Migos still has the bangers, proven on "No Label II."
Migos’ style is something like a basketball point guard. The person at the position doesn’t need to master every aspect of the game and probably won’t — rebounding just isn’t his thing. But the person’s shortcomings are hidden by how exceedingly good he is or has to be in a few other skills, whether it’s ball handling or calling plays. Migos will probably rarely talk about anything further than illusions of wealth, various forms of illegal activity, or the come-up. That’s fine though. The trio hasn’t mastered its trap-happy lane per say, but No Label 2 shows it at least has a pretty good grasp of it.
Migos had the fortune or ingenuity to tap into a cultural zeitgeist — and a big boost from a Drake co-sign — on its breakout jam “Versace.” The confidently left-field “Hannah Montana” was a banger too, but there’s been no sense of pressure from the group to follow-up. The listeners also kind of got a sense they would be just fine, whether it was through the rest of Y.R.N. or one of the few singles they’ve dropped since then.
No Label 2 proves Migos may just have the chops to outlast its mainstream volley in 2013. “The Migos Flow” was definitely a thing last year, but the crew is definitely more amorphous and less gimmicky than one title suggests. The fusillade of “Versace”’s delivery shows itself on various points in No Label 2, but there’s a controlled chaos whether three decide to perform in breathy punchlines or tumble with a collage of syllables.
On the intro, a pretty solid first step, Quavo shows this rhythmic command in effect. He’s never too intent on staying on pace to embellish: “Payin' bills, tryna meet the rent/Mymamashesaythatshesickofit.” “Add It Up,” another highlight, employs more staccato delivery in a way that somehow compliments the fluidity of the non-sequiturs (“Jungle fever, got the white and I marry her/I see Justin Beaver, the ghost is way scarier). Whether Migos is performing verbal acrobatics or employing a more hammer-on-the-head delivery, the trio always sound like it’s simply skating over the beats.
No Label 2 is mostly braggadocio, but it does owe a huge part of its amiability to what’s always been at the core of Migos’ appeal — energy that’s constantly on the redline. The group is essentially selling the listener a refurbished product — Atlanta trap raps with consistent hi-hats — throughout its 25-track runtime. It’s certainly a bit of an endurance test but at least the trio at least sounds like it’s trying to sell every line no matter how borderline absurd they are. “Fight Night”’s metaphor should be obvious at this point, but it’s Takeoff’s commitment to the cliché that makes this song hard to hate. This isn’t a throwaway track, but a confidently sold Bay Area Hyphy scene sendoff.
The beats, provided by the likes of Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, and Mack Boy in addition to a few others, match Migos’ lackadaisical attitude toward performing. It definitely fits, but there’s rarely anything definitive behind the hi-hats and keys, besides maybe the urgent, submerged keys by Zaytoven on “Add It Up.” Although the production could use a tune-up, it doesn’t do much to hamper Migos’ trap absurdist persona. Twenty-five tracks are a bit much, but Offset at least gives a bit of context on the intro: “Quavo told me n***a wait/This is the only way we can escape/ I realized it when I sat down for an 8.” That urgency is definitely present through a majority of No Label 2.
What did you think of the project? Listen/download below and let us know.