The Only 11 Songs You Need To Hear On Migos’ ‘Culture II’ (Critic’s Pick)
The wait is finally over. Migos dropped their highly-anticipated album, Culture II on Jan. 26, and the trap trio definitely delivered a full-length project, and then some. The album, which is an overwhelming 24 tracks long, stays true to the signature Migos flavor and call and response-type flows, but builds on their current momentum, thanks to a diverse roster of producers and engineers, including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Honorable C.N.O.T.E, Zaytoven, and more.
Sorry to say, Culture II didn’t exactly live up to expectations. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be another “Bad and Boujee” song on this project. Arguably, the rap group may have been overcompensating for the lack of a certified No. 1 banger with a one hour, 45-minute long album. Even so, there are a few moderate hits that will most likely garner some heavy rotation.
Since there seems to be a growing interest in supplying fans with albums that last longer than our lunch breaks, VIBE has decided to trim some of the fat, and give you a list of the 11 dopest tracks on Culture II. You’re welcome.
1. “Open It Up”
Although this track comes toward the end of the album, “Open It Up” is undoubtedly one of the breakout singles. Its triumphant intro – courtesy of Minnesota-bred producer, Cardo – illustrates (for fans) a slow walk-in to an arena for a championship game. Or in the Migos’ case, the track seems to be a reflective single chronicling their come up from trappin’ in the streets of Atlanta to international stardom. Offset ethers his verse, while Quavo’s rhythmic repetition on the chorus gives fans something to bob to.
2. “Stir Fry”
Among a track list of mid-tempo, trap songs, “Stir Fry” is such a breath of fresh air. It’s simply a fun song. And that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since Pharrell Williams is the master behind the beat. The track is an interesting transition from their past hits but doesn’t significantly depart from Migos’ knack for making a party out of every listening experience.
3. “Walk It Talk It”
This is the sonic representation of “come with that same energy.” It’s been a minute since we’ve heard a Migos and Drake track (the collaborators initially shook up the game in 2013 with “Versace [Remix],”) but this infectious single solidifies why they work so well together. Drake shoots his shot on his hypnotic verse over the indulgent OG Parker and Deko-produced beat. And Quavo follows through on the bouncy hook. There’s really not much of a formula for this track – the hook and chorus are pretty lazy, and even the verses are drab compared to past bars – but something is still working here.
Narcos must be the new Scarface or The Godfather because this new era of hip-hop loves to reference the hit TV series. Regardless, “Narcos” came as a pleasant surprise as the third track on the album. Its Latin, reggae-infused beat, matched with synthetic guitar strings, is a unique approach to the group’s usual, redundant instrumentals. This isn’t the typical club hit, but you could catch this bumping in your local speakeasy.
5. “Emoji a Chain”
“Emoji a Chain” is definitely what we’d expect from the Migos. It has the Metro Boomin’ beat, the perfectly-placed adlibs, and a dizzying chorus. It may sound kind of boring at this point, but the boys were still able to score with this one. Each member does his part. Offset’s line about his wrist looking like a McFlurry may be a fan favorite (“Diamonds [diamonds] on my wrist look like McFlurry’s [oh Lord]”) and the group’s secret weapon, Takeoff, spits with vigor.
6. “BBO (Bad B***hes Only)”
Unpopular opinion: 21 Savage’s voice can sound like a broken record at times, but the repetition of his monotone chorus on “BBO” is seamless. This may have been one of the most anticipated tracks off the album, thanks to Kanye West’s producing credits, and Ye didn’t disappoint. The jazz-influenced instrumentals met with trapped out hi-hats and snares round out the invigorating record. Offset delivered the most solid of the verses, while Takeoff comes as runner-up with his catchy flow. There’s also something very soothing about the “ohhs” and humming at the track’s end.
7. “White Sand”
The intro to “White Sand” honestly sounds like a vintage game at an arcade, but once the beat drops and Travis Scott draws you in with the chorus, it sounds like an instant hit. At first listen, the single sounds like its heavily influenced by Travis’ sound, which makes sense because he’s on the chorus as well as a producer. Even with the heavy hand on production, each feature plays their part effectively. It’s not so much what they said, but the different levels of pitch and inflection – from Big Sean to Ty Dolla $ign’s sultry voice and Travis’ auto-tune – that gives this song life. And to be perfectly honest, they couldn’t miss with putting Ty Dolla $ign on the track.
8. “Too Playa”
Seriously, Migos could’ve just gave us the instrumentals for “Too Playa,” and we would’ve been satisfied. Apparently, Quavo was the mastermind behind the beat with help from DJ Durel’s production and the most exquisite saxophone driving the song forward. This song is just suave. If Migos released a music video with visuals of them sitting at a table in a dim-lit room, with the camera lens rotating with every verse, it would still be satisfying. This song takes a page right out Frank Lucas’ book. 2 Chainz was also a brilliant touch.
9. “Gang Gang”
The title suggests this would be the group’s own variation of “Gucci Gang,” but surprisingly (and thankfully), they went in a completely different direction. If you were ever wondering what a slow Migos song sounds like, you’ll be happy to know it’s “Gang Gang.” Don’t worry, it’s not completely chopped, but take out your lighters and get ready to sway at Coachella. This woman’s harmony overlaid with muted drums is so pacifying. Not to mention, Takeoff’s solo, raspy flow is the perfect treat.
10. “Notice Me”
Post Malone previously made headlines after suggesting that rap wasn’t the most emotionally-rich genre, leading many to think that he wasn’t actually a fan of the music category he’s infiltrated. But interestingly enough, the rapper jumped on a song with rap’s royalty to make “Notice Me.” All controversy aside though, the slow-burning Murda Beatz-produced track is the perfect song to get lost in a cloud of smoke and daydream to. The beat feels so familiar – like a 2000s rap song, although it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which song it mimics. Regardless, Post Malone’s dreamy chorus and Takeoff’s tongue-twisting verse really shine on the song and bring it together.
“MotorSport” was an instant favorite to many when it dropped ahead of the album’s release, and that had everything to do with the fact that femcee heavyweight Nicki Minaj was featured alongside rap’s newest obsession, Cardi B. The rumored feuding between Cardi and Nicki likely boosted fan interest, but honestly, the ladies showed up and saved this track from being another one of Migos’ exhausting songs. Cardi’s viral line, in which she compared herself to Tejano legend, Selena Quintanilla (“So tell me, have you seen her? / Let me wrap my weave up / I’m the trap Selena / ¡Dame más gasolina! Skrrt!“) was magnetic. Nicki also showed why she is a vet in the game, weaving in and out of nearly five different flows.