Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Migos

  • Young Rich Niggas [self-released download, 2013] ***
  • Rich Nigga Timeline [mixtape download, 2014] *
  • Yung Rich Nation [300 Entertainment/Quality Control/Atlantic, 2015] B+
  • Y.R.N. 2 (Young Rich Niggas 2) [self-released, 2016] ***
  • Culture [QC/YRN/300, 2017] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Young Rich Niggas [self-released download, 2013]
If you go to all the trouble of cooking crack, you might as well get your chortle on about it ("Hanna Montana," "Versace," "Bakersman") ***

Rich Nigga Timeline [mixtape download, 2014]
Hoping their base forgives them for acting so soft, gangstas redux stick their catchiest number at the end of this overlength 18-tracker ("Struggle," "Bachelor") *

Yung Rich Nation [300 Entertainment/Quality Control/Atlantic, 2015]
"You know, it feel good when you're recognized," they're not ashamed to conclude, and although at first I was irritated by how pragmatically they reclaim what they're not ashamed to call "Gangsta Rap," now I find them generically opportunistic and endearingly jolly--which I may rescind as their heads swell, but later for that. Very hooky, kind of funny, barely brutal at all. "Yung rich niggas never did a pushup" is a brag that's hard to hate. B+

Y.R.N. 2 (Young Rich Niggas 2) [self-released, 2016]
Their farewell to DIY is slightly less hooky and more thug, and it makes a difference ("You Wanna See," "Chances") ***

Culture [QC/YRN/300, 2017]
It would be silly to deny how good this music sounds. These three rather different young men are much more than amigos--they're blood relatives raised by the same heroic mama, and while they don't harmonize like Isleys or Everlys, their pitch-corrected interactions are a consanguineous delight. Rather than bitches, cars, etc., they're about homologous voices twisting internal rhymes through associative verses, with the "ad libs" that punctuate line after line the payoff that's made them such a thing. Although sometimes these merely repeat the line's final word, that can be fun in itself, and it sets up the repeated jack-in-the-box joke of springing an improved alternative keyword instead. And as anybody who's heard "Bad and Boujee" three times knows, best of all are the sound effects: bwah, skrrrt, brrrup. Some believe these echo gunfire. I prefer to table that theory till next time. A-