Before we get started on this shit let me just get one thing out of the way really quick: I know it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted anything and that is awful, I’m sorry, I am literally the worst. Anyways…
I have to admit something, Culture is the first Migos project I’ve ever listened to. I know the influence they’ve had on the scene, but I never set aside the time to listen to their music. And I gotta say that I’m proud that Culture is serving as my introduction to their music because for that purpose, it’s perfect.
The production here is out of this world. Every single track not only has a very solid, radio friendly beat, but layered underneath the pop veneer are a lot of esoteric flourishes. This continuously surprised me whenever it happened, whether it was the wood flute on “Get Right Witcha”, the wonderful Piano passages in “Call Casting” and “Big on Big” or the fucking Glockenspiel(?!?!) in the intro, “Culture”. The various producers on this project obviously saved some of their best work for this album, because every beat on this project demands attention from the listener.
It’s just that sometimes Migos phone it in on a couple of tracks. Especially towards the tail end of the project.
The first half of this album is flawless, and that might be part of the problem. From “Culture” through to “Big on Big” every single track is a winner. Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff dominate these tracks, even through the aforementioned stunning production. They just ooze confidence and bravado in every verse, pulling you in not with what they’re saying–because let’s be frank, they’re not exactly conscious rappers–but with how they’re saying it. Migos has spawned a huge amount of imitators of their triplet style flows, but they’re still obviously the masters of them, and this album is at its best when they stick to their mastery.
When they try to slow things down, however, shit goes awry. The ballads on this thing sucked all of the energy that was given to me during the first half of the album. “What the Price” “Kelly Price” and “Out Yo Way” were a slog for me to get through. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Migos are strongest when they’re creating “bangers” or whatever you want to call them. When they start making ballads I feel like it goes against the sound that makes them so unique. Of course this could also be because I am just now getting into their music, and maybe this auto-tune balladry is emblematic of their music and the dozens of other artists I’ve heard make songs like this are just ripping them off. But I don’t care. It doesn’t sound good to me. During these songs the ad-libs and punchlines that accentuate each verse are gone, and all that is left is auto-tuned warbling.
Look, when this album is on, it’s on. And you can rest assured that I will be revisiting the first half of this album continuously throughout the year. I’m just hoping that on whatever Migos does next, they come together with a more focused, cohesive project, because they have a ton of potential.