Crew Love: Quality Control
Given Name(s): Quavious Marshall, Kirshnik Ball, and Kiari Cephus
Aliases: Quavo, Takeoff, Offset
Age(s): 23, 20, 22
Early Life: The three members of Migos are from Gwinnett County based out of Atlanta, and they all happen to be family. Quavo is the uncle of Takeoff, and Offset is Quavo's cousin. The trio started creating music during the seventh grade and previously went by the moniker Polo Club before taking their careers seriously and picking up the name Migos in 2010.
Career Highlights: Making their mark in early 2011, Migos set the bar high with their introductory projects Juug Season and No Label, the latter of which housed their regional banger "Bando." After catching the attention of both Zaytoven and Coach K, the trio landed a spot on QC preceding the debut of their noteworthy release Young Rich Niggas. Smashing radio waves with their hit (and Drake-remixed) "Versace," single, Migos earned number three on XXL 's The 25 Best Songs of 2013, number five on SPIN's 50 Best Songs of 2013, and number four on Complex 's The 50 Best Songs of 2013. Releasing their No Label 2 project earlier this year, Migos saw over 100,000 downloads within its first week on DatPiff and received commendable reviews from publications nationwide.
Sound: Similar to other Southern-bred artists, the Migos started off with trap-inspired instrumentals infused with quick wordplay. As their music has progressed, the trio have found their creative aesthetic in slanging, club-banging records filled with infectious hooks and hyper-lyricism. Their grainy rhymes usual play on top of each other, creating a friendly style of battle rap within each and every track.
Strengths: Despite holding three distinctive vocal sounds, the Migos have an ear for vivid production and hold the skill set to create anthems. Even if you choose to avoid the trio and their music, you will more than likely catch yourself quoting one or more of their singles because the sound is just that ear-catching. They can let loose a bass-heavy, slower gem like "Handsome and Wealthy," and follow up with a chaotic banger like "Fight Night," all while still captivating your attention from start to finish.
What’s Next: Migos' Y.R.N. 2 was originally slated to release as a mixtape, but it has since been announced that the project has turned into a 20-track LP expected for release in 2015
Aliases: Maco, OGG
Early Life: OG Maco rose from the Southside of Atlanta and grew his love of music through listening to the likes of Phil Collins, Tupac, Biggie, and more. His growing success this year can be linked to an angry night he had in the studio with producer Brandon Thomas that led to the freestyled creation of his gritty, hit single "U Guessed It." Without an album or even a major mixtape, he became the newest signee to Quality Control Music by the end of the summer and a fresh addition to hip-hop music.
Releases: Live Life, mixtape, 2014; Give Em Hell, collaborative EP with Key!, 2014; Live Life 2, mixtape, 2014
Career Highlights: After signing with QC, Maco continued his stream of success after receiving a feature from 2 Chainz on his "U Guessed It," remix, along with the release of his followup, Ducko McFli-produced hit "FUCKEMx3," featuring the Migos trio. Despite just taking off this year, Maco has quickly climbed the artist roster ladder with numerous tour stops and landing a position on Billboard's Emerging Artists list.
Sound: Despite gaining large comparisons to Mystikal and Pastor Troy, Maco has a versatile, tuneful sound that can be turned up or down depending on his emotions while in the booth. Using minimalistic, piano-led instrumentals with heavy bass backing, Maco applies his high level of energy as back up percussion over sparse production. His delivery can come across as effortless or measurably aggressive, showing that he isn't boxing himself into one specific range of hip-hop.
Strengths: For an emerging artist, Maco has a vivid personality that he expresses well through his music. His R&B-infused "All In 2," track displays a distinct change between "U Guessed It," leaving one wondering if the two offerings were even composed by the same artist. He isn't as flashy as Johnny Cinco and doesn't have the same catchy anthems as the Migos, but Maco's distinct sound makes him QC and ATL's most amped-up lyricist at the moment.
What’s Next: Maco will be unleashing his OGMACOBLKFRI project this Friday.
Aliases: Cinco, John Popi
Releases: Cinco, mixtape, 2013; John Popi, mixtape, 2014
Career Highlights: After releasing his "They Gave The Wrong Young Nigga Money," cut in 2013, Johnny Cinco became a household name throughout the club scene in Atlanta. Catching the attention of Street Exec's Charlie Jabaley, Cinco debuted his notable John Popi mixtape and curated the creation of his own label, Sak Religious (SRG).
