While their rise to fame was somewhere between fast and meteoric, the Atlanta trio Migos are steeped in the Southern tradition of hip-hop groups, having come together over their shared love of acts like the Hot Boys and OutKast. Members Offset , Quavo, and Takeoff, who are all related, grew up together and first started making music in 2009 under the name Polo Club, with the name Migos becoming official in 2010. In 2012, they released the mixtape No Label, which featured the cut “Bando,” a regional hit that caught the attention of producer Zaytoven and Kevin Lee, aka Coach K, the manager who launched the careers of Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy. The year 2013 was a whirlwind as June saw the group drop its Young Rich Nggas mixtape, which featured the instant hit “Versace.” That same year, Coach K got them on the Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash, a popular Atlanta festival where Migos came across their newest fan, Drake The rapper added a verse to the “Versace” remix and put the cut on his 2013 album, Nothing Was the Same.
The big singles off Culture II fare better, consolidating Migos in the consciousness. Walk It Talk It is an earworm that scores high on a number of Migos metrics – clipped syllables, nagging ad libs. It could go on much longer than it does, with Takeoff doing a little dance and all three rappers nailing a lengthy verse (yes, they do those too). Quavo’s boast that I think my back got scoliosis ‘cos I swerved a lane” is a standout line. (An excellent video, released earlier this week, finds Migos and their guest Drake parodying 70s music TV in outrageous wigs).
Hip-hop supergroup Migos are experiencing a stellar week on the charts, as the American public simply can’t get enough of what they have to share. This frame, Quavo, Offset and Takeoff (the three musicians that make up the chart-topping outfit) have matched one of the greatest musical acts of all time when it comes to at least one specific, very impressive charting feat.
But the songs were longer too. One of Migos’ strongest points has long been their tightness, but many of Culture II’s songs test the crowd’s considerable energy. BBO is not that great a track to begin with (Migos’ attitude to women is appalling, a downside that bad bitches only” miserably reinforces) but it seems twice as long as you remember, even if Takeoff does lower his hood for it.
Keeping it in the family, Quavious Marshall (aka Quavo) is Kirshnik Ball’s (aka Takeoff) uncle, and is Kiari Cephus’ (aka Offset) cousin. The trio have collaborated with various other artists like Drake, Justin Beiber, ASAP Ferg, Soulja Boy, Travis Scott and R. Kelly. Their 2013 single Versace” was a viral hit, and peaked within the top 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was this single that got Drake involved in wanting to take part in a remix, which he performed live at the 2013 iHeart radio Music Festival.
This, then, is a rap trio at the height of their pummelling power, shaking the room multiple times and mustering a sea of camera-phones for at least half a dozen tracks. There are, however, some caveats floating around the smoke-filled air. Live, the subtlety of Migos’ work is all too often lost. The nuances of their respective deliveries (Quavo, still dominant; Offset, no slouch tonight; Takeoff, rumbly low-end) are inaudible; the silvery ad libs barely land, and the stark elegance of many of their productions are subsumed into a barrage of hooks, bass and shouting. This loss of range is pretty standard for live hip-hop, and, indeed, much live music. But the undeniable excitement generated by bass and shouting is itself undercut by the run time of the newer songs.
Thirteen of the songs found on Culture II appear on the Hot 100 this frame, and the group is featured on a Gucci Mane single that is holding on once again, giving the trio 14 appearances on the tally. That’s not the greatest showing ever when all artists are included, but when looking only at groups, Billboard states that only one other name has managed to own that much real estate in a single turn.
In the same period, Migos have become the must-have rap feature for the year’s biggest pop hits – with stand-out appearances on Calvin Harris’ ‘Slide’ (240 million Spotify streams) and Katy Perry’s ‘Bon Appétit’ (200 million plays) alongside singles from the likes of Sean Paul and Lil Yachty.
