having a successful year releasing singles and numerous albums alongside the biggest artists in the hip-hop industry, a lot was expected from the trio this year.
With over twenty-four tracks, the almost two-hour-long album starts off strong but as it reaches the halfway mark starts to die down and loses its momentum. Some of the songs felt like forced additions to the album, feeling more like a publicity stunt rather than an actual musical decision, with Pitchfork calling it an “…attempt [by Migos] to game the current Billboard and RIAA rules, in which 1,500 individual song streams count towards one full album sale (thus, the more songs on an album, the higher and faster it charts)”. This is also similarly been shown with the Quality Control’s first compilation album, Control the Streets Vol. 1.
Starting off the album, the very first song “Higher We Go (Intro)” is an attempt to hype up the listeners and introduce them to the world of Migos and their hip-hop royalty status. While this only gives a glimpse of the rap that the trio does, the actual beginning to Culture II is during the second song of the album “Supastars”. A song where the entire gang boasts about their lavish lifestyle due to the immense wealth that they have acquired within the past few years. Switching up their overall flow comes with the next song “Narcos” which is rather unique, particularly due to the addition of Latin musical elements ito the hard going beats of rap which is unheard of until the release of this song. The song is the perfect blend of Latin music and rap, complementing the tones of each member of Migos well. Another feature that was highly successful was Drake’s guess verse on the song “Walk it Talk it” in which the trio and Drake talk about fake people and how they flex an extravagant life they cannot afford. Along with it being lyrically unique, the song’s blend of organs and hard going beats make the song very catchy. “Stir Fry” was another unique song that had been released prior to the album and had had some positive response due it being very upbeat due to the incorporation of the whistling and quick tempo drum beats and a style listeners had never heard of from the trio. After songs like “Gang Gang” where the trio switches up from rapping to “singing,” this is where it felt like Migos’ experimenting with new styles of music lost its momentum with the rest of the album and felt unnecessary on the album.
At the end of the day, Culture II felt like a very strong initial sprint but then it lost its momentum and slowed down. As Rolling Stone put it, “Culture II ultimately feels less like a celebratory howl from the mountaintop than a transitional inventory dump”. The album felt more manufactured to get to number one on the charts without actually focusing on the craft of rap and the music. However, despite Migos’ newest album feeling like it was released for the wrong reasons, there are still many unique songs on their album that are worth listening to which demonstrate the true potential of the trio.