Migos hit the jackpot with their album Culture last January, as they went from being the hottest rap group in Atlanta, to being the hottest rap group we’ve seen in the past 5 years. Culture was more than just a great album, it was a moment; a true culmination of all the efforts made by the Migos in developing themselves into the superstars they have become.
The singles leading up to Culture did nothing but ensure that the album would be a classic. With “Bad N Boujee” becoming an absolute mega-anthem, along with “Call Casting” and “T-Shirt” being hits in their own right (partly due to the hype surrounding their videos shot in Lake Tahoe and Lagos, respectively), Migos was without a doubt beginning to look like The Beatles of our generation, just as Donald Glover proclaimed them to be. Unfortunately, the lead up to Culture II hasn’t been all that stellar.
After months of delay, the trio announced last Monday that their highly-anticipated follow-up to Culture will arrive this Friday (or the night before a little past 11 PM like how most albums actually drop), for Culture‘s one-year anniversary. If you consider the singles slated to appear on Culture II, while “MotorSport” remains a top-10 record in the country and marks achievements for Migos and Cardi B as well, it’s really not a great nor at all impactful record by any stretch of the imagination. The only notable parts of the song don’t even come from Migos themselves, as the back-to-back verses from Cardi and Nicki are what really end up stealing the show.
After seeing that “MotorSport” was to be Culture II‘s lead single, you couldn’t help but be a little disappointed considering the fact that the lead single of the sequel to an album led by “Bad N Boujee” is a track that’s just decent, at best. It almost seemed gimmicky, as if QC just wanted to ride the wave of Cardi B, and capitalize off of the endless streams of those who continue to drum up the imaginary “beef” between her and Nicki. But you really can’t blame them; there’s really nothing wrong with “MotorSport” being a Culture II single, but it just shouldn’t be the lead single.
And as for “Stir Fry”, chosen as the official song for this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend, it’s arguably much better than “MotorSport”, despite the fact that it won’t receive all the hype that “MotorSport” did, for obvious reasons of course. Pharrell and Migos actually happened to mesh well together, up until the point where Pharrell decided to go a little too Pharrell, particularly leading up to Takeoff’s verse. Ultimately though, “Stir Fry” will probably just end up being another “bounce-that-ass” type of song, without any real lasting impact.
Their latest single “Supastars” only continues this streak of mediocrity, as memorable verses are once again nowhere to be found. What makes it worse is how much better the track would probably sound without that annoying synth behind the verses; duel production from heavy hitters in Buddah Bless and Honorable C.N.O.T.E. should just sound way better than this. The song doesn’t take away from them actually being superstars, but it doesn’t take them any further either.
What made Culture amazing was the fact that like most great albums, it ended up having songs that were just as good if not better than the singles that preceded its release. Culture was simply full of hits; “What The Price” and “Deadz” were clear standouts in the same breath as “Bad N Boujee” and “T-Shirt”. But the possibility that the same will occur in Culture II is looking more and more unlikely by the day.
Quavo confirming to Ebro on Beats 1 that Culture II will be 24 tracks long ended up being the nail in the coffin for my utter disappointment. It’s certainly no secret that a lot of albums nowadays have been hitting the 20-track mark, since attaining as high streaming numbers as possible is becoming more and more of a priority for artists. But Culture being just 13 tracks was absolutely perfect, especially when almost all of them rang off.
Allowing Culture II to be a 20-track album was the worst thing Migos could have done, especially at this point as they’ve simply been putting out entirely too much material to consume. If you include Control The Streets, QC’s compilation album from December, there’s been three major projects from Migos’ members within the past three to four months. You can’t fault Migos for the decision to release Culture II on Culture‘s one-year anniversary, but you can fault them for succumbing to the pressure from the fans and deciding to drop Huncho Jack way earlier than it probably should have been.
And while one may consider Control the Streets to be a mere collection of throwaway tracks, Migos nevertheless hit flows on “What It Do” and “Interview” reminiscent of the sound that pre-“Bad N Boujee” fans were accustomed to. So while Culture II as a whole may not be praised by the masses, the fact that they can still tap into that pocket means that it’s likely that the album will be more appreciated by their original audience, especially since it’s going to be this long. It’s just a shame that people will go ahead and label these types of songs as “fillers”.
Culture II won’t be nearly as good as the first, but that’s perfectly fine. Quay, Take, and Set remain The Beatles of our generation nevertheless; their position as such will be cemented for a very long time. While you can’t help but think had they done away with the idea of a sequel and just titled their upcoming album Nawfside or even simply Migos, the outlook would be a little more positive. But the fact of the matter is, the term “Culture” is entirely too synonymous with them right now for them not to turn it into their Blueprint-esque album series, just as I fully expect them to.
Let’s just hope they won’t let us down with Culture III.