-Migos disappoint on their much anticipated sophomore effort.

Over the past few months, Migos have received a wild surge in fame, and they were already big. But now, due to #1 single “Bad and Boujee,” it seems they’re the biggest group out right now. So, needless to say, the hype for their upcoming, ambitiously titled Culture has been huge. And I got caught up in it. “Bad and Boujee,” despite being annoyingly memed by my peers, is an undeniable hit, and “T Shirt” is just magnificent. (Backed by one of my favorite music videos ever.) So did the album live up to the hype? Unfortunately, no.

It’s just so goddamn boring! For a 12 song album, this thing feels like 25 songs. Probably because every one goes on for over 4 minutes, save for three. And they just don’t need to, as the songs don’t go anywhere super interesting, nor are they so catchy that they can afford to repeat themselves over and over again. For an album proceeded by two incredibly viral singles, this album is wildly forgettable. The hooks just aren’t up to snuff in a world where guys like Travi$ Scott and Young Thug exist.

…and I think I know why. There’s not enough auto-tune on this album. Trap can really only go in a couple successful directions: It can either be hard as fuck, or catchy as fuck. Culture operates in a weird middle ground where the songs don’t really bang, nor do they stick in your head. So what you’re left with is some dudes rapping about nothing interesting in the same triplet flow over some pretty good beats. However, the beats are melodic, like on “Get Right Witcha” or “Big on Big.” (Zaytoven’s piano playing on the latter is a highlight.) But the boring rapping does nothing to service those beats. What they need is some auto-tune crooning. It appears Quavo was starting to get it on “Big on Big,” providing some backing vocals on the hook that are absolutely gorgeous, but they only last for a few seconds. I need that on the whole song.

The album isn’t all a slog though. As I said above, “Bad and Boujee” is undeniable, even though it’s not without its flaws. I mean, who the fuck approved that Lil Uzi verse? If I was on the boards and I had the beat going, and then Uzi steps up to the mic and spits that shit? I’d, best case scenario, tell him try again, worst case scenario I;d kick him out. Hell, you don’t even need a feature, just give Takeoff a verse. Either way, he sounds like shit and ruins the momentum of the song.

Back on track, good things about the album. “T Shirt” is an incredible track. Everything came together here: it’s insanely catchy, the chemistry between the beat and Migos is perfect, and the chemistry between Migos themselves is even better. The tradeoff from the hook to the post-hook, from one verse to the next, etc. It’s masterful music making. And Offset’s verse on this track is maybe my favorite thing a Migos member has ever done.

The only other track here that is as melodic is the closer, “Out Yo Way.” It really reminds me of the more upbeat songs on Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, like “pick up the phone” or “sweet sweet.” Anything that reminds me of that album is cool in my book.

Other than these songs though, there’s really only a few moments interspersed throughout the album that I like and even remember. 2 Chainz’s quarter note triplet flow on “Deadz” is killer, Travi$ Scott’s verse on “Kelly Price” serves as a frustrating reminder as to how much better of an album he could have made with these beats, and, that’s about it. Culture isn’t an offensively bad album, it’s just offensively forgettable when you remember how unforgettable some of the singles were leading up to it. Disappointing.

 

2.5 stars

Standout Tracks: “T Shirt” “Bad and Boujee” “Out Yo Way”

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