Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Migos have swagger to burn on second album

Migos soften, relax and dive deeper into their brand of sluggish hip-hop on their second album, Culture.
Migos soften, relax and dive deeper into their brand of sluggish hip-hop on their second album, Culture.

The last time we saw Migos, they were dealing drugs in Atlanta, Donald Glover's excellently adventurous TV series about the rise and fall of a promising rapper.

The trio - Quavo, Offset and Takeoff - were playing themselves as a dodgy drug gang called "The Migos". It was probably designed by Glover as a subtle cameo when they filmed Atlanta. By the time it hit screens, it was an in-joke everyone was in on.

That's because Migos have become a very big deal lately. Their sluggish, repetitive rapping style has gone mainstream, their recent single Bad and Boujee is an undeniable viral sensation, and this, the follow-up to their 2015 debut Yung Rich Nation, is a Billboard No. 1 smash.

But Bad and Boujee's no fluke. On Culture, Migos prove the hype's justified with a relaxed, confident second album that shows they're leaving imitators in the dust by softening and expanding into that sound they helped pioneer.

Sure, there's no secret to their style: over sluggish bass crawls, they rap in three- or four-word ultra-quotable soundbites, often echoing their best lines. "Call up the gang / They come and get you / Cry me a river / Give you a tissue," raps Offset in some of the more repeatable lyrics from Bad and Boujee.

But these days it's not what you say, it's how you say it, and Culture has swagger to burn. Try the horn blasts and piano riffs of Call Casting, in which Migos repeat short stabs of words so often they'll soon be imprinted into your brain. Or Kelly Scott, which repeats the same trick. T-Shirt is best of all, with its woozy bass and dodgy drug tales sounding like they're being beamed in from an acid-fuelled dimension.

Atlanta might be a TV show about a rapper at risk of becoming a one-hit wonder, but Culture proves that's not going to be a problem for Migos. All together now: "Raindrops / Drop-top ..."

Migos - Culture

Label: Atlantic
Verdict: Second album has swagger to burn

- NZ Herald

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