The Next Steps for Migos

The Next Steps for Migos

It’s not a far-fetched thing to wonder, as several groups in history have been successful for some time as a collaborative effort before branching off to do their own thing.

The Next Steps for Migos

It’s not a far-fetched thing to wonder, as several groups in history have been successful for some time as a collaborative effort before branching off to do their own thing.

Migos are at a very interesting place in their career. They are a top group in music right now -- if not the top in the world -- after securing Favorite Pop/Rock Group at the 2018 American Music Awards and BET Awards. The Atlanta trio continues to put pressure on the industry, putting out a lot of content and securing some big features while also branching out and elevating other artists’ music. Now, with 27-year-old Quavo having dropped his solo album QUAVO HUNCHO, and confirmation from Offset’s mom that Takeoff, 24, and Offset, 26, are working on their own projects, naturally fans’ curiosity about their time left as a group has peaked. It’s not a far-fetched thing to wonder, as several groups in history have been successful for some time as a collaborative effort before branching off to do their own thing.

Quavo’s album was exactly what I thought it would be. The pros were the beat selection, flute usage on said beats, Madonna’s standout feature on “CHAMPAGNE ROSE,” Takeoff with yet another sensational verse on “KEEP THAT S**T” and Quavo’s take on Afrobeats alongside Davido and Normani on “SWING.” “HUNCHO DREAMS” was especially enjoyable, given the Nicki Minaj references. “BIGGEST ALLEY OOP” was a very hard introduction to the album and unfortunately created some false hope for what was to come.

He had a bunch of catchy one-liners and hilarious ad libs, everything we would expect from Quavo. Overall, the songs were repetitive and didn’t show much evolution for Quavo as a lyricist. It felt a bit rushed. Where Culture II was super long but compensated with a dope track every so often, QUAVO HUNCHO was super long and mainly fell flat. The album has gotten mixed reviews and is a longshot for being considered close to the Top 20 of this year. I give the album a solid 5/10.

We’ve seen superstars emerge from disbanded popular groups, and seen other artists unable to sustain careers as solo acts. The way music works now -- with the market being saturated, albums coming and going, and fans growing tired of hearing the same people -- would this move be in the best interest of the trio?

There is no rule book for how groups are supposed to operate, and one would think that any of their individual successes would only help to bring more attention to the group. I personally think that their being family members also makes it a complex situation. When you grind with certain folk, and are fortunate enough to achieve what Migos has, it’s hard to leave those people behind. The blood relation, with Quavo being Takeoff’s uncle and Offset’s cousin, adds a whole other element to that. They all promote one another’s solo work and appear in their solo videos, so the support is there. They all clearly want the best for one another.

Quavo stepped away previously to do collab tape Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho back in December 2017 with Travis Scott. A few months earlier, Offset joined up with Metro Boomin and 21 Savage for surprise Halloween release Without Warning. Takeoff has been rumored for quite some time to be working on his own project with Lil Yachty. While these were their own ventures, they didn’t stray to far from one another, as Offset and Takeoff appeared on Huncho Jack, and Quavo appeared on Without