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Blake’s Bops: Creating The Culture

Photo+courtesy+of+FACT+Magazine.
Photo courtesy of FACT Magazine.

Photo courtesy of FACT Magazine.

Photo courtesy of FACT Magazine.

Blake Hanen

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The Culture

It’s no secret that Migos is now the biggest musical group to ever surface the face of the Earth. In just the last year, the trio has forever changed the culture of not only hip-hop/rap music, but the musical community as a whole.

Photo: New York Times

Who Are The Migos?

Migos consists of three members: Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset. The group is blood related, Quavo (26) is Takeoff’s uncle and Offset’s cousin. Offset is the same age as Quavo, while Takeoff is the youngest at 23.

Growing Up

The group grew up in the same household. They all were left fatherless growing up. Both Takeoff and Offset’s fathers left when they were little, and Quavo’s dad died when he was four. Takeoff and Offset would move in with Quavo and his mother, who would raise them all by herself in her small house located in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The boys referred to her as “Mama,” even though she played the father role. “She knew how to raise you as a man,” Quavo said in an interview with Billboard in 2017.

At first it was just Quavo and Takeoff who would start rapping by making the group “Crank Boy” when Quavo was in eighth grade. After lots of laughing and criticism from people about the uncle and nephew rapping, Offset would stick up for his cousin and eventually join in. In 2009, “Polo Club” would be created and was the name of the original group the trio teamed up in.

Quavo didn’t just rap, he was also a star quarterback for Berkmark High School, which they all three attended. Takeoff also took to the field, but his career was cut short as his temper landed him in military school. Neither of the three ever received a high school diploma. Quavo dropped out his senior year, Offset and Takeoff soon followed.

Besides football, the three rappers had another extracurricular they started participating in during their high school years. Recording music is expensive, and without money you can’t create, so drugs became a gateway for the boys to earn money to put towards their rapping, and also for their own personal needs.

“Migos” commonly refers to the Spanish word “Amigos” meaning friends. That’s what most people think Migos would mean, but it actually refers to an abandoned house that is used as a trap house to make and sell drugs. All of the rappers claim their music is strictly based on what they witnessed growing up. “I ain’t going to sit here like my neighborhood was hard, and I had to get out there and grind. We made it hard for ourselves. We chose to stay on the streets,” Quavo, the usual spokesperson for the group, said in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2015.

Getting Into Music

Only two years after coming together, the now-named Migos group released their first official mixtape Jugg Season.

In 2013, their first successful mixtape Young Rich N*ggas was released. “Versace” and “Hannah Montana” were two mainstream hits off the tape that would spark an audience, but “Bando” was the first breakout song from the group that drew the most attention. A remix of “Versace” by big name artist Drake would also help boost the platform the Migos were trying to create.

The foundation was laid out perfectly for the group, and they continued to build on it. Just nine months later, No Label II, a sequel mixtape to their prior 2013 mixtape No Label, wasdropped and received an even greater deal of hype. “Fight Night,” “Handsome and Wealthy” and “Freak No More” were all instantly radio playlist repeats.

Migos signed their first record deal in 2014 with 300 Entertainment, which is distributed by Atlanta Records. They also dropped another tape, Rich Ni**a Timeline, later that year.

Photo: Hypebeast

Troubled Times Meant Harder Drive

Migos ran into some major trouble for the first time in April of 2015 when Offset was arrested as a felon with a number of gun and drug charges. The rapper also received more charges for battery while he was in custody for fighting with other inmates, and was eventually denied bond for his prior criminal record. Offset was sentenced to eight months behind bars. Although Migos had always been in trouble with the law, and had a record for violence, this was the first time one of them would be locked away for an extended period of time. Offset was released in December 2015.

Despite Offset still being in prison, Takeoff and Quavo had bigger chips on their shoulders and came out with the group’s debut studio album Yung Rich Nation. Besides the hit songs “One Time” and “Pipe It Up,” the debut was pretty embarrassing. “We invented the dab” are the lyrics that basically define the whole project. They dropped a single titled “Look At My Dab” a little while later, and the track did receive some positive feedback.  

Photo: Billboard

A couple months later, the group left their record label 300 Entertainment and went independent and dropped another mixtape Back To The Bando.

It seemed like Migos still hadn’t peaked, or they had used all of their creativity back in No Label II, but in 2016, another follow-up mixtape, YRN 2, was dropped and actually surprised quite a few people. The tape was much better than the previous album, and some potential was seen in Migos again.

Migos wouldn’t stop there either. They dropped two singles “Cocoon” and “Say Sum,” two singles that were again mainstream hits.

The Start Of The Culture

Nearing the end of 2016, the group had put itself out there as a name, but still hadn’t left an impact on the genre or fans. That all came to an end in August when Migos collabed with up-and-coming mumble rap star Lil Uzi Vert on “Bad and Boujee.” The track soared on charts everywhere, and soon was the number one song in the world. If one thing does define a person, then for Migos it would be that song. The single boosted their status, image, and overall reputation more than any of their previous projects ever had done.

It’s not clear when, but sometime after dropping “Bad and Boujee,” Migos got branded by Quality Control Music, and still are to this day.

How do you top such an outstanding accomplishment? You go and create a 13 track album masterpiece that outsells every other musical production in the world. Migos did just that in January 2017 with their second studio album Culture. In July, six months after the release, the album went platinum. It was also nominated for “Best Rap Album” at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

Culture did just what its title says. Migos completely changed the entire music culture forever.

The project includes the unique style of Migos that had been in the making for eight long years. The style the trio uses is often referred to as a triplet flow. Triplet is a widespread term in the music world that basically means a frequency of three beats in the time you would usually only hear two or four in a standard 4/4 time signature. Using this flow allows a rap to sound like it’s swaying between on and off beat. Migos is able to produce a sound that’s very unique by providing a trap funk style with all three of the rappers vocals blending together.

2017 was, no doubt, the year for Migos, and they were featured in many projects and tracks throughout the year. The group performed at a number of places, and appeared in several award shows and interviews of all kinds.

Photo: FACT Magazine

Re-inventing The Culture

Just a day before the one year anniversary of Culture’s release, the highly anticipated sequel album Culture II was dropped.

The album was the longest ever of any project the group had ever made at a whopping 24 tracks. Some may say their third studio album was too long, but Migos knew just what they were doing when they created it.

The album is already the number one album across all charts, and just recently Migos officially tied well-known group the Beatles for a Major Billboard Hot 100 Chart Record.

The project doesn’t just include basic Migos songs we’re all used to hearing. Besides the club and trap bangers they’re best known for, all three rappers experiment widely with different styles and personal flares, and a new wave of rap might have even emerged. The flow stays the same in all the songs almost, but the groovy trap beats add to the ear-catching vocals, making the album much more dynamic.

One hit song, “Narcos,” was confirmed by Migos that they recorded the track in South Africa. It’s not very shocking to see Migos go above and beyond the basic standards, and yet they define the odds again not even a year after making the start of the culture.

Migos has forever left a lasting impact on music of all kinds, but especially upon the hip-hop/rap genre. With “mumble” rap becoming more of a trend, Migos gives everyone a realitycheck at what real rap is all about. They even recreate some former artists and old ways. What’s crazy is they’ve been able to change the whole culture of the most popular genre in the world in less than a year’s time, and each rapper is still in their prime.

It’ll be interesting to see what the next move is, and what the Georgia native’s will give us next. Until then, one thing’s for certain, Migos has made themselves the biggest group to ever surface the face of the Earth.

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Blake’s Bops: Creating The Culture