Migos Bring “Bando Rap” To New York City’s Highline Ballroom
Initially, I thought Migos’ career wouldn’t move past “Versace.” I’m not trying to throw shade, but I just didn’t see the movement off the rip. We’ve seen rap careers fade at warp speed time and time again — after an artist’s one catchy single fizzles into obscurity.
But when the Atlanta trio released their 2013 mixtape, Young Rich N*ggas, I finally recognized the trap vision. Quavo, Offset, Takeoff’s off-kilter flows and signature ad-libs about life in the Bando reeled me in. Then, the ridiculously banging No Label 2 project dropped. That’s when I officially became a Migos fan.
Fast forward to July 30, 2015, one day before the release of the trio’s debut album, Yung Rich Nation, and I’m standing on stage with the group’s Takeoff and Quavo, as well as a few of their stoned-faced crew members at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom. Unfortunately, Offset is in jail on gun and drug charges.
“We’re more focused than ever,” Takeoff tells VIBE backstage. “You can hear it on the album. We have to stay focused for our fans. And we want more fans so we gon’ give it to them.”
After a few pulls of Mary Jane, sips of liquor, numerous interviews, and Migos were ready to hit the stage. As the clock crept passed 10 PM, the two members not currently serving time bum-rushed the stage with their fitted jeans and slim T-shirts, along with pounds of yellow gold chains and rings. A thunderous applause from the crowd immediately filled the air.
With no opening acts, the DJ got the party started with a couple of Migos’ oldies, “Rich Than Famous” and “Bando,” both off their mixtape Yung Rich N*ggas. These tracks were just the warm up, though.
“This is where it all started. All these mixtapes lead up to the album we here for tonight. All that hard work finally paid off,” Quavo said to a screaming crowd.
Quavo and Takoff then playfully asked each other what the crowd wanted to hear. Fans yelled out several songs like “Fight Night,” “Cross The Country” and “Contraband,” to name just a few. However, it was “Versace” that turned concertgoers into rabid animals. Bouncing up and down almost in unison, mouthing every word, were kids with little regard to those around them. That same momentum continued with the drug anthem, “Hannah Montana.”
“Man, we got hits. We got so many hits for y’all,” Quavo said. We gon’ be around for a long time. We had fun recording this album. We had to man-up on this album. We had to get serious and hit all aspects. We had to graduate. That’s what you got to do reach all people across the nation.”
For the next thirty minutes, with the occasional “Free Offset” chant, Quavo and Takeoff kept the crowd lit by rolling through fan favorites such as “Emmitt Smith,” “One Time” and “Contraband” — before getting into their more recent bangers like “Pipe It Up,” “One Time” and “What A Feeling.”
Veteran manager Coach K — who helps the fellas connect the dots with 300 Entertainment — also raced the stage to present the Bando boys with their first RIAA certified Gold plaque for their energetic and sexually charged hit, “Fight Night.”
By the surprised expressions that creased Takeoff and Quavo’s faces, they clearly had no idea about their accomplishment. “Hold Up,” Takeoff said. “We just got this right here with y’all. So y’all experiencing this with us,” Takoff said to his fans. “This is only possible because of y’all.”
As the night came to a close, Migos ended the show with the Gold-selling single. My only criticism is that Takeoff and Quavo lack movement on the stage. I think with just a littler more physicality, the crowd’s energy would have been on ten, as apposed to a nine. But that didn’t stop the anyone from enjoying the entertainment as Migos reminded us why the world is in love with their music. To put it simply: Migos are the real deal.
Head over to iTunes to cop Yung Rich Nation and get your stream on.
Photo Credits: Ian Reid