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Courtesy of Capitol Records

January 28, 2018

TEST SPIN | Migos — Culture II

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In January of 2017 Donald Glover, better known as Childish Gambino, gave a shout out to three of music’s hottest on-the-rise M.C.s: Quavo, Offset and Takeoff. Together they formed the group Migos.  A few days after Glover’s mention of the trio, Migos dropped the album Culture, which quickly reached critical acclaim. From there, Migos saw a successful summer, playing on a massive tour with Future and making several festival appearances.

In the midst of their busy summer, Offset dropped a major bomb: the announcement of Culture II. And after months of waiting, almost on the exact anniversary of Culture, the sequel has arrived.

Culture II is a booming follow-up to an incredibly successful year. Over the span of 24 tracks that equate to nearly two hours of listening time, Migos flaunt their wealth, ambition and style. Tracks such as “White Sand,” “Gang Gang,” “Too Much Jewelry” and “Open It Up” stand out as clear setlist staples, and Offset and Takeoff shine on “Crown Kings.”

Migos enlist the help of fellow Atlanta native 21 Savage, mega-star Drake, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, Travis Scott, Post Malone and several other big-name artists to piece together a group of energetic tracks designed to act as the backbone for any party. But what may be most impressive are the producers that Migos were able to recruit: the likes of Metro Boomin, Kanye West, Murda Beatz, Zaytoven and Pharell Williams included.

While the content from song to song is very repetitive, the group’s sound is constantly changing. The Migos have opted for a more experimental, reverberant vibe on Culture II. While they haven’t completely abandoned the 808s of their past, still including songs like “Motor Sport,” Culture II has a much bouncier and lighter feel than the dark trap house vibes of its precedent.

Tracks like “Narcos” and “Stir Fry” show the Migos using new vocal effects, rhyme schemes and rhythmic patterns. These songs also see experimentation with traditionally Latin instruments. Furthermore, “Beast” utilizes a synth pop influence and “Made Men” has a very jazzy feel, showing that the Migos and their producers are committed to reinventing Migos’ Sound with each track.

All that said, there is one thing about Culture II that has the potential to change the dynamic of the Migos. Takeoff, while showing his prowess in live performances and on tracks such as “Big on Big” and “Fight Night,” has predominantly taken a backseat to the solo success of Offset and Quavo. However, Culture II proves that Takeoff has star power flowing through his veins. While all three Migos give memorable performances on the record, it is Takeoff who truly shines. It seems that he has a major impact on nearly every song, but he especially displays his skills on the jazzy “Made Men.”

Culture II is a fun sequel that will quickly become a staple in playlists around the world. It is the beginning of new era in for Migos: one that is no longer Quavo-dominated. Offset and Takeoff — Takeoff especially — prove that they are among the best M.C.s today. The only thing about Culture II that falls short in my mind is the lyrical similarity between songs.

I look forward to what Migos have in store for us this in the coming year.

Peter Buonanno is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at pfb48@cornell.edu.