“Culture II” is the third studio album from Atlanta-based trio Migos, which consists of Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff. The album comes just a year after the group’s major breakout, “Culture,” which featured huge hits like “Bad and Boujee,” “T-Shirt,” and “Call Casting.”
“Culture” was one of my favorite rap albums of 2017, as nearly every song on the 13-track album was full of fun bars, great production, and catchy hooks that I could get behind even with some unimpressive lyrics. The lead singles for “Culture II” gave me some excitement, with “Sir Fry” specifically standing out as one of the best songs the group has made to date. So, coming in, I was very excited to see if the trio could take the rap game by storm for the second straight year.
There are a handful of tracks throughout “Culture II’ where the rap group really shines, but never is everything clicking more than on “Stir Fry.” Brilliantly produced by Pharrell Williams, the track is full of energy, has a fantastic beat, and it has all three members bringing the best of what they do into the song. Quavo makes the beat one of the album’s best, and the verses, specifically Offset’s, are vibrant and exciting and everything that makes Migos such a great rap group.
The production throughout the album is solid, with names like Zaytoven and Murda Beatz bringing some of their strongest assets to a lot of these songs so that even when the lyricism and the flow are not the strongest, the instrumentals and the beats are consistently strong.
Takeoff impressed me on a handful of tracks, especially considering he is usually my least favorite of the three. He dominates the song, “Gang Gang,” which is a nice song with great verses from Takeoff, as is “White Sand,” which has welcomed features from Travis Scott and Ty Dolla Sign, who help break the monotony of the three members.
“Narcos” is the closest the group gets to the success of “Stir Fry,” and it is because of the unique Latino beat and the terrific verses from both Offset and Takeoff. The song is exciting and unique and is the style that Migos needed to go with more in order to make this album worth its incredibly long runtime.
I did appreciate the sendoff track, “Culture National Anthem,” which has Quavo giving a nice little sendoff to the fans and to black youth, and the bridge that Quavo delivers on this track is a highlight of the entire album.
There are some good features that lighten otherwise very plain songs. 21 Savage gives a nice chorus to “BBO,” and Post Malone does the same on “Notice Me.” Cardi B is most of the reason why I like “Motorsport” as much as I do, as her hyped-up verse packs a punch and gets me going every time I hear it.
Unfortunately, “Culture II” never finds the energy that “Culture” had, and it goes on for about double the time. Sitting at 24 tracks and 105 minutes, Migos should have felt confident that every single song needed to be on this album because this was by far their most anticipated release yet. However, when the whole world was watching, Migos failed to deliver anything remotely close to a consistent album.
The thing I keep coming back to with “Culture II” isn’t the songs that were terrible, but instead, the songs that were simply okay, and that could have been easily cut to make this album shorter and more enthralling. Tracks like “Supastars,” “Auto Pilot,” “Flooded,” “Movin Too Fast,” “Made Men,” and “Top Down on da NAWF” are all okay tracks, but in the context of a 24-song album, they feel brutally unnecessary.
Even though Migos often feeds on mediocre tracks, they did have a couple terrible ones, too. “Walk It Talk It” may have a decent Drake feature, but this is easily one of the most annoying, overly long, and terrible choruses the group has ever made, as it simply repeats the title of the song over and over again, but even this song is better than “Emoji a Chain,” which isn’t only a stupid premise for a song, but the track is ridiculously boring and way too long.
I never go into a Migos album looking for lyrical artistry, but there are some truly awful lines I feel that I have to bring up. “I do all stunts, I kick like a football punt” is a lovely Quavo line from “Crown the Kings” Offset gets even better in “Motorsport,” with: “My pinky on margarine butter, and my ears got McDonald’s nuggets,” but my favorite comes from Takeoff on “Flooded,” where he gives the beautiful couplet: “I got the socket to plug me, Solitaire, Chicken McNuggets.” I don’t know what this obsession with McDonald’s is, but it does not make for strong lyrical metaphors.
“Culture II” has a few great songs, a load of pretty decent songs, and a handful of cuts that are truly terrible, but at 24 tracks, there are simply way too many that feel incredibly average. There is honestly no reason at all to make this thing the length of a feature film, as the trio obviously does not have the material or the sound to make an LP of this absurd length. Sure, I can pick off songs that I will listen to again, and the performances and production work quite often, but because nothing was left on the cutting room floor, the album becomes exhausting to listen to front-to-back. “Culture” made waves for a reason, and “Culture II” could show that all those reasons were a fluke if the group’s ego doesn’t get in the way of cutting songs the next time around.
What did you think of “Culture II”? Comment below with your thoughts.