Beatles comparisons, viral sensations, and a number one single in the US - here's the lowdown on the three Migos
“I think they’re the Beatles of this generation and I don’t think that they get a lot of respect outside of Atlanta. There’s a generation of kids – like, the YouTube generation I came up with – that are growing up on something that’s completely separate from a whole group of people. That song, ‘Bad and Boujee’, is just fly. There’s no better song to have sex to.”
Aside from celebrating a deserved win for the flawless debut season of his excellent TV show Atlanta, much of the spotlight on Donald Glover’s success at the Golden Globes on Sunday (January 8) fell on his love for the hip-hop group Migos (and not just because they guest-starred in an episode of Atlanta). After lauding their 2016 single ‘Bad and Boujee’ as “the best song ever” during his acceptance speech for Atlanta‘s triumph in the Best Television Comedy category, Glover went a step further in the post-awards press conference by eulogising the Atlanta trap trio as “the Beatles of this generation.”
The reaction was huge: ‘Bad and Boujee’ became possibly the most-played song in the world yesterday, with a 243% increase in streams leading to the track shooting straight to the top of the US Hot 100 singles chart, giving Migos their first-ever number one song in their home country.
But Glover’s shout-out at the Golden Globes wasn’t Migos’ first brush with the mainstream. The group have been at the forefront of global trends, viral songs and innovation in hip-hop since they first broke through in 2013, and are an undeniably huge deal in the US and beyond – check out, for instance, the frenzied reaction they received when they played ‘Bad and Boujee’ on a recent tour stop in Lagos, Nigeria.
If you’re new to the Migos hype, then don’t worry – here’s the full cheat sheet on the world’s best hip-hop group.
Who are Migos?
Migos are Quavo (born Quavious Keyate Marshall, 25 years old), Takeoff (Kirshnik Khari Ball, 22), and Offset (Kiari Kendrell Cephus, 25). Interestingly, Quavo is Takeoff’s uncle, while Offset and Quavo are cousins – Migos is very much a family affair.
Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, the trio – who formed in 2009 – are now known for representing the state’s capital Atlanta, arguably trap music’s spiritual home.
Back in 2015, the trio briefly had to operate as a duo when Offset was sent to jail following a police raid on the group’s tourbus after a show at Georgia State University. While Quavo and Takeoff were released on bond, Offset was remanded in custody – a situation he didn’t exactly make any better by running up charges of battery and inciting a riot within a penal facility while in jail. The rapper was finally released in December 2015 after eight months in custody, reuniting the three Migos.
Noisey‘s controversial profile of Migos from the same year serves as an eye-opening visual introduction to the group – with the amount of weapons and weed lying around at their country club home, it’s no wonder they went on to dismiss the short film as “a scripted movie.”
What songs have Migos released?
Since Migos dropped their first mixtape, ‘Jugg Season’, in 2011, the group have been prolific when it comes to free releases – fourteen more mixtapes have followed that original offering, with the most prominent being the breakthrough ‘Y.R.N’ mixtape (2013), as well as ‘Rich N*gga Timeline’ (2014) and ‘Back To The Bando’ (2015). They’re independent-minded as well, self-releasing much of their music through their own Quality Control label. Their distribution partnership with Atlantic Records imprint 300 Entertainment – also the home of Young Thug and Fetty Wap – is as corporate as Migos get.
Their rapid style of lyrical delivery – which has an emphasis on spitting in triplets – won many of their fans over, as did the jerky, yet often oddly beautiful, trap production from group affiliate and leading Atlanta producer Zaytoven – introduced to Migos by the trap godfather, Gucci Mane, in 2012 – that appeared on a number of Migos’ earliest hits.
The group are currently readying themselves for the release of their second album ‘Culture’, which drops on January 27. The new record, which features ‘Bad and Boujee’, will follow their July 2015 debut studio offering, ‘Yung Rich Nation’, which featured the Migos staples ‘One Time’ and ‘Handsome & Wealthy’.
How did Migos get noticed?
Where Migos really have come alive in their rise to the top is through the success of individual songs, many of which have taken on a life of their own in the social age – their latest success, ‘Bad and Boujee’, included.
Their first majorly successful song, ‘Versace’ – written, unsurprisingly, about the group’s penchant for wearing clothing and jewellery from the Italian fashion house – went Gold in the US in 2013 (with a little help from a Drake remix, of course), no doubt burrowing its way into the conscious of its listeners across the country through its simple-yet-effective hook (fun fact: ‘Versace’ is mentioned a mere 91 times in the song).
The next step on Migos’ path to success came again via the viral route, with another piece of earworm greatness in the form of ‘Hannah Montana’ (which also featured on 2013’s ‘Y.R.N’). The success of ‘Hannah Montana’ was particularly driven by its popularity in high schools, with Vine (R.I.P) videos of students going wild to the song in cafeterias during their lunch break spreading across the internet.
Another aspect of Migos’ popularity comes from their tendency to embrace the unusual – something they very much did through their link up with Audiomack in July 2015, who paired Quavo and Takeoff with a mini orchestra to create one of the first ever instances of a ‘Trap Symphony’. The results, as you might expect, are quite exquisite.
The Dab – did Migos invent it?
Well, they certainly think they did, anyway. In 2015 Migos released ‘Look At My Dab’, with an accompanying video showing the rappers dabbing – that’s the head-dropped-arm-up dance that went on to dominate and subsequently die a very messy death in 2016 – in the studio, which appeared to inspire US sports stars to embrace the move in celebration shortly after, consequently kicking off its global popularity (before the likes of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard ruined it for everyone, that is).
However, Migos’ claim that they invented the dab was refuted by some of their peers, who highlighted the fact that the dance had existed in the southern hip-hop scene years before ‘Look At My Dab’. It’s most likely, therefore, that the craze was ignited by Migos rather than it being something that they’d entirely created, but the wild, unrelenting frenzy of the dab phenomenon spoke volumes for Migos’ ever-increasing global profile.
Are they really better than The Beatles?
Glover’s claim will no doubt irritate some, but he’s not the first person to compare Migos’ impact to that of The Fab Four. Ever since Quavo name-dropped the Beatles in ‘Hannah Montana’ – “I’m in London with the plug, gettin’ the same car as the Beatles” – Migos fans have regularly shared the somewhat tongue-in-cheek hashtag #MigosBetterThanTheBeatles on social media (leading Quavo to reference the unlikely comparison in the 2015 song ‘Street N*gga Sacrifice’, rapping: “They sayin’ Migos better than the Beatles / Paul McCartney, I would like to meet him“).
Whatever your opinion, it seems like Migos are more than happy to embrace the improbable comparison – and, with results like the recent surge in success of ‘Bad and Boujee’ (which had already caused a stir in the hip-hop world upon its original release back in October), you can see why Migos fancy their chances at filling the void left by John, Paul, George and Ringo.