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The Lowdown: To follow up last year’s breakthrough smash, Culture, Atlanta trio Migos expedite this blockbuster sequel, a 105-minute epic that otherwise plays like another Migos album, bringing along the same cast of producers as last year, beefing up Quavo’s production role, and overloading the game with shiny, new anthems about shiny, new jewelry.
The Good: Drop the needle anywhere on Culture II, and it’s like Migos never left. Fans will find the same strong, sticky Auto-Tune harmonies and triplet-laced rhyming they pioneered, with the luxurious production of tracks like “Big on Big” re-calibrated for such highlights as “Too Much Jewelry”. A couple standouts, “BBO (Bad Bitches Only)” and “Too Playa”, add brass and sax to the mix, while The Neptunes vary up the usual snapping 808s on “Stir Fry”. Those bonkers metaphors are back, too, from Offset’s threat to give foes “nose rings” on “Narcos” to the McFlurry wrists on “Emoji a Chain”.
The Bad: Turns out a 105-minute Migos album is way too much, and the tempos and dynamics are so evenhanded that the highlights also wind up getting lost in the overall exhaustive effect. (You wouldn’t want to listen to a 105-minute Ramones or AC/DC album, either.)
The Verdict: Even without many flat-out bad songs, Migos’ overall sonic vocabulary and lyrical facility are so minimalist that the greatest moments here are hard to tell from the ordinary ones. The trio gave a double album their best, with plenty of head-turning lines, hilarious stray shouts (“dinner rolls!” on “CC” is a fave), and productions that further dilate the luxury trap spectrum, but not wildly so. The question is why they felt they had to make a double album at all and if the stream numbers were worth it.
Essential Tracks: “Higher We Go”, “Too Much Jewelry”, and “Made Men”