When asked to pinpoint the moment of their claiming the throne of rap music, Quavo (of the group Migos) responded: “When we announced the title of the album […] I feel like that’s the moment when we claimed the Culture.” This response highlights Migos’s confidence, and their opinion of their influence: “Migos is the culture”.
Atlanta, considered the world capital of rap, has evolved continuously, much to its benefit. This evolution has helped rap break into the mainstream, beginning with the legendary duo Outkast, and succeeded by trap rappers Gucci Mane, T.I. Crunk and Snap – who also owe their beginnings to Atlanta native, Lil Jon. In many ways, Migos have been able to synthesise all of these styles and keep rap relevant.
The album kicks off with DJ Khaled, a fellow mainstream sensation. His opening lines in Culture pay homage to what Migos had to overcome on the road to popularity. Until a Donald Glover shoutout at the Golden Globes, there was so much scepticism surrounding them that the trio were not able to get a spot on late night television.
Part of what makes Culture such a success is that the group stick to their roots, which is what got them this far. Whether it be their original staccato flow, their ad-libs or their trap-bangers, they are clearly a product of the Atlanta hip-hop scene.
It is rare that one finds a song in which Offset, Quavo and Takeoff are not rapping about their wealth. In fact, this motif is prevalent in almost every song, with ‘Deadz’, ‘Bad and Boujee’, ‘T-Shirt’, and ‘Call Casting’ being good examples of this.
The hubris of their lyricism and demeanour is particularly evident in ‘Get Right Witcha’ and ‘Big on Big’.
‘Big on Big’, in particular, informs the rest of the rap community how they are going to be deposed from their throne by this trio. Migos already know that they are on the top of the game right now – and they know it all too well. It is clear that Migos do not need a chip on their shoulder to obtain the keys to success.
They might not be the Beatles yet, and maybe that is not a bad thing – no one wants to see this group break up just yet. Many thought that, after hits such as ‘Hannah Montana’, ‘Fight Night’, and even ‘Bad and Boujee’, they would have plateaued.
However, the release of Culture has helped them maintain an upward trajectory, and with a Drake collaboration in the works, the Migos stock continues to soar.