Last week, Migos dropped their long–awaited album Culture II. It was an exciting moment for trap fans everywhere as this was one of the most hyped albums of the year. Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset were predicted to give us a new set of bangers to last us through 2018. This album was expected to successfully follow up their much loved Culture, which featured prominent songs such as “Bad and Boujee,” “Get Right Witcha,” and “Slippery.” However, clocking in at an hour and 45 minutes, Culture II is almost two times as long as the first album, and only half as good.
While Culture was at the heart of a relatively new style of rap, Culture II succeeds it without much innovation. Ultimately, it sounds pretty flat, which is almost hard for a trap album. It’s a Migos album, so you know it will be filled with a fair share of background noises. In almost every song, you can always hear a ‘ye!’ ‘ice!’ or ‘brr!’ echoing after each line. While this was fun in Culture and added a certain flare to each song, it's just trite at this point and loses some of its entertainment value with each use.
There’s also something in this album that’s a little less sharp. The songs just aren’t as engaging and hype–inducing as in the past (or at least there’s less of those type of songs). Listening through the album, there are a few songs that are exciting and reminiscent enough of Culture I that they can be listened to repeatedly. Those songs just get lost in the noisy mess that this album really is. I would believe it if Migos’s thought–out plan for this album was just to produce way too many songs with no regard for quality, and expecting that, percentage–wise, people had to like at least three.
In a way, that approach does work; especially now, when the average listener focuses less on albums and just looks for singles to enjoy. Almost no one listens to back tracks , especially the type of fans that Migos attracts. Make no mistake, those good songs are there. “Motorsport” is the most Culture–like song and will probably be most remembered on the album. Cardi B and Nicki Minaj both kill their verses, giving some nice alternative styles to Migos’s typical sound. “Narcos” is also pretty fun and has a chorus that will get stuck in your head pretty quickly. You might argue with them claiming, “This real rap/ no mumble,” but no one really listens to Migos for the lyrics anyway. There are a few other great features on the album, but they’re just so submerged in the two hours of Migos that they’re almost forgettable. It is a pleasant break from totally empty lyrics of Migos, however, to hear the somewhat empty lyrics of Drake on “Walk It Talk It” or Big Sean on “White Sand.”
One interesting part of this album is hearing Migos experiment with different forms of music. I’m not saying they do it well, just saying it’s interesting. The trio actually sings a friendship ballad on “Gang Gang.” You read that right. Migos sings. There’s also a cool little saxophone outro on “Too Playa,” but it doesn’t really do much for the song. “Made Men” has an early–Kanye style piano beat that Migos handles decently well. But remember, it’s Kanye style; not nearly as good as Kanye. There’s some faint jazz piano on the outro, but it’s so faint, you won’t hear it unless you’re focusing on it. These new sounds for Migos aren’t fully played out, except really on “Made Men,” so we don’t really get to see the trio’s musical flexibility, if they really have any.
Ultimately, this album isn’t really an album. It’s a collection of songs put together with the knowledge that fans will grasp onto a few of them. Migos has always strived for quantity over quality, and it really shows in Culture II.
TL;DR: Bad as an album, good for a few singles.