When Migos dropped "Versache," they broke the internet and birthed a genre of copycats. When they popularized the dab, they fundamentally changed politics and daytime TV forever. When they spit "raindrop/ drop top," they coined what may go down as the meme of the century.
Migos have long been more than rappers — they're curators with eyes on shaping and remaking culture in their own loud image. And Friday's release of their highly anticipated Culture cemented that impression in a big way. The album dropped to lavish praise across social media that have buoyed their rise, though it will take some time for the world to catch up and see game-changing the songs they've assembled here will turn out to be.
The record is front-loaded with the album's singles. Migos come out the gate with their work-whipping anthem "T-Shirt" and current No. 1 single "Bad and Boujee" to stake their claim as trap icons early. They don't let up, though. The album features some of the group's best, most meticulously produced beats to date. They lean into the sparse, bleary trap they've been instrumental in pushing into the mainstream, matching it with the simple and endlessly quotable flows that made their previous singles so addictive.
Below is a preliminary evaluation of the album from the listening party the Mic staff organized Thursday evening. We've gone track by track, highlighting key lines and moments to jump-start the process of unpacking this gift. Read and listen along and don't let the culture leave you behind.
1. "Culture," featuring DJ Khaled
The first words on the album don't come from anyone in the Migos family. They come from Snapchat teddy bear and most frequent user of the siren and key emojis, DJ Khaled.
Of course, because this is Culture, they are no ordinary Khaled ad-libs. It's mad Khaled: "How the fuck you fuckboys ain't gon' act like Migos ain't reppin' the culture?" he shouts. "They rep the culture from the streets/ Fuckboy bow down." Aside from the lion's roar, everything else is pretty basic.
"T-Shirt" might emerge as the best Culture single. While it's a near Future rip, it's already got the best video — with Migos playing Lewis and Clark pulling a Miami Vice buy in the mountains. Chance the Rapper was certainly amped on it.
3. "Call Casting"
The best food references on the album by far — Zaxby's, Shane's Rib Shack, Cup O' Noodles. Hearing the local Georgia spots repped so hard sparked a beautiful Taylor Jones soliloquy:
"Shane's rib-shack is crazy, dude. It's funny too, because they're all over Georgia, but it's definitely north Georgia, where I'm from. It places them, right in North Side. You pay $10, $11 — you get this platter that has half-pound of pulled pork, half rack of ribs and like three big-ass chicken tenders and three sides, dude. It's $10, it's so much food. And toast! Oh my god, it's so good."
4. "Bad and Boujee"
The quirky spelling, the cutesy sneering Lil Uzi Vert verse, "Bad and Boujee" could have so easily swerved into the corny. But Migos played into it, in the right way, keeping it casual and open. Something about it encourages the meme improvisation we saw flood the internet and lift the song to No. 1. It's those quick sound bites — "Dat way," "Call me Quavo Ratatouille" — that they repackage until they're burned in the brain.
5. "Get Right Witcha"
This hook shouldn't work. It's like what hotel concierge would say to shut down an overbearing tourist demanding fresh towels. The way the rhythm tumbles out with an effortless flick, it makes for a boss line. The double time runs in Takeoff's verse — "Aw man, whip up the white, Wendy/ Pick up the pipe, and she get no penny" — drive the point home.
6. "Slippery," featuring Gucci Mane
Gucci Mane whips out one of most unique flows, honestly best described as being slippery. "I'm a murderer nigga but I don't promote violence," he raps, sliding over measure breaks and snapping back to the one with ease.
The track also boasts some of the most creative ad-lib work on the album: "I heard you bitch she got that water — (Splash, drip, drip, woo, splash)."
7. "Big on Big"
The first filler track on the album. The Zaytoven beat redeems it to a certain extent. Its "big on big" hook is memeable and fun, but it doesn't feel like it's got the Twitter-dominating potential of a "raindrop/ drop top."
It's got it's moments: "If you havin' neighbors and I'm havin' acres." That's a bar.
8. "What the Price"
Quavo sounds like the saddest cyborg over the smooth guitar intro. It has a Travis Scott flavor, with its title offering an ironic connection with the track the G.O.O.D. Music mogul actually appears on later in the album — "Kelly Price." There's a rare tender moment or two: "I don't plan on going out sad today," Offset raps, in a likely nod to "Can't Go Out Sad," off the 3 Way EP.
9. "Brown Paper Bag"
Brown. Paper. Bags. Zaytoven's light piano lines create a nice bed for the lines to lay over. "Age of 23, I was in the magazine, the Forbes edition," Quavo spits. That's a bar.
It breaks some of the monotony of the light Zaytoven, Travis Scott-eque beats, but little beyond that. "Deadz" is a dud, and according to the band at their Tuesday YouTube early listening session, it nearly didn't make the cut for the album. It's a college wake-and-bake song and won't do much for anyone in the long run except make them "sluggish, lazy, stupid and unconcerned."
11. "All Ass"
From the beat to the hook is the strip club song, for sure. It's "All Ass," little to no substance. Strip clubs need their soundtracks too. It contrasts oddly with the last track "Out Yo Way," which is a far more tender ode to the opposite sex.
12. "Kelly Price," featuring Travis Scott
What is Scott even doing these days? Every song he touches comes out sounding exactly like the one that came before it, recycling the same effects, ad-libs ("Straight-up") and gratuitous outros. It's got style but it begs the question: How many more of these can Scott really crank out before they start flopping like fish out of water?
Special shoutout to the second best food references to the album with Takeoff's highly specific: "Two piece chicken wing without the fries" nod.
13. "Out Yo Way"
A wide-ranging ode to the women who've stuck by the Migos, throughout their rise. It shouts out the true one-and-onlys, the thots on the tour bus and the mama's and grandmas all: "Mama told me stay strong, grandma told me stay on/ Now she looking down, throwing blessings."
With seconds to spare before the album's end, Migos manages to a quick their career summation in:
We was trappin', cappin' all through the hallway
Thirteen songs later, they lead the culture.