Migos, Culture II | Album Review
Migos return sooner than later with ‘Culture II,’ the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed, Grammy-nominated ‘Culture.’ Unfortunately, it’s a little TOO MUCH culture.
Migos dropped Culture II out of nowhere on January 26. YAY! That’s great marketing, considering the release date wasn’t the least bit sexy to say the least. Furthermore, the rap trio had a gargantuan year in 2017, capped off with Grammy nominations at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Basically, everything seems to set up well for Culture II. The only problem is Culture II itself. Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff “get in their own way.” No need for a track-by-track – Here are some general observations regarding the project.
Con: Too Long
Cutting straight to the chase, the biggest con about Culture II is that it’s absolutely too long. Migos have given us too much culture. The album clocks in at an exhaustive one hour and 45 minutes long. While the trio are talented in regards to their flow, their rhymes aren’t enthralling or varied enough to make this 24-track effort exhilarating from start to finish. Few artists, no matter how talented they are, can make an album approaching two hours sound fresh from start to finish. Culture II is another victim of artists making longer albums – often for increased streaming – yet throwing quality by the wayside.
The quantity is robust on Culture II, but finding quality hits, particularly compared to Culture, is tougher. Naturally, some of the advance singles represent the quality of the album. “Stir Fry,” the ninth track, is an irresistible banger. The production plays a huge role in its success, with an alluring, rhythmic groove as well as the synths. This fuels Migos’ fire – they sound more invested – dropping a memorable record. “In the kitchen, wrist twistin’ like it’s stir fry.” It’s a great contrast – thanks Pharrell Williams.
“MotorSport” is further buried down the track list at (number 17), but still retains its glory, amplified by guest verses from Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. Both moments rank among the crème de la crème.
Culture II has other bright spots as well. Opener “Higher We Go – Intro” sets the tone, benefitting from a catchy hook (“Higher we go, beg and plead from the culture”) and mellow production, anchored by trap drum programming. “Supastars,” another advance single, is respectable, if less compelling than more elite moments like “Stir Fry” and “MotorSports.” “Narcos” certainly keeps things interesting early-on, followed by a personal favorite, “BBO (Bad Bitches Only),” featuring 21 Savage. It’s shallow, lacking the least bit of substance, but it bangs hard. Drake gets in on the action with the catchy “Walk It Talk It,” which also musters up some interesting lyrics, including references to scoliosis. Go figure.
Con: Too Much of the Same
Above, highlights were cited. When isolated, much of Culture II sounds like Migos as we’re accustomed to. Unfortunately, that’s the problem. Coupled with the length of this project, and arguably their ubiquity throughout the past year, it’s too much of the same. What do the rappers bring ‘new and improved’ to the table? Obviously, “Stir Fry,” “MotorSport,” “BBO (Bad Bitches Only),” and “Walk It Talk It” aren’t the sole bangers. BUT, too many songs, too many ideas, too much of the production sounds THE SAME. Recycled…
Does Migos miss the mark on Culture II? No, not completely. This “playlist,” like Chris Brown’s Heart Break on a Full Moon, has its moments. The presentation is off though – too long and too predictable. A shorter, more focused project would’ve played out better. Even shave off 45 minutes, and Culture II is improved.
Gems: “Narcos,” “BBO (Bad Bitches Only),” “Walk It Talk It,” “Stir Fry,” “Open It Up” & “MotorSport”
Migos • Culture II • Quality Control Music / Motown / Capitol • Release: 1.26.18
Photo Credits: Quality Control Music / Motown / Capitol