Finding Migos’ Passion: Migos’ “No Label II”

Written by David Turner (@dalatudalatu)

Who cares? Who cares who’s biting Migos’ flow? Who cares if Quavo is the most important rapper of 2014? Who cares what rapper to popularize the triplet rapping pattern? Who care what no-name rapper in the 80s did it first? Who cares?

People seem to care, and most importantly for Migos’ most recent mixtape No Label II, Offset, Quavo and Takeoff care a lot. Otherwise they wouldn’t keep reminding the listener that their style is being copied and you best watch out from those niggas who might take your style. Those niggas! But of course, no names are mentioned in this tape full of stunted self-actualization and shots-but-no-shots.

And that time devoted to “flow stealers” isn’t given to the listeners of No Label II, which isn’t an hour or even an hour and a half long, it’s an unreasonable 96 minutes. No Label II asks one to turn over the vinyl about four times before you even hitting the final side. The length of a mixtape shouldn’t be a deterrent for a listener (see: Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo EP that is over 45 minutes), but, Migos are not a rap group with enough personas to dodge such a question, because even at half its length very few of these songs are worth the initial slog.

This tape lacks a “Versace,” “FEMA,” “Chinatown,” or damn near any song from last year’s Young Rich Niggas, which held-up over repeated listens but not this time. The tape’s strongest song is “Fight Night,” which owes a lot of its charm from the reversed-out G-Funk beat from Stack Boy Twan, which feels like the only beat to understand the staccacuo rhythm that makes Migos so dynamic. Everything else is trap beat after trap beat, repeated word chorus after repeated word chorus, the exhaustion on the tape’s back end makes it easy to forget there is a fucking MGK feature on here.

On Young Rich Niggas during one of the early track DJ Ray G mentions “Niggas in school making more money than their teachers,” which sounded a bit off. Then on this tape’s opener DJ Ray G says “We the first niggas to come out of A on that real street shit,” my response this time was to laugh. Youthful brash is one of the currencies of rap music that I appreciate the most (see: Shy Glizzy’s Young Jefe), but personal myth-building at some point needs some kind of grounding. No Label II doesn’t ever try and touch the ground; it’s just Migos riding high on their own self-perpetuating hype.

Link: Migos’ No Label II

Rappers and Their Adlibs

Written by David Turner (@dalatudalatu)

Where are the adlibs on “Cut Her Off?” They’re certainly there but of recent Atlanta street anthems K Camp’s burgeoning hit sounds positively minimal compared to other notable Atlanta tracks from 2013. I’m probably making much out of nothing, because K Camp’s adlibs play back against his first verse, but they didn’t add much to the song. Compared to the trio of Migos, who pack tracks with all verbal sounds to prevent there being a second of empty space; or a Young Thug, whose adlibs are either *unintelliable language* or an entire one-on-one musical conversation. I went back to K Camp’s recent tape with DJ Drama, In Due Time, and was disappointed at the tape’s mediocrity beyond “Cut Her Off” and his previous hit “Money Baby.” But in the last decade, adlibs have increasingly become a keen marker of a rapper’s style and that K Camp scored so low on the adlib barometer, which unfortunately served as a good heads-up for the rest of his material.