Quavo on Working With Justin Bieber, Huncho Day, and Migos' Next Album

Quavo tells Complex Canada about his Grammy-nominated hit with the Biebs, his Canadian ties, and what to expect from 'Culture III.'

As we approach the final moments of 2020, we look back at a year that brought with it a global pandemic, civil unrest, and a loss of the communal interaction we all seem to have taken for granted. We look to 2021 with hope and optimism that it will usher in restoration and balance, so we can get back to “normal." Or at least “fifty per cent more normal,” as Quavo puts it. 

Despite the pandemic, it’s been a healthy year of bonding and personal growth for the Migos. But like many of us, their plans were put on hold. Their new album, Culture III, was set to release this year but without the ability to tour and interact with fans, the group decided to push for the new year. On the bright side, that gives us all one more thing to look forward to in the new year. 

Although it's been a fairly slow year for the Migos, Quavo’s been riding a wave in 2020 with none other than Justin Bieber, off their smash hit “Intentions." It seemed impossible to escape the No. 1 Billboard hit this year. I caught up with the trap star—one-third of the legendary Migos—to talk about the Grammy-nominated hit, his strong Canadian ties, and Huncho Day. Watch the interview above, or read it below.

So this year, for everybody, has been an insane year. It's coming to an end. We're in December. How do you feel, man? 2021 is on the way. 
I feel good. I hope that everything could at least push for like 50 per cent more normal, you know, and try to get it like, close as normal as possible. But still with the guidelines. Man, it's been a quiet year, 2020, for Migos and myself but still, I got nominated for a Grammy and still had one of the longest songs on Top 10 Billboard. But at the end of the day, it's still been like a quiet, slow, silent year for us. And so we've just been coolin' and bunkered-in and bonding. And really on the outside looking in, because if we drop an album in 2020 and don't tour, it don't really make sense. You know what I'm saying? So that's why we held it down. Cause Culture III would have been out by now.  

Some people have gone into their homes, not been productive. They've gone into a dark place. Other people have been productive. You went out and you got your GED, right?  
I was having a lot of things that I didn't get to do. Because my life was just moving so fast as an artist. Yes, I went and got my GED. I started working out, you know what I'm saying, and just doing a lot of just sports stuff, the stuff I really used to love to do. 

I heard when you were in high school, you were a really talented quarterback. 
Yeah, I play a few sports. I play football, basketball, and baseball. And I was pretty good in all three of those, but I really got like some good, little notoriety, when I started playing football. 

Have you ever thought about what your life would have been like if you pursued football? 
Oh no, because everything happens for a reason. But I want to pursue football. Yeah, that's still one of my dreams. I want to still, try my best to, you know, be a pro athlete. 

That's dope, man. How would you manage the music and being a pro athlete? 
Music come first. I just want to say I did it. Suited up, probably like one game. I don't know. I just want to register myself as a pro athlete. 

"I was like, What the fuck, I ain't on this album? Man let me call JB real quick. And I called him and I was like, 'Yo, you dropping a project. What's up, your boy ain't on it. What's happening? What we doing?'" - Quavo on how he wound up on Justin Bieber's "Intentions"

Let's talk about the Migos. You guys are responsible for so much in pop culture. You guys have made such a big impact as a group, as a trio, from the Migos flow to the dab to so many things that have come out of the three of you. What would you say is your proudest accomplishment in terms of an impact that the Migos have made?
That's a good question. I would say the Grammy nomination was a good one because I feel like the trap world was finally being appreciated. So that's an accomplishment. I don't know, man. I feel like everything that happens, I feel like it's supposed to happen and we still got milestones to break and doors to kick down. I mean, we kicked down the doors for a lot of young cats to come in with a triplet flow. I don't really too much mark 'em up, because I feel like we still got so much to do. 

You mentioned the Grammy nomination—this is your third nomination for a Grammy. You said openly before, you felt like you deserved it before. You haven't gotten it. You know all of Canada is looking at The Weeknd like, what happened to The Weeknd's nomination, you know what I'm saying? Like you said, it's an honour to get nominated. But, you know, artists like Drake are also coming out and talking about why these things don't matter as much anymore. Why do people put so much importance on these nominations and these awards? How do you feel about that? 
I mean, we put so much on it because we grew up watching it. It became like a household tradition for us. You know, I'm saying to the entertainment world. It kind of gave you a goal to set yourself, you know what I'm saying? To me, we look at the Grammys as like the NBA championship or the Super Bowl. But now it seems like they not even letting the guys who really make the playoffs go to the playoffs. It's kind of like college, I say. Sometimes you may have the No. 1 ranking team, that's No. 25 and fully undefeated. Why they not ranked number one? So sometimes they could be misled by what's leading the culture, what's leading the way, what's pushing the envelope, what's setting the trend on the TV screen at home and in the house. I feel like they missing a lot of that. And if that don't straighten up, I don't think the artists will start appreciating the Grammys. If they don't straighten that up to what's going on in the world, what's actually trending, what's going on at home, what's going on, on Twitter, on social media.... They not paying attention. I don't think we'll end up having this much respect for the Grammys. 

