Is Migos Holding Quavo Back From Becoming a Breakout Solo Star?
There’s been an ongoing joke on social media for the last few years that Migos are the male version of Destiny’s Child. The comparison has nothing to do with music, and everything to do with Quavo’s undeniable star power.
There's a noticeable popularity surrounding Quavo, people see him as the group's leader, and the member most likely to achieve solo success. Kelly and Michelle were both talented vocalists, key ingredients to what made Destiny's Child such a sensation, but the girls didn’t carry the blinding glow of Beyoncé Knowles. She had what cannot be bought, the kind of X-factor that can be felt the moment she sings, dances, or even enters a room—the world knew Beyoncé had the radiant shine of a future star that would go beyond an all-female singing group.
Quavo too exudes this shine and has the potential to break away from the trio and stand alone in this era of rap music.
The group has had a huge influence on today’s sound; their flows and melodies have crawled into the veins of trap culture, and it seems right to acclaim Quavo as heir to the trap throne. There’s swagger in his rhymes, charisma in his melodies, and an uncanny ability to turn a phrase into a hit.
During a short, promotional phone video for the Migos’ rap snacks—completely on the fly—Quavo came up with the “Dab of Ranch” viral jingle. The video boomed across the internet, the gravitation toward the playful rhyme proving Quavo could be enticing without effort. The freestyle has officially been made into a song that was recently previewed.
On Christmas, Quavo made a Migos-esque hook about Santa dropping the sack off, and Ducko McFli, one of the producers on Mike Will’s Ear Drummers label, added a beat to the video clip, leading to the song accumulating over 43k plays on SoundCloud. Both examples display his innate gift to create captivating internet hits on a whim.
Quavo has outsourced his talents to peers on more than a few occasions. His prowess for hooks can be heard on 2 Chainz’s “Good Drank” and YFN Lucci’s “Key To The Streets”—both feature Quavo Wonder using his Auto-Tune-drenched Southern drawl to make infectious choruses.
One of Quavo’s best performances, though, can be found on Travis Scott’s debut album, his feature on “Oh My Dis Side” bringing to light the power of his presence. The back-and-forth with Travis is like watching Klay Thompson and Steph Curry take turns draining 3's from beyond the arc. Another winning performance was executed on “Pick Up The Phone”—there’s a chemistry between Scott and Quavo that needs to be explored through a bigger project.
When Chance brought him in on as a feature on Surf, that's when my eyes opened, not only can he stand alone apart from Takeoff and Offset, but he can also go outside the comfort zone of the trap. Young Thug’s “F Cancer,” G-Eazy’s “Meantime,” Ty Dolla’s “Long Time” and Meek Mill’s “The Difference” are just a few times Quavo appeared without his Migos brethren but brought the same charisma that makes him stand out when they're together.
Swae Lee, ½ of Rae Sremmurd, has also received a mountain of requests for solo music. When fans are engrossed with a particular member of a group, they turn that admiration into a demand. After the release of Culture, I’m certain that Quavo will be hounded to focus solely on himself.
He has solo records out, a few floating around the net, but they don't seem like true solitary efforts, failing to capture his star power like Migo songs and his impactful features. His voice has always been accompanied by others, always someone contributing to a hook or verse. Even though Offset and Takeoff don’t have the same star quality as Quavo, I feel like the three all contribute to Migos’ enchanting charm.
Recently, during the promo for their album, the Migos read a children's book over the “Bad and Boujee” instrumental while at Power 106. Watching it, seeing how they play off each other, the adding of ad libs—the teamwork—is like watching a team of scientists in a laboratory. Alone, they would sound silly, but together, there’s a sense of comradery, a unified energy that turned a playful task into a magic moment. This same feeling is at the heart of their music, the fun comes from the three playing off each other's energy.
It makes me wonder if from the very beginning, could Quavo had made it without Takeoff and Offset? Honestly, I believe he couldn’t. They're like Huey, Dewey, and Louie—it's hard to imagine the three apart.
I’ve always been a fan of Krayzie Bone. Out of all the members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, I thought his solo career had the most promise. His debut album, Thug Mentality 1999, was well-received and was awarded a Platinum plaque. His sophomore effort Thug on da Line also was met with applause and sold enough to go Gold. But after being featured on Chamillionaire’s ringtone phenomenon “Ridin,” he hasn’t made much of an impact in mainstream rap.
You can have style, promise, and charisma, but still struggle to find your place when it comes to longevity. Quavo’s potential will likely transition into some solo success, but there's no telling how big he can be alone. Migos are currently the biggest group in rap, they will likely continue to conquer 2017, but splitting up too soon could very well bring to an end a very good thing.
Groups break up, they take breaks, and they explore the possibility of standing alone. It took Jeezy leaving Boyz In Da Hood to become the trap star that he is today. It took Lil Wayne being left behind by his Hot Boys brothers to carry Cash Money on his back and become a giant in the rap game. Sometimes, it takes the courage to step out by yourself to realize how big you can become.
There are other examples: The Cool Kids took some time apart, explored the world as solo acts, and came back together. People are excited to see what they do next. Absence will make your fans grow fonder.
Maybe that’s what the Migos should do—separate while they're loved, see what the world offers, and come back together like the trap Voltron to a roar of applause. Who knows, maybe Offset and Takeoff will be the ones to rocket to rap stardom?
Together or apart, there’s no question that Quavo Knowles has enough star power to light up a Christmas tree. If he chooses the path of a solo artist, he has all the promise to be the rap industry's next breakout star.
By Yoh, aka Yohavo Knowles, aka @Yoh31.
Art Credit: Jake Franssen