Sound: Cinco may have the most Southern-influenced sound in Quality Control, drawing comparisons to the likes of Future and Young Thug. With slurred, half-sung raps, his sound is a blend of synthy, lightly auto-tuned melodies infused with laid-back beats and grainy adlibs that offer a mix of gasps, screeches, and hyped vocals. John Popi is a story-driven offering that sometimes focuses on the money and fame, but Cinco has a deeper story to tell, with him delivering personable bars of struggle and gain throughout its entirety.
Strengths: As an artist in the large pool of Atlanta rappers, Cinco is consistent with keeping his music polished and memorable. His storytelling, delivery, catchy hooks and adlibs flow seamlessly with beats that suit his lyricism and musical content. While toggling between bars on personal life, hustling, and money, Cinco doesn't find it difficult to assimilate his wordplay with the production. Music aside, he has a cool, clean, easygoing stage presence and aesthetic that's on the borderline of arrogance, but light enough to just to call it swag.
What’s Next: Cinco is preparing to release his collaborative The Extra EP with Money Makin' Nique this week, while also working on the debut of his forthcoming I Swear mixtape.
Rich The Kid
Given Name(s): Dimitri Rodger
Early Life: Spending the beginning half of his life in the melting pot of New York City, Rich The Kid grew up in a Haitian household giving him access to a second language and an established cultural environment. After his parents separated when he was 13, he moved to the College Park area of Atlanta with his mother where he first made his moves in the music scene. Through savvy networking techniques, Rich was introduced to the likes of Travis Porter and Migos over the course of the next few years, making room for the successful release of his Migos-collab mixtape series Streets On Lock.
Releases: Been About The Benjamins, mixtape, March 2013; Streets On Lock, compilation mixtape with Migos, August 2013; Streets On Lock 2, compilation mixtape with Migos, October 2013; Streets On Lock3, compilation mixtape with Migos, April 2014; Feels Good 2 Be Rich, mixtape, August 2014.
Career Highlights: Similar to the likes of the Migos, Rich is well-established in receiving some of hip-hop's hottest features. Earlier this year his "Jumpin' Like Jordan" track with Migos received an all-star remix from French Montana, Yo Gotti, and Chinx, and his recent, Zaytoven-produced "On My Way" release enlisted both Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel.
Sound: Since he is not an original native of Atlanta, Rich's lyrical sound is somewhat influenced by a mix of his New York roots.
Strengths: Rich has an ear for bangers and tends to release feel-good, club anthems for the party crowd. With traditional Southern production and trap-inspired lyricism, he still holds strong to the Quality Control signature sound.
Skippa Da Flippa
Releases: Migos x Flippa Mixtape, compilation mixtape with Migos, 2014
Career Highlights: Although he's yet to make a real project of his own, Flippa linked with QC and started making collaborative tracks with Migos, Soulja Boy, Rich The Kid, and more which prompted the release of "Aquafina," a cut with Soulja, and his featured verse on the Migos' "Trenchez."
Sound: Flippa's sound can range from minimal, choppy lyricism with trap-inspired production, to contentious and upbeat. His offering with Soulja Boy places more focus on the beat, while he lays out bars on his banger with the Migos.
Strengths: With a notable project for himself still in the works, Flippa is a team player that continually supports the efforts of his fellow QC brethren. He creates unmissable hooks and stands out by honing a strong Southern sound.
Aliases: Guapo, Young Guapo, Jose
Early Life: Hailing from the West side of Atlanta, Jose Guapo got into the rap game at the young age of 15 when he created a hit radio single entitled "My Partna Dem," when he was a part of the music collective the Rich Kidz. After starting his solo career, Guapo cultivated a strong fanbase as an authentic voice for the streets, which led to the release of multiple successful mixtapes.
Releases: MoneyAffiliated, mixtape, 2010; Jose's World, mixtape, 2011; Cash Talk, mixtape, 2011; Cash Talk 2, mixtape, 2012; Cash Talk 3, mixtape, 2013; Jose's World2, mixtape, 2013; Cash Talk 4, mixtape, 2014;
Sound: Guapo's signature, infectious "Guaponese" slang usually finds the rapper rhyming with chopped bars over bass-heavy, trap-inspired instrumentals.
Strengths: Although his style and confrontational lyricism may often come across as offensive, Guapo has curated music with a distinct sound that sets a forefront setting him apart from the crop of artists coming out of the booming city of Atlanta.