I know this is insanely late but whatever I love this album.
As many a rap crew have been over the course of the art form’s history, Migos are for the youth. “We ain’t really never had no old money/We got a whole lotta new money though” they spit on “Bad and Boujee,” an early contender for the year’s most iconic single. Roughly two years after showing the world the dab, Migos present “Culture” to claim a bit of their undeniable influence. The album isn’t a work that will shatter your world view or wow you with intricacy, but it is one that will keep you entertained with witty, fun lyrics, full-proof chemistry, and the occasional sober moment about how the trio’s dangerous lifestyle wasn’t necessarily a result of choice.
With every member of the crew committing religiously to the infamous triplet flow, the album marches at a pretty slow clip with subtle instrumental choices giving each track a slightly different mood. DJ Khaled hypes the shit out of the title track before a dark, subdued bass line kicks off the album’s momentum essentially single-handedly. “T-Shirt” follows suit with a bit more drums, but again a playful bass line laying in the heart of the track. At first the ad-libs (“skrt-skrt”) are a bit humorous, but in retrospect many of the tracks are skeletal and barren and the ad-libs adds more punch to the rhythmic devices at play.
The occasional melodies are infectious as all hell. “Get Right Witcha” is underpinned by this weird pan flute type of sound that noodles around with the hushed-tone hook from Quavo, whereas 2 Chainz’s massive appearance on “Deadz” finds an appropriate array of blaring horns. “All Ass” isn’t exactly the most poetic, but the metallic autotune makes for one of the most sing-able hooks on the project. Besides the hard-hitting tracks, the trio does find a bit more of somber tone with the piano and guitar improvisations on “What the Price” and the lyrical piano looping coupled with pressing choir synths on Zaytoven-produced “Big on Big.” At first the project is a bit on dimensional, but sporting offerings from some of the most active producers in trap, “Culture” offers a great deal of sonic variation.
Lyrically, the projects best export is definitely it’s sense of humor. My running list of best quotes is as followed: “Bitch I’m a dog, roof;” “Still be playin’ with pots and pans, call me Quavo Ratatouille;” “No key, push button auto, start my ride/Two piece chicken wing without the fries;” and “You saying your wrist is rocky, well I got some boulders (Rocky Balboa).” With each listen you’re guaranteed to pick up on a new smirk-inducing quotable.
Still, there are some more weighty lines here and there. “Boujee” speaks a bit about how paranoid they are driving around with their product: “I don’t trust nobody grip the trigger/Call up the gang, and they come and get you/Cry me a river, give you a tissue,” and “Slippery” speaks about how this lifestyle runs in the family “Grandma Auntie Ab and Auntie Neesa/Uncle Bo, Auntie Greta serve ya Perkys/Auntie Eva, she got a pound, she might just serve it.”
Migos have their flaws—“Call Casting” basically asserts that they’re making so much money that they need a casting director to find their next woman—but, “Culture” is an important work for the trap crowd. It’s non-stop fun and the sheer number of producers makes for a sonically diverse listen that will hopefully inspire more Atlanta based talent to venture into more eclectic territories in the coming years.