It's July 31, 2015. It's partly cloudy in New York, where I currently reside, but pleasantly cool in the office. I'm teetering on the edge of sanity in the midst of my current hangover. None of this matters, though, because I'm about to launch into an inspiring, meaningful journey into the depths of the bando. If you have not yet clued in, I'm about to do a 1 Listen Album Review of Yung Rich Nation, the debut studio album from Migos. I am, in fact, a fan of Migos and have been following them closely ever since I first heard "Versace" (the remix, of course). The Atlanta trio has seen both a high degree of success and controversy in their brief career, where they've further extended the trap into the national spotlight, galvanized the genre with their flow (regardless of whether they were the first to use it) and kept us continually stocked with high-energy club bangers.
This being my first 1 Listen Album Review, I'm not quite sure what to expect. I've been told it's a long, arduous process. I've been told to prepare myself with an abundance of drinks and snacks (I have water and Doritos). Regarding Yung Rich Nation, however, I'm pretty sure I know what to expect. This is Migos we're talking about, I doubt I'll be hearing any introspective and emotional ballads. I'm here to turn the fuck up, albeit sitting in a chair with headphones on. As per 1 Listen rules, I will do no pausing or rewinding, and will record purely my gut reaction to the album as it plays in its entirety. I'm ready.
The track starts with piano keys and Migos talking. This is going to be epic by the way it sounds. By the time the bass kicks in, I’m wishing I was listening to this in a car with multiple subs. Migos are speaking on some of their firsts. "First check, bought a Audi coupe.” Remembering the time they broke into their neighbors house? Shit is getting gully. This was a great choice for the intro, very fitting to look back before we move forward. Takeoff especially isn’t playing around here, and they all sound hungry. I feel this is a good time to break out a #FreeOffset as the sound fades out.
BOOOOOOM. This bass is magical. I just had to kick the volume up a few more notches. “Hoes calling me they Dab Daddy.” What a great name. Migos said they were bringing plenty of new lingo to the table with this album, and "dab daddy" is a great start. I can’t get over this beat though, Honorable C.N.O.T.E. doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. I seriously regret not taking a few dabs prior to this writeup.
Zaytoven! In the wake of Beast Mode I’ve been on a huge Zaytoven bender, and this will need to be added to the collection. Apparently, if you want to know the origin of the Migos flow, you better “shut the fuck up,” so there’s that. I’ve got to admit, I haven’t been paying as much attention to the lyrics as I should be, but this is Migos. All you really need to do is nod your head and vibe out to what they’re cooking up, as they note.
"Spray the Champagne”
These reviews are hard. I want to restart the last song and hear it again so bad, but I must continue on. “Spray the Champagne” isn’t exactly inspiring, though that is fitting as I’m not feeling this one as much. I’ve reached the first point in my listening journey where I want to skip, where I’m not piping it up right along with Migos. Mehhhhhh. This is a filler track, and the chorus is too repetitive. Yes, I realize many of their choruses are just the same words said over and over, but this one is too much for my liking.
“Street N*gga Sacrifice”
“They say the Migos better than the Beatles.” I’m glad they touched on that in the album. I love the Internet, and Migos > Beatles is one of the reasons why, though I’m not quite sure why I find that so amusing. I’m a little over halfway through this song now and I’m not really sure what it is they are sacrificing, but I’m feeling the song regardless. I’m picturing all three Migos' at the top of a hill, clad in robes and sandals, chanting “STREET N*GGA SACRIFICE” and offering up their re-up to the Trap God (who may or may not be Gucci Mane).
Some definite West Coast vibes to start us off, and yup here they are channeling their inner Eazy-E. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Migos in storytelling mode before, and I’m getting pretty damn piped up rocking along to it. Damnnnnnnnnnn, I need to hear a lot more like this in the future. Wait, did Takeoff just quote Slick Rick and sound eerily similar to him? I think that just happened. Nothing to see here, just your friendly neighborhood Migos cruising by on a highway police chase and nodding to legendary hip-hop greats.
