Review: ‘Culture II’

Migos provide the most sluggish portion of fast-food music you will hear this year.

2017 began and ended with Migos plastered as the poster boys for rap music. Their sophomore album Culture featured an unexpected slew of hits, enough to fill their pockets for the second half of the year. However they decided to return in the final quarter with a new single and a label compilation album, announcing a sequel to the album that catapulted them to mainstream success.

Exactly a year after Culture, its follow-up Culture II is already in our grasp. The question is whether Culture II warranted such an early release. It could have benefited from a longer rollout and a summer release, but here it is ready to be consumed and for Migos to continue to capitalise while they’re still hot.

Migos may capitalise, but not because of the quality of the songs. Culture II exemplifies how much Migos have saturated the rap market, to the point where we are practically tired of them bombarding us with so much music. There’s a hefty 24 tracks to sit through, totalling to a run length that’s just 15 minutes shy of 2 hours. Compared to Culture‘s mere 13 tracks, it is clear Culture II‘s sole aim is to dominate the streaming charts and playlists rather than focusing on crafting true hits.

The formula has always worked for Migos, yet on Culture II the ingredients have nearly ran out. The one-line repetition on practically every hook destroys any chance of hearing a decent melody, not to mention that the trio’s delivery remains totally stale and stagnant from start to finish.

You would imagine that out of 24 songs – all of which reach the 4-5 minute mark – there would be a handful of memorable cuts, but not even five tracks can be named that are worth revisiting. Culture II drags along, providing filler after filler and unimaginative, awkward features whether that’s awful, generic Migos songs like “Flooded”, “Beast”, “MotorSport” and”Emoji a Chain”, or the phoned-in guest appearances from Drake, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane and Post Malone.

It gets to such a low standard that the trio blatantly remake Culture‘s “Deadz” on “Open It Up”, incorporating the same cadence on the hook and horns in the beat. The only element missing is a 2 Chainz feature (which ends up on “Too Playa”) to tie up the embarrassing absence of effort.

Even without the filer, there are barely any saving graces that provide any outstanding enjoyability. The intro track “Higher We Go” is a satisfactory opener to the album, but is only memorable in comparison to the mediocrity that follows – as is “Supastars”. “Gang Gang” is the highlight of the album thanks to its short length, background vocals and mellow vibe. Zaytoven comes through on production for “Too Much Jewelry”, but suffers from an unbearable Daft Punk-inspired bridge. “White Sand” is another acceptable track, but is incomparable to any track off Culture. On its hook, Travis Scott continues his post-Birds unimaginative delivery which sounds like a leftover off Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. Ty Dolla Sign impresses, but Big Sean unsurprisingly sounds out of place on such trap-styled lane of songs.

While Quavo drags the album down, the overshadowed Takeoff ends up shining on Culture II, providing memorable verses and a breath of fresh air from Quavo’s monotony with his unfiltered voice and delivery. On every song, Takeoff is the highlight, finally managing to grab the attention torch from Quavo and Offset, whom we’ve heard plenty of in 2017. Culture II is proof that Quavo’s gimmick is up, particularly when it comes to the hook game; his one-dimensional delivery is uninteresting and tiring at this point.

Clearly there were better songs that could have been selected, as per unused tracks like “Bentley” (which was given to Tadah Gang) and unreleased collabs with Travis Scott; “Re-Run” and “Lo-Fi”. The album would have benefited from tracks such as “Too Hotty” as well if they were not wrongly dispensed for the 30-track Quality Control album.

It is no surprise that Culture II is nowhere near up to par with Culture. Migos manage to exceed expectations when it comes to the likelihood of total disappointment. Over the 24 cuts, it is hard to see any passing the test of longevity and cementing themselves in the collection of Migos best-known songs. Culture II lacks the hits, the hooks and the cohesiveness that made its predecessor so stellar. If Migos plan to dominate two years in a row, they’ll need to do much better than this.

Rating: 4 / 10

Favourite tracks:  “Gang Gang”, “Superstars”, “Work Hard”

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