Destination Jam: Five tracks from Migos to have on repeat as we await the result of their latest legal battle
The group is embroiled in controversy after their lawsuit against Quality Control Music drew the ire of QCM CEO Pierre 'Pee' Thomas and fans, but their music is a reminder of what they're fighting for
The Migos, featuring rappers Takeoff, Offset, and Quavo, spent the last few years building their sound and brand that blends Atlanta style rap and hip-hop with viral trends and a slew of legal issues. And as the world focuses more on the latter part of that identity thanks to their latest legal troubles with their label Quality Control Music, it might be easy to overlook just why this trio is so popular, not just within the hip-hop loving community, but amongst audiences everywhere.
When their personal lives are not front and center, The Migos are, in fact, one of the most influential hip-hop acts of modern times, and, as some would argue, in the history of hip-hop itself. Their signature style has been a major inspiration for everyone from Drake and J Cole to Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar. And adding to that, the group has also been credited with numerous viral trends in addition to popularizing aspects of hip-hop and African American culture well beyond their usual audiences. So in honor of this group's influence and legacy, here are five of their most popular tracks.
'Bad and Boujee' (featuring Lil Uzi Vert)
This 2016 track is arguably one of the group's most famous tracks, owing largely to it going viral and spawning a massive range of memes stemming from the song's lyrics, "rain drop, drop top." In 2017, Donald Glover referenced the song at the 2017 Golden Globes, and this built on its already viral fame and propelled the track to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for the week of January 21, 2017, making it the first chart-topping single for Migos as well as Vert. The track went on to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance.
Apart from its chart performance, 'Bad and Boujee' also earned critical acclaim in addition to being a massive hit among listeners, both within the hip-hop community and beyond. The video then added to the song's fame, featuring cameos from Travis Scott and OG Maco. As of today, the video has over 960 million views. The song itself was also featured on the show 'Black-ish', further adding to its fame as well as Migos' reach.
But probably the most interesting and wide-reaching consequence of this song's popularity was that it introduced the word 'boujee' into mainstream use. While the term was already a popular term within African American media and especially so within hip-hop, 'Bad and Boujee's viral fame made the term — which stems from 'bourgeoisie' and is used to refer to someone or something that is rich or luxurious — popular among other groups and genres as well.
As their debut breakout single, 'Versace' belongs on any list of Migos hits. The 2013 track, released by the group's label Quality Control Music in collaboration with 300 Entertainment and Atlantic Records, was featured on their mixtape YRN (Young Rich N****s) and found fame after Drake dropped a remix of it. The song's beat, which was produced by Zaytoven, was also shared with Soulja Boy who used it in 'OMG Part 2' in 2011.
Following its initial fame, the song continued to find new fans as more artistes shared covers and remixes of the track, including Justin Bieber, boxer Adrien Broner, and rappers Johnny Polygon, Kap G, Tyga, Swagg Man, Why SL Know Plug (or Money Boy). The song's fame earned it spots on several year-end lists, with several hailing it as one of the top five hip-hop songs of 2013.
'Look at My Dab'
Released in 2015, 'Look at My Dab', off Migos' mixtape 'Back to the Bando' was not necessarily their highest charting track, but it would go on to become a cultural phenomenon, much in the same fashion as so many other tracks from the trio. The music video for the song dropped the same year, with a second video dropping in December 2015 featuring cameos from Lil Jon and Young Thug. Not long after the song and video came out, the dab dance became a global trend.
While the origins of dab have long been disputed, with Atlanta hip-hop artistes like Migos, Skippa da Flippa, Peewee Longway, Soulja Boy, and Rich The Kid all being credited as pioneers and the Japanese "henshin" pose (frequently featured in Japanese anime and superhero shows) being credited as the original form, what cannot be disputed is that Migos were the act that took a local dance and made it a worldwide phenomenon. And all this while the group was embroiled in an earlier legal battle stemming from a 2015 arrest on charges of marijuana and gun possession (within a school safety zone), which subsequently resulted in Offset being incarcerated after the rapper, while in custody, attacked and injured another inmate.
In 2018, Migos dropped the single 'MotorSport', the lead single off 'Culture II' featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. The combination of artistes on this track already made it a highly-anticipated team-up, one that certainly lived up to expectations seeing as it earned both commercial success and critical acclaim. The track also earned a BET nomination for a Viewers' Choice Award, as well as fetching Cardi B the BET Hip Hop Award for Best Featured Verse. The longstanding feud between Minaj and Cardi also helped fuel the song's fame, but both rappers vehemently denied they had any beef on this track, but they would later acknowledge that people would speculate they did even if they were "making out."
Regardless of behind-the-scenes drama — or a lack thereof — the track proved to be a hit with Minaj, in particular, earning massive praise for her verses.
Described by music critic Simon Reynolds as "vocal alchemy via Auto-Tune, turning profane tales of fast lane life into a holy trance, a choral weave of glistening rap, ecstatic ad-libs, and a wordless backing ripple of Gregorian gurgles and droning moans," this track is peak Migos in every way: it blends their signature style of mumble rap with an almost cinematic-sounding backing track.
The song itself was the trio's homage to rapper, producer, and Atlanta hip-hop legend Shawty Lo who passed away in 2016 in a car crash. The song, off Migos' sophomore album 'Culture', was a smash hit, peaking at number 19 on the Hot 100. The song's music video proved to be equally cinematic, featuring the three rappers dressed as Arctic hunters in Versace boots armed with spears and arrows and snowmobiles to navigate the mountain terrain by Lake Tahoe.
Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!