Migos are a trio of Atlanta rappers who have been described as “better than the Beatles” by their fervent fanbase and whose names – Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff –make them sound like a squad of GI Joes. Their newest release, Yung Rich Nation, represents their first official studio effort, though they've been prolific in the hiphop scene since 2013 when they released the song “Versace,” a song they say whose one word refrain can still be heard echoing throughout the halls of college dorms to this very day. Since then, they've experienced an ascent to fame and fortune that some might call “meteoric.”
A friend of mine, an aspiring rapper, has a DIY studio in Chicago where he pumps out hundreds of songs a month, all in the vein of Migos and their trap runoff. This is not an exaggeration. His reasoning? He's taking a throweverythingatthewall approach to making music, waiting for something to stick. This is what Yung Rich Nation sounds like: like it's waiting for something to stick.
Each of this album's fifteen tracks feels like a Frankenstien amalgamation of the current state of hiphop. Or the current state of “trap rap.” Or, maybe, the current state of “I don't really know.” As a relative outsider to Migos and their seemingly limitless number of copycats and influencees, I'm not entirely sure where the three rap titans fit into the currently overstuffed spectrum of completelybonkershiphop. It was made clear in 2013 by songs like “Versace” and “Hannah Montana” that, while their sound might not have been for everybody, Migos were onto something that felt new and exciting. But here in the far flung future of 2015, Migos' highly influential sound has become so widely adopted by artists both big and small – from Drake to Chance the Rapper to any number of amateur Souncloud artists – that it's quickly approaching some sort of triplet based singularity, a trap influenced boiling point.
It's hard to tell where “Versace” ends and where “Spray The Champagne” begins – or where “Pipe It Up,” “One Time,” or “Dab Daddy” begin for that matter. The Migos feel like they were assembled, part by part, in a factory for the sole purpose of churning out cavalcades of hype-ass tracks. And believe me: when the group's three Autobots – Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff – come together like a rapgame Megazord, the results are impeccable. While exhaustingly repetitive, their singularly spectacular anthem “Hannah Montana” is undeniably a goddamn barrelofmonkeys worth of fun; the same can be said for Yung Rich Nation's Geto Boysy “Highway 85,” or the Chris Brown guest spot, “Just for Tonight.” When you begin stringing sequences of Migos' songs together – like, say, the way one might when listening to an album – that's when problems begin to arise. The beats are bass heavy and well produced, but maddeningly generic, which would be fine if the actual rapping were impressive enough to hold the listener's attention. Unfortunately, from the Migos' cadence to their reliance on the same three or four flows on every single song, the rapping does not hold up either.
If Yung Rich Nation were four tracks and twelve minutes long, it might be worth listening to from beginning to end. And they could be any four tracks on the record. They're all essentially the same song: same flows, same subject matter, same repetitive, partyanthem hollering choruses. I am a bit more partial to tracks like “Gangsta Rap” that attempt to merge Migos' iconic autotuned sound with 1990's East Coast windowdressing, but it's still rather difficult to discern one track from another. Because of this, after listening to more than three or four consecutive Migos songs, the human brain goes completely catatonic.