Clocking in at an hour and 45 minutes long, Migos’ latest offering can hardly be accused of holding back on content. The problem is, a lot of the content on offer just isn’t that…good. The reason the original Culture became such a breakout hit for the trio was that they trimmed the fat and delivered a laser focused 13 track opus that proved less can be more, even when it comes to the mixtape-obsessed “release everything” ethos of the trap scene.
Culture II, on the other hand, forces you to treat it like a playlist, removing songs as you go until you’re left with a normal-album length list of decent songs. Whilst this is standard practice on a rough-and-ready mixtape, it shouldn’t be necessary on a major album release by one of the biggest acts in the world right now. Tracks like “Supastars” and “Emoji a Chain” are Migos on autopilot: Money, drugs, women, jewellery. Rinse and repeat until you hit three and a half minutes, then move on.
It’s a shame, because ‘Motorsport’ and ‘Stir Fry’, the two heavy hitting tracks released ahead of the album, show genuine progress for the group, and easily stand amongst the best of the Migos back catalogue. ‘Stir Fry’ benefits from Pharrell’s production pushing the group in new directions, and ‘Motorsport’s power coupling of Cardi B and Nicki Minaj is phenomenal, with both rappers on top form.
Unfortunately, these high points are accompanied by incredible lows. Special mention has to be given to ‘Walk It, Talk It’, which genuinely has one of the most irritating choruses of any rap song in recent memory, completely overshadowing the rest of the track. It’s indicative of the album as a whole, which feels like Migos recorded 24 tracks as quickly as possible, put them into a playlist and rushed it out for a quick buck.
There’s definitely a good album buried inside Culture II, but what sets an album apart from a mixtape is that you shouldn’t have to sit through the misfires to get to gems like ‘Narcos’ and ‘Notice Me’. Migos may have called their label Quality Control, but that’s the one thing this album is severely lacking in.
Remember that time your dad caught you smoking, and then made you smoke an entire carton of cigarettes as a punishment? Imagine the cigarette was Bad and Boujee. Culture II is the carton.