This is the first time I’m hearing something I’ve heard prior to this review, and a great opportunity to mention how much I like this song. True story, I saw them perform this live backed by an orchestra, right after I delivered them 14 bacon, egg and cheese croissants with grape jelly and bacon extra, extra crispy. I ate three of them myself, in order to honor all three of the Migos. Or because I was hungry. Anyway, basically I’ve heard this song a thousand times, and I’m not even close to getting sick of it.
“Just for Tonight” (ft. Chris Brown)
Is that Chris Brown? Indeed it is. Eight songs in and this is the first guest appearance. I’d have to say Migos have been holding it down quite effectively on their own. This song is alright, a little forgettable. I’m wondering if this will be the next single, though I don’t know if I can see it making waves if so. I don’t really have much else to say here, so I’ll just sit here reflect on Drake/Meek Mill memes.
“Pipe It Up”
PIPE IT UP!!!!!!!!! If you couldn’t tell by now, this is my favorite thing to say at the moment. Maybe ever. I’ve been trying to actively pipe it up at least once a day recently. In fact, you can go ahead and write it on my tombstone once I pass away and settle in for the long pipe-down. I think this is a great and rare example of a repetitive chorus actually making me enjoy the song more.......aaaaaaaaaaaaand now it's stuck in my head.
More NWA references? Amazing. Someone please tell me that Dr. Dre’s (alleged) upcoming album has Migos on it. They say they’re bringing gangsta rap back, and it’s hard to argue against them listening to his. This beat is menacing. Wait….. it’s over? NOOOOOOOO!
I really wish that last one was longer than two minutes, too bad. Before I started this review, I imagined this was the point that I might start getting bored, where the tracks would start blending into each other, especially since most of the production was coming from C.N.O.T.E. and Murda Beatz. I am not bored, and they’ve managed to keep the project from sounding like one extended song. That said, I keep searching for the next song that’s going to blow up, but I haven’t really found one outside the singles thus far. Maybe "Dab Daddy”?
“Cocaina” (ft. Young Thug)
Young Thug is one of the most exciting artists in music. Keep your Thug slander to yourself, I don’t want to hear it and you’re wrong, whatever your argument is. COCAINA!!! BANDO!!! BRRRAPPP BRAPP!!! How have I not talked about Migos ad-libs yet? No one can touch Migos ad-lib game. Wait, maybe Thugger. I would honestly bump this shit if you took the verses out and left only ad-libs. Thug’s verse is him at his best, I really wanted to rewind. Oh well. This might be that song that blows up.
With a name like “Trap Funk,” you have to imagine this would be pretty funky. I’m pretty sure C.N.O.T.E. played this for Migos for the first time and they said "this sounds like that trap funk” and that was that. I actually thought this was Zaytoven at first. Out of all the songs my grandmother might like off of this album, this would be the one. She would still hate it.
“What a Feeling”
It feels like it’s been days since I looked away from my computer screen. Doesn’t matter, “What a Feeling” is my jam. This beat is majestic, definitely makes you feel good, another example of Zaytoven’s excellence. Even 14 songs in, Migos energy keeps you going. It’s infectious. I don’t want this one to end, but bless the person who’s idea it was to let this beat ride a little on the way out, give that man an award.
Every time I listen to an album all the way through, I feel like I don’t give as much attention to the last couple of tracks as they deserve. I get bored and lose focus. "Recognition" is a little slow for me, not the type of Migos I turn to when I want to hear Migos. I guess it’s nice outro, but not something I’d go back to. This is one of the more introspective tracks on the album, always interesting to hear Migos go past the surface level.
So there you go. I entered Yung Rich Nation and lived to tell the tale. As a whole, I thought the album was... good. It's not groundbreaking, and I didn't hear anything I've never heard before, though we do at times hear Migos explore a more West Coast gangsta rap sound than I can remember (some of the album's high points). Other than that, it was pretty much what I was expecting. While it's not going to win over anyone who isn't fond of the group, it should deliver fans exactly what they were hoping for. It's a solid, quality listen with some forgettable moments and a few great tracks to which I'll be returning to often in the next couple months. It also gave the world "pipe it up" and "dab daddy," and for that, we thank you.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to actually stand up and look at something besides a computer screen. #FreeOffset
[By Brendan Varan. He's already looking forward to his next 1 Listen review. Follow him on Twitter.]