Culture II: Reviewed
By Lexi Vollero
In early February, Billboard announced that Migos were the first to have a staggering 14 simultaneous singles in the Top 100 charts since the Beatles in 1964. They are certainly making history. And although I understand the hype, having now sat with this album for a little while, I can’t say I agree with it this time around. In my opinion, this sequel album follows the unfortunate trend of most sequels ever: Culture II falls short of meeting the musical standards set by its 2017 predecessor, Culture.
Full disclosure: when I first discovered Migos, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that the rap group was, in fact, a group. So, for all the readers out there who are just as clueless as I was, allow me to culture you. The influential rap trio is composed of cousins Offset and Quavo along with Quavo’s nephew, Takeoff. Clearly, family brands have come a long way since the Partridge Family.
Among Culture II’s highlights are “Stir Fry," “Narcos,” and “Notice Me," which stood out to me for their boisterous hooks and production. However, it was difficult to differentiate between the rest of the songs on the 24-track album due to monotonous backbeats, adlibs, lyrical tone, and vocal filters. “MotorSport” is a track I am conflicted about, despite its buzz for featuring dueling rap queens Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. And maybe Kanye’s “Monster” unfairly conditioned me to expect savage, earth-shattering verses out of Nicki Minaj, but nonetheless I found myself let down by her feature.
This lukewarm attitude is how Culture II, in its entirety, left me feeling. An argument can be made in the album's favor for bringing dance beat after dance beat. And in a vacuum, I would agree that a number of these songs could take any party up a couple notches. However, an album needs to be evaluated as a collective whole, not just as a series of standout singles. With this in mind, I maintain that Culture II is not nearly groundbreaking enough to warrant it spanning almost two hours. For an album whose title implies a reflection of current culture, or at least a substantial contribution to it, its lyrical content addressed a surprisingly narrow range of topics. In comparison to other recently-released rap albums, the narratives Migos offer lack much passionate, personal, or social backing. It may be time for them to pass the torch.