Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? The James Gunn-directed film is a quality movie, but certainly nothing outstanding. Compared to the first Guardians of the Galaxy which is one of Marvel’s strongest films to date, the sequel doesn’t deliver the same spectacle that the first possessed. The exact same can be said about Migos’ Culture II album.
Culture was a cohesive, hour-long project yet the sequel is anything but; essentially just as bloated with stop-start pleasure as a Dragon Ball Z saga. So yes, the occasional kamehameha or kaio-ken will temporarily satisfy us, but we could do without the remaining sixty-five percent of the episode. Aside from the incredible amount of mediocrity that fills the album, Culture II does have a fair share of highlights.
What made Culture such a quality project is it showcased the group’s creativity with each track sounding significantly different from the prior and while the sequel doesn’t reach that height, it does have glimpses. The twenty-four track sequel brings listeners in with “Higher We Go” and as expected, Metro Boomin laces The Three Migoteers yet again where we hear Offset undoubtedly shining the brightest. Listeners won’t be disappointed with “Narcos,” “Stir Fry” and “Made Men” as the trio all effortlessly float over the unique production. Another noteworthy track is “Auto Pilot (Huncho on the Beat).” If you listen close enough, you can actually hear Quavo record one of the greatest triple-doubles in history thanks to his production, chorus and verse (even though he sounds eerily similar to Peewee Longway here).
Takeoff, however, was the star of whole album, flowing on every beat thrown his direction with ease. Silencing the naysayers’ “Bad and Boujee” jokes, Takeoff stepped his game up, even more noticeable on the production we wouldn’t expect to hear Migos typically rap over. My personal favorite showing of Takeoff’s is on the Murda Beatz-produced “Gang Gang” track. “Gang Gang” is a crooning ode to, you guessed it, the gang. This street duet with Quavo finds Takeoff emulating his uncle’s ways, harmonizing all over the production and finding sonic success.
Culture II is filled with throwaway tracks, but the same can’t be said for the features. Each guest appearance seemingly makes sense for the track they’re on which is welcomed in today’s rap, where most features are just thrown together. The “less is more” saying is how I feel about Culture II as a whole as well as 21 Savage in 2018 and that’s exactly why I enjoy his appearance on “BBO (Bad Bitches Only).” A relatively short and catchy hook that doesn’t mention 21 “putting hot sauce on chicken” is a win for me. Surprisingly enough, Drake also sounds comfortable on his “Walk It Talk It” feature and he’s usually hit or miss with appearances such as this one.
With quite a few pros and cons on Culture II, one could get lost in the fact that Migos are constantly proving time and time again that they’re here for the long haul. Culture II would’ve been better suited as a twelve-track album and the others being released as a “B-side” album (or not being released at all), but the twelve best tracks spotlight exactly why Migos are always being mentioned or played. The trio of amgos are innovators in today’s rap game that are often imitated and although Culture II isn’t the greatest showing, it served its purpose of giving other rappers another blueprint to success.