As one of the only relevant gangsta rap groups today, Atlanta-based trio Migos have garnered quite a bit of attention with their unique style and promising talent. With minimal guest features and maximum rowdiness, their latest album Yung Rich Nation is a trap-heavy collection loaded with animated honesty from 3 young adults that truly understand the meaning of a hard knock life.
Starting with the aggressively energetic “Memoirs”, the group wastes no time delivering the fast, versatile flow that brought them into the spotlight. Like the title suggests, the song is a recount of life-changing memories, many of which involve drug slinging, gang violence and various other run ins with the law. Some of the tales sound so outrageous, I wouldn’t have believed them if I hadn’t already seen reports of their outlandish behaviors on TMZ.
The widespread influence of their signature style has not been lost on the group as they shamelessly declare themselves responsible for the resurrection of hardcore hip hop in the old school “Gangsta Rap”. Vinyl scratching, booming bass and smug lyrics define this boastful jam with Quavo listing the factors of their legacy such as adding ‘bando’ to Wikipedia.” Migos’ style is admirable but it’s also refreshing to hear them switch it up. “Highway 85” is a play off Eazy E’s “Boyz N The Hood”, borrowing the lyrical structure and narrative tone while sampling just enough for the song to feel familiar yet still have an interesting spin on a hip hop classic.
Undoubtedly hoping for another single with the same level of popularity as “Versace”, the single “Pipe It Up” is a club banger with an in-your-face chorus, playful adlibs and quirky lines. Yet “Pipe It Up” barely stands out among the other 15 tracks on the album as several of the other tracks hold a similar sound. In fact, the track that seems to stand out significantly is one of the most lowkey songs of the album. Comfortable but charismatic, “Playa Playa” is a suave change of pace from Migos typical rough and tough vibes. The youngest group member, Takeoff, steals the show with urbane vocals teasing any girl that’s “thinkin’ she gon’ play a player”. Pleasant piano keys, unobtrusive bass line, and a lack of street violence driven lyrics, “Playa Playa” doesn’t sound like it belongs on a Migos album but it’s a great track nonetheless.
Redundancy is one of the weak points of Yung Rich Nation, but when you have a monopoly over gangsta rap these days, I guess you can afford to sound like yourself on a song or two. A few of the gems include “One Time”, “Trap Funk”, and “What A Feeling”, characterized by the spastic story-telling of trapping adventures, clever wordplay, and bando-inspired beats. Although it doesn’t meet the standards of hype that their mixtapes had promised, Yung Rich Nation is still a go to album to get your hardcore hip hop fix.