Culture II (iTunes)
A 24-track Migos album is a rite of passage for a Hip-Hop lover. It’s like a triathlon for a runner. It’s a long, strenuous process that most people wouldn’t subject themselves to in one go, but those who do, honey, they are strong.
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the three blind mice of rap, otherwise known as the Migos. They exploded onto the scene back in the early 2010s with their harmonious melodies and eccentric, ad-lid drenched flows. It was different and many people were drawn to their fresh perspective, myself included.
Over half a decade later, Migos is one of the biggest groups on the planet. They now get nominated for Grammys, create culturally significant singles (most notably, “Bad and Boujee“), and make incredible brand deals like this hilarious Apple’s Animoji collab that you’ve probably already seen on your Instagram feed.
But as they set trends in their business moves and throughout their musical career, their latest effort Culture 2 signals a slight fall into mediocrity. They’ve essentially found a Migos formula (to their effort, that works), but essentially keeps copying & pasting tracks.
They’ve done it through their over-saturation of the market this past year in their collab efforts with other artists (Quavo and Travis Scott’s Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho and Offset, 21 Savage, & Metro Boomin’s Without Warning), and they did it again with Culture 2.
It’s strange that they’re a part of a label called Quality Control, but they seemed to do none of that to this 24-track long album.
Because I like to consider myself a marathon runner, I listened to the hour and a half long album in one go. Before I started listening, I was positive, bubbly, and ready to turn up. In the beginning, a lot of the tracks had me Bankhead bouncing in my chair.
One of my favorites was the third track, “Narcos.” I loved the tropical-esque samples throughout the instrumental and found myself singing Quavo’s chorus way after I was done with Culture 2.
“Straight out the jungle
This real rap no mumble
My skin black like mumba
Got stack boxes in Honduras….” – Quavo (“Narcos”)
The album also boasts a multitude of high-profile features including Drake, 2 Chainz, and Gucci Mane. My favorite feature-landed track was “White Sand” which features Travis Scott, Big Sean, and Ty Dolla Sign. There were solid verses from Big Sean, and most notably Migos’ own Takeoff.
I know Takeoff ain’t tryna be left off of Bad & Boujee anymore.
As I was making my way through the track-listing, I was still having fun. I didn’t really vibe with some of the tracks like “Emoji a Chain” and “Gang Gang,” but the trap trio had enough energy for me to stick with it.
Once I got past the halfway point, that’s when things really started to drag. I kept checking my Spotify to see how far I had to go before I could finally put Culture 2 to rest. It was like I was listening to the same song over, over, over, and over again. I figured that’s not the best feeling to have about a body of work.
That’s when I realized that Culture 2 is not an album to listen to all the way through. There really isn’t a story to be heard or a benefit to running this marathon in one stretch. You’re supposed to cherry pick through the listing and add your faves to your 2018 turn-up playlist. That’s pretty much it. Don’t be like me y’all, don’t listen to the whole thing at once.
Culture 2 is an album that definitely overstays its welcome, but there is a good bit of fun to be had here. I didn’t really vibe with some of the tracks like “Notice Me” and “Gang Gang,” but bangers like “Stir Fry” and “Open It Up” made the struggle worth it in some aspect. But I can’t knock the feeling that Culture 2 is just vibes, beats, and flows I’ve been beaten over the head with for years now.
Culture 2 didn’t excite me, which is saddening. It sucks to see a group that grew in popularity because of their uniqueness fall into the creative trap of sticking to a formula. Hopefully, they’ll get their innovative spirit back one day. -Nia Simone