The Migos went solo, but don't call it a breakup. When the group first exploded from the ATL bandos to the mainstream, basics quickly pegged the guest-feature-prone Quavo as the inevitable Justin Timberlake. Or rather, Quavo-Yoncé. Then, as Offset followed the success of "Bad and Boujee" with a stellar 2017, he garnered his own share of solo supporters. Meanwhile, the basics struck once again, relegating Takeoff as the butt of group-split jokes.
The joke's on everyone who doubted: Instead of "splitting up," the Migos organized a solo rollout in tandem with each other, while often appearing on each other's projects. Takeoff entered the spotlight with a strong first step in "Last Memory," silencing the last of his doubters ahead of an album that largely eschewed guests in service of letting Take's long-underrated bars shine. Quavo used his project to hit 'em with more hits, sticking closely with Migos collaborators Murda Beatz and Buddah Bless, while also swinging for the fences with the likes of Madonna and Kid Cudi. This week, Offset used his independence to get introspective. His lead single was a non-radio-friendly meditation on his upbringing, all the way through recent tribulations like a deadly car crash. He opens the album with the title-track "Father of 4" that puts both his family and his shortcomings on display, despite having the best intentions front and center. And yes that extends to his wife, with the subject of their marital strife getting the full spotlight treatment on the album's jewel, "Don't Lose Me."
Still, on their own, the Migos aren't perfect. Without his bros to diversify the flows and flavor, Quavo can quite easily lapse into monotony in some stretches. Songs like "Rerun" and "Bubblegum" are the only to experiment with production beyond what we've come to know him for. Takeoff has bars but lacks in excitement at times, and when he tries something different, the result is an oddity like "Infatuation." It's early, but Offset's is probably the best of the three. Still, even with comparatively rich subject matter, it's missing something intangible that prevents it from being a compelling top-to-bottom listen on par with say, Culture.
Few artists hit it out of the park their first time at bat. Still, while the Migos enjoy the fruits of their independent labor (while no doubt continuing to cook up both Culture III and more solo efforts), we couldn't help but notice there's a great group album's worth of gems across all three projects. So we made a playlist (follow on Spotify here!) featuring the best of each, sequenced to play as a little compilation project unto its own. Enjoy, Culture 2.5, embedded below (and here for the Apple Music and Tidal crowds):