The Atlanta trio will join us off the back of an extraordinary year-long winning streak that shows no signs of slowing down. In January, Migos released their Billboard #1 album ‘Culture’ which spawned their breakthrough international mega-hit ‘Bad and Boujee’ – their first US #1 single which sits at a staggering 700 million plays across YouTube and Spotify. The LP also features worldwide smashes ‘T-Shirt’ (270 million plays), ‘Slippery’ (80 million plays) and ‘Get Right Witcha’ (70 million plays), all with accompanying remarkable music videos which have become a staple of the Migos brand.
It feels like another shift is coming in the Migos sound, likely with Offset at the front. Considering how he was incarcerated during their early success and had the least number of words on Culture, it feels like it’s finally his turn at the helm. It’s difficult to shake the feeling that the next Migos project will be a much darker, more mature sound as they’re finally able to open up about their rise to fame.
Culture, Migos’ second studio album, earned them their first number one song, Bad and Boujee.” Although the track does not feature Takeoff, it has since been certified four times platinum. Migos’ third studio album, Culture II, was released in 2018, and it featured guest appearances from major artists including J. Cole, Travis Scott, and Gucci Mane. The project’s lead single, MotorSport” featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, became Migos’ second top ten song.
Quality Control Music is gearing up to release their second big compilation project as a label, with tracks from artists across their impressive roster. Two new tracks were released yesterday as singles: Intro” (ft. Gucci Mane ), by Migos & Lil Yachty , and Longtime” (ft. Young Thug ) from recent QC signee 24Heavy. Intro” boasts production from longtime Migos producer DJ Durel , and a typically spirited music video.
International success meant the threesome was able to transcend the rap world and cross over to pop. They lent their vocals to Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” and even made an appearance on electro house DJ Steve Aoki’s 2017 song, “Night Call” , featuring Lil Yachty.
Migos are one of my favourite artists. I went to their concert in April 2015 (also in London) and they were amazing! Their stage presence was everything you could expect from a good concert.
Simultaneously, Quavo, who makes up one-third of Migos, has himself emerged as one of the world’s most exciting rap stars in his own right with features on DJ Khaled’s worldwide triumph ‘I’m the One’ alongside Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne (500 million plays), Post Malone‘s massive ‘Congratulations’ (440 million plays) and Travis Scott’s platinum single ‘Pick Up the Phone’ alongside Young Thug (180 million plays).
Drake ran into them at the Birthday Bash Atlanta radio concert, which is a you know New York has a Summer Jam. And I think 2 Chainz was bringing them out that day, if I’m not mistaken. But we had just put out Y.R.N., which was the first mixtape that was put out when we signed the guys. We dropped it on that Tuesday, Birthday Bash was that Saturday, and Drake walks right up to me, Hey, Coach, is this your group? Man, I’ve been listening for the last four days!” And he quoted a lyric off of one of the songs. And then like, a week later, he reached out and was like, man, I want to jump on one of those records. And we wasn’t even thinking about him jumping on Versace,” but he sent the verse back on that song.
Elsewhere, such subtlety is not a priority. Most Migos tracks hammer home Velcro-like catchphrases with merciless repetition. Versace , the breakout track of 2013, repeated the fashion house’s name, a fascinating reductio ad absurdum that had many old-schoolers gnashing their teeth at the death of hip-hop’s core lyrical function.
The list of musicians who’ve invested in esports teams is growing longer by the month. Drake , The Weeknd , Will Smith , Drake (again) , Steve Aoki and Imagine Dragons are among those who’ve acquired stakes in the esports business so far. Now you can add Offset, of hip-hop trio Migos. He’s investing in one of the most famous esports franchises, FaZe Clan , taking an undisclosed stake in the company.
But don’t expect the Migos to be onstage in the 21,000-seat Staples Center during the awards show on Sunday. The best musical artists on the planet right now received no nominations. On the Grammys stage, the Migos might as well still be nobodies, though the musical and social empire they’ve built says otherwise.
Migos released their debut album Yung Rich Nation in July 2015, through Quality Control Music and 300 Entertainment. Their second album, Culture, was released in January 2017 also through both record labels, and debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart.