One of the main gripes that veteran fixtures in the rap game have with the newest wave of hip-hop stars is a perceived lack of respect for the “culture.”
We’ve heard countless emcees birthed by the golden era share the sentiment of a disregard for a specific interpretation of what hip-hop entails, and while a slew of youngsters have ignored the demands for them to respect the “culture” altogether, Atlanta trio Migos seem to have a deeply rooted respect for their hip-hop forefathers.
In a recent interview with FADER, Quavo, Offset and Takeoff used a portion of their time to explain their genuine love and care for hip-hop culture and make it known they’re here for respect, not just cash.
It turns out the title to their upcoming album C U L T U R E has a deeper meaning than many might have originally assumed, as the three explained the intentions behind their upcoming second studio album.
"The new album title is about the culture of hip-hop music. It’s time to let the culture be known. It’s time to claim it. And it’s time to claim that we are the Migos, and for people to understand that this is what we did. We did a lot for music. Migos is the culture. Seriously. There are artists that are way bigger than us that get recognition off our flow." - Offset
There’s definitely no doubting the impact Migos have made on hip-hop culture over the last several years. Whether it's the triplet flows and repetitive hooks that Quavo mentions—which exploded in popularity in the wake of the group's breakout single "Versace"—or the commercial and charting impact that their smash hit "Bad and Boujee" has achieved in the last few months, the three are refreshingly aware of their influence on today’s representation of hip-hop and what that might mean to the veteran class.
Instead of fanning the flames of criticism from established emcees like many of their contemporaries, Migos seem to have a genuine concern for how they’re perceived by those that paved the way for them, and they intend to leave no doubts about that.
"We’re trying to show people that the young generation can do it. We can set trends and come in with our own lane, and then join in with the OGs to get that respect. We got some type of pride situation. Like, these older guys been out already, so we gotta prove something to them. We got so much hunger. Everybody’s real hungry to prove that we can really spit, to these older guys." - Quavo
As much as I believe some of these newer artists get unfairly picked on for just doing them, I have to admit that it’s refreshing to see a group like Migos that has a clear grip on the viral rap culture, yet is still able to respect those that came before them and desire to gain their respect.
Personally, what Migos is detailing is exactly what hip-hop culture is truly about: infusing new styles while respecting and paying homage to those that came before you. It’s the only way the genre and culture can grow and continue to thrive, and it introduces a happy medium to the “hip-hop is dead” mentality that often seems to plague contributors from the previous generation.
Migos seem to have a perfectly-sized chip on their shoulders that should keep them rooted in tradition without sacrificing innovation and creativity, and so far it’s working wonders for them.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: G L Askew II [for The Fader]