Arts & Life, Music

“Culture II:” A hit or a miss?

It’s clear that rap group Migos wanted its new album “Culture II” to hit fans hard and make a lasting impact on the rap game, as it features some of the biggest names in music.

Top artists such as Drake, Cardi B, Travis Scott, and 21 Savage are just a few to grace the EP’s tracks. But the trio didn’t bet everything on the impressive lineup; the album boasts 24 full songs that appeal to a multitude of listeners. By featuring numerous artists and touching on specific cultural sounds, it’s safe to say Migos likely widened the group’s demographic of listeners with this one.

But is “Culture II” worth the $11.99 on iTunes? And do any of the songs have the capability of surpassing the success of its 2017 hit “Bad and Boujee?”

If you know anything about Migos, you know that it has a distinct sound. The group popularized what is formally known as a triplet rhythm. Theory music teacher Brandy Kraemer describes the rhythm as “a group of three notes played inside another note-length.” This is the method that Migos religiously utilizes within its flows, including those in the new album. The rhythm ends up sounding choppier than most traditional rap music created in previous years.  

Snoop Dogg famously mocked the signature sound. He has a solid point, however it’s clear that generation Z doesn’t seem to have a problem with the triplet flow that has made Migos so famous. The group won two coveted BET’s awards just last year, snagging Best Group and Best Collaboration. The massive release of tracks included in “Culture II” proves the group isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Some of the standout tracks on the album other than “Motorsport” are “Narcos,” “Walk It Talk It,” “Work Hard,” “Too Playa” and “Made Men.” All of these feature the mark of the Migo’s—plentiful amounts of bird calls, beatboxed automatic gun sounds, and excessive talk about women, jewelry, cars, drugs and of course, cash. Out of the 24 tracks, these five were the only I’d stand to say are really worth listening to in addition to “Motorsport” (because Cardi B is everything right now).

These songs embody Migos’ traditional triplet flow and highlight the progress the trio has made. By incorporating new and exciting elements, the group adds sophistication to its sound and separates itself from other trap artists. With “Narcos” for instance, the group added bongo drums and strumming of a mandolin that when united, create a unique multi-layered sound. It managed to create a distinctive vibe that combines traditional Latin banda music with modern day rap.

The lyrics also contribute to this vibe. “Narcos” begins by singing out “arriba arriba” and “hasta luego” and had plenty of references to implications of Colombian cocaine, mentioning “kilos” and the act of hiding narcotics.  

There are quite a few songs that neither help nor hurt this album, and plenty that could’ve been cut down from the average four-minute time frame of each track. The multitude of chorus blocks for instance, could have been limited.

Many of the lyrics contain profanity and the degradation of women is a major factor throughout. However expected this may be when listening to rap music, it really should be avoided in 2018 (Circumvent listening to “Beast” if you’re especially sensitive to that sort of thing).

Overall, if you enjoy the repetitive nature of Migos’ songs, the limited subject matter, and abundant use of expletives, you may enjoy this album. Even those who don’t subscribe to the distinctly Atlanta triplet flow that Migos utilizes may enjoy a few of the songs on “Culture II.” Doubling the number of songs certainly is no guarantee of that. But it is questionable whether this album has the capacity to top the original. The content is present but the fire and tenacity of the group isn’t as potent as it appeared in the original EP. Also, it’s hard to fathom there will ever be a song as catchy, ridiculous and oddly lovable as “Bad and Boujee.”

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