Do you think that that validation matters? Like, what would you say to The Weeknd, for instance? 
I mean, I say, make another one where they can't resist it. But I know he want that Grammy, you know what I'm saying? I would want that nomination. That's what we work for. So it's like I said, it's like a championship that you're not being called for. It really feels like a slap to the face. And I know he's an incredible, incredible talent. He killed 2020. I don't know why it's not on the board at all either. I mean, I don't know. 

Yeah, he had and he had an incredible year, man. 
What I would say is keep his head up. He already a big Grammy, homie, you know? He already did his thang. He do his thang. He knows how to do it. And he'll sweep it soon. 

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Let's talk about your collab with Justin Bieber. Like you said, you got the nomination for it. It's a big tune, it's on rotation, it's been on rotation for a while. How did that song come to be? Tell me the origins of it. 
I seen Justin put, like, the cover of his album out. Like, the day he revealed his album cover. And it said Changes. I seen it. And I was like, What the fuck, I ain't on this album? Man let me call JB real quick. And I called him and I was like, "Yo, you dropping a project. What's up, your boy ain't on it. What's happening? What we doing?" And he was like, "Oh, hell no. I got one for you ASAP ready. Let's go, pull it up, pull up." And that's what happened. I was probably the last feature on the album. And I just called him up from seeing the cover. 

What's your relationship like with the Biebs? 
Me and Biebs got a good relationship, man. That's my boy. Anytime he need me, I'm there for him and vice versa. And it kind of been like that for like six years now. We got a good relationship, man. We grown, we growing, and we grown. We got ladies now, you know, and it's like we becoming grown, real bosses. We already been young bosses. Now we, you know, OG bosses. 

You guys also started a fund, right? You started a fund based on the song. And even in the video, it's a lot of giving back. Talk to me about that that component of your life and why it's important to you.
Most definitely. Giving back is important. I got to give back to the community because that's where I came from. I came from nothing. I came from scrapin' four quarters together to make a dollar. And I know what it's like to come from nothing, I know what it's like to have nothing. So anytime I get a chance, I always give back, whether you see it on Instagram or you don't. And I just love it. 

"Intentions" was a record that we went to this—I think it was like a homeless shelter where it was a whole bunch of kids and they had like different classes. And we took, like, each instructor from the class and did some special for 'em. One of them, we got the girl a car. The other one, she was like a poet and a musician. So we went in the studio to actually record her poem and did something with her in the studio. And then I think it was one more. What was the last one? It was three. I can't remember. 

And then also I do Huncho Day every year. Huncho Day is an event I do on my birthday. I mean, this year got cancelled due to COVID. But I do it every year for my birthday. I do it at my old high school and bring all the communities. I get shuttles to bring all the kids down to the school. We do a full-blown Easter egg hunt. They get goodie bags, goodies, all type of school supplies. I invite all my athletic friends, all my pros. They come out and show the kids how, you know what I'm saying, show the kids they special talent. Like, say a running back come, you do running back drillsm you do wide receiving drills, you do quarterback drills. And then after that, after we spent time with the kids, we let them see the seven-on-seven game, flag football game, and just enjoy it and take pictures and give 'em inspiration, let 'em know a kid named Quavo came from this town and he can bring a whole bunch of superstars here. And hopefully you get inspired from that. 

"I will say me and Biebs play on the same team a lot cause me and him left-handed. I like his skills at guard. But me and Drake, we go at it a lot because he got his crew and it's against my crew. We're kind of like even right now—they won the last couple of games on tour."

I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with Drake. You have a good relationship with a lot of Canadians, man. Bieber, Drake, you've collaborated with Nav. I feel like you're an honourary Canadian, you know what I'm saying? 
I love Canada, man. 

Let's let's talk about your relationship with Drake, man. I know you guys have collaborated a lot together. What is your relationship like with him? 
Just a good dude, man. He knows where my head is at. I know where his head at with creating and trying to be great. They all know I got a certain grind and work-hard mentality and I'm a good person. He a good person too and I just feel like, you put both of them guys or a guy like me or a guy like Justin, a guy like Drake in the same room, we automatically feed off each other and know what we need to do to make this pot the biggest pot in the world. [Laughs.]

I know you play ball a lot. I'm sure you've played ball with both of them. Who would you say gives you a run for your money?  
I will say me and Biebs play on the same team a lot cause me and him left-handed. I like his skills at guard. But me and Drake, we go at it a lot because he got his crew and it's against my crew. We're kind of like even right now—they won the last couple of games on tour. And I won the last couple of games when they was in New York for Fashion Week. So we kind of like head up. I ain't went to the house and played yet. 

So that's gonna happen, though? What's the prediction? 
As soon as they open it back up we can go play in Canada. 

Yeah, we're still in lockdown right now, man. 
Oh yeah, Canadians, they not lettin' you in or out over there. It's over with! 

