A group of about 30 people is gathered inside a Los Angeles recording studio to preview Only Built For Infinity Links, the debut album from the newly formed duo, Quavo and Takeoff, a.k.a. Unc and Phew. Among the crowd of media representatives and Motown Records and Quality Control Music, there’s a shared excitement felt in the air. In an otherwise dark room, beaming lights and camera flashes are focused on the amped Georgia natives, who turn out to be the most eager of all.
“We hot and ready like Lil’ Caesars,” Takeoff exclaims to the audience after someone asks if they’re prepared for the big drop.
Back in May, the rappers debuted their single “HOTEL LOBBY” as Unc & Phew amid rumors of a Migos split due to a suspected rift between Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset. As time went on, the once-tight trio continued to appear musically distanced from each other.
After Unc and Phew announced their studio album Only Built For Infinity Links in early September, it seemed to confirm the “Bad and Boujee” hitmakers were no longer the Hip-Hop group who “trapped out the bando” to stardom. Inspired by Raekwon’s 1995 classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and the Outkast’s Stankonia, Only Built For Infinity Links sets the tone for a partnership grounded in brotherhood and loyalty.
For Quavo and Takeoff’s latest album, their goal is simple: use this moment to highlight their predecessors’ accomplishments as they continue to define their own legacy. Returning to the sounds of the Migos mixtape days, the two musicians locked in on Only Built 4 Infinity Links and aimed to certify themselves as a two-man group telling their story, their way.
VIBE caught up with the latest Hip-Hop duo ahead of the album’s release and energetically discussed the creative process, the collaborations, and more.
This interview had been edited for length and clarity
VIBE: When creating this album, did you guys have a specific mission that you were setting out to complete, and do you think that you did that now that the album is done?
Quavo: Yeah, we had one mission. It was to heal, you know what I’m saying? It was to go after what we were always taught to do, which was the culture. That’s why we named the [Migos’s 2017] album Culture. This time, we wanted to set that example and bring the Hip-Hop culture, [and] the Hip-Hop legends by paying homage and letting them know we stand with them and we represent the next 10 years of legacy.
That’s why we went with Only Built for Infinity Links because infinity links are the modern-day Cuban [link], and us, and all the young ni**as, we wearing the infinity links. That’s how we poppin’ it. We comin’ out. We takin’ the throne.
Takeoff: And we had to make it feel like home. The fans who been with us since day one, some forgot, and it’s cool. But we here to remind them. We just made it feel pure and just real organic, and just like ain’t nothing changed.
Q: That Migos sh*t.
How did you guys go about channeling that energy, and how did you refresh your sound and get back into those throwback vibes?
Q: Just staying in the field, staying home. You could go to different places sometimes and just catch another vibe, and sometimes it’s just not the vibe that’s for the turf. We’ve been away, and the last music, we’ve been dropping been crossing over and a lot of commercial songs, and for [actual] commercials. Sometimes the fans get, not upset… just throwed off a little bit with how you coming. We just wanted to just bring it back to the original sound because that’s what we miss. That’s what they miss. We’ve been home for so long and just watching and seeing what’s going on. I feel like we Bruce Wayne, two Bruce Waynes watching the screen, and just watching the world just go up. And we coming out to save it.
T: You got to adjust with time because trends change every five years. You got to take it back to the basics in Atlanta because everybody get caught up or just shift off. It’s easy to get distracted, so you just got to stay on, stay on your craft.
Paying homage to the legends that came before you. Do you think there are any added pressures with the release of this album?
Q: [There’s] Not really, no pressure because they did it their own way. Like I said, [we] just keeping it original, staying true. It ain’t like we tried to go and take all their… You know, go back in time and do everything over, no. We just paying homage. We just letting them know that we most definitely respect them and we just here to stand alongside and stand in the same footsteps that they did.
What are some of your favorite songs on the album, and why?
Q: I got so many.
T: I got a lot. But I like the intro. The intro, because you got an OG sample on that. And we’re really telling our story, just really opening up for it being the beginning of the album. In the intro, it’s a nice way, I would say a perfect way to open the album up. That’s one of them, but I got a lot of them.
Q: “Bars Into Captions,” the “Mixy” record with Summer Walker, that’s my favorite.
T: “To The Bone,” “Integration,” that’s one of my favorites just because of how we flipped it, and really, it’s a lot in there.
Q: “See Bout It” with DJ Mustard. He came through and had a clutch moment, late fourth quarter when the album was wrapped up. I called him last minute, and I said, “Hey, I need that record we did in L.A.,” and he gave it to me. I feel like that was a cherry on top for the album.
How did some of those collaborations come about?
Q: Just rocking with people who we always did music with. The Summer Walker record, we never had a record with an R&B lady on it. I felt like that right there alone is going to do good. Summer Walker. She’s amazing, she talk that sh*t for the ladies. She speaks for the culture on the lady side, and having us do that, I think that record is crazy. The YB [YoungBoy Never Broke Again] record is crazy. Thug & Gunna, that record’s crazy. That was one of the last records we did before they went in. I feel like it’s fresh. We always speaking ahead of time, so it feels like they just did it. I can’t wait for the people to hear that.
I kind of want to talk a little bit about the album sequence. I feel like the intro sets the tone, and it’s really upbeat, then shifts after “2.30.” Can you talk about the process there? Was that on purpose?
Q: Yeah, you’re right. I’m glad you see that.
T: You’re the first one who peep that out, actually.
Q: We wanted to make this album feel like a concert, make you feel like you going through a rollercoaster. Take you all way up to the top. Get straight to it. We going to take a ride, and then we going to throw you back up, and it is a real rollercoaster. For our fans, when we do our shows. We’ll be able to take them on this ride to the beginning back and forth. it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait till the festivals and sh*t go down.
T: It’s going to be crazy.
For each of you, what do you want fans to take from the album?
Q: We not playing, we dead ass serious. That we’re here to stay.
T: We are still here. We love y’all, and we hear y’all.
Q: I hope we answer everything that y’all have been asking for. We’ve been sitting back, observing, taking information in what y’all been wanting to hear, what y’all been wanting to see, and we brought it on this album. Just a whole new body of work that we feel like just one of our best, best, best pieces in a long time. So, get ready to listen to it.
Describe the album in three words.
T: Because it’s forever. We just bond. It’s a bond that can’t be broken. This is a real blessing that we got. And real love, for music that we got and we here to stay and we ain’t going nowhere. We’ve been here, like I said, for almost a decade. So, we here. We ain’t going nowhere.
That was one word. Y’all got two more?
Q: Infinity, infinity, infinity is what it is.