We're in a serious lockdown right now. Where are you right now? You're in L.A.? 
I'm in Atlanta. 

You're in Atlanta? I'm trying to get anywhere where the weather's nice right now. It's starting to get cold, you know? But yeah, we're on lockdown right now. 
I like the cold. I like to put them bubble coats on. 

Speaking of fashion, man, I heard back in the day, you had—was it was it polo boys? 
It was Polo Club. We used to pull up to high school with our Polos, you feel me? And it wasn’t Polo Assassin. They were straight left, Ralph Lauren. Sometimes we had the Purple Label, the big horses. And we were just the Polo Club. They were just knowin’ us as just having all flavored Polo shit.  

Do you still have Polo in your collection? You still have some of those pieces? 
Hell no, this the only polo I've got right now. This Cactus Flea right here. This is Cactus Flea Market. This some drip right here.    

You mentioned growing up and maturing. It's really cool because you've gotten to do that with your family and your crew—you guys came up together. You guys are actually like legitimately family and you get to share the success together. What is that like, man? Not a lot of people get to share that success with family. 

Man, it's a blessing. It's a blessing, it's super fun. It's funny as hell. We got this doc that we're probably gonna release soon. And it's going to be—it's going to let y'all know, like, how we really rock. I mean, if you go back to the vlogs, like back in 2013, 2014, we pretty much the same, bro. It's just like you said, we got just different lives and different houses, more cars, more money, beautiful ladies. I just want to show you our documentary that's going to be crazy. 

"Don't look out for nothing but Culture III. Culture III comin' 2021."

I'm hype to see that. Do you know when it comes out? 
Trying to get me! [Laughs.] Nah, nah, nah, but it's going to come out 2021, though. 

Dope, man! Speaking of that, I feel like when you grow up and you grow up in the public together, a lot of bands break up, a lot of groups part ways. You guys have managed to stay together. What would you say is the secret to that? How have you guys made it through? 
Communication. Communicating with each other. Keeping it real with each other. We don't hide shit. Even when other people be trying to like win everybody away from the group—it happens—we just stay together. We actually laugh about it when people would be like, "Oh Quavo, you the real star." "Oh Offset, you the real star, I want to get you on this," "But Takeoff, you the best." We actually have these conversations and laugh at the person who try to do that. Like there was this video and they was asking me who carried the most money. 

Money! Yeah I saw that. 
Like, we all got the same amount of money. We together forever. You can always count on us. If somebody up a hundred million, I got a hundred million. 

I want to talk about what you have coming up. What can people look out for in 2021? 
Don't look out for nothing but Culture III. Culture III comin' 2021. It was supposed to come in 2020, apologies to the fans; due to this pandemic and protocol, we felt like it wasn't the right time to put it out. Because we like to put music out into the world and see the fans reactions, actually touch the fans and play the music in the same building as the fans. And as far as, like, listening parties, we want to do it different. Because the fans been really like going hard and really choosing singles. And really, you know what I'm saying, doing memes of what—how the albums and stuff look right now. So we want to show appreciation to the fans in 2021. We want to put them most definitely as part of this whole process and show them what we've been doing along with the documentary that we showin'. Like, put them behind the scenes and inside our life and show 'em how the Migos been rockin' this whole 2020. 

I wanted to also talk to you about Murda Beatz. He's such a big producer now—a lot of people want his beats, he's sought0after. And he attributes Migos for his success. What was that like when you first called—
Another Canadian sensation. 

Yeah man, the Canadians love you man.
Fo sho! Fo sho. Oh yeahm Murda been with us since day one. He came to my house in 2013. We used to have this show in Rochester, in New York. And so we would have that shit probably like twice every three months. And he would just drop beats off. So he came with us and stayed with us in Atlanta. And we made "Emmitt Smith." We made "Copy Me." After that it was over with. 

What is it what is your relationship with him like now? Is he forever going to be a collaborator for you? Can we expect to hear his production on the new stuff too? 
Oh hell yeah. Murda's always on every album. He's gon' always be on my album, Migos' album. He got to have one, two or three or four of ;em on there. So Murda gonna be on the album. 

His production is fire, man! Like really, really dope production. 
He most definitely fire. He always trying to find some new sounds. Always trying to go big and go crazy and crossover. So having somebody like that who always trying to elevate they talent and they sound, is good to have on the album. And he tell me the honest truth because we've been together so long. So he tell me what these people want and don't want. That's a producer.

I wanted to ask you about another producer, WondaGurl. I know you worked with her recently, too. What was that like? 
I think she real good. I think she dope. She very low-key and she's very hard to find. I think WondaGurl is very, very talented. Very quiet, very special person. All she do is come in, open that laptop, hit spacebar, and let the shit play and the shit gone. I love what she do. I love her art. I got to get in with her more and build a stronger relationship. I feel like that's the person that we need to get with and do some more shit with. 

Dope, man. Bro, thank you so much for your time and congrats on the Grammy nomination. I'm looking forward to everything you're dropping in 2021. 

OK cool, appreciate y'all, man. Thank y'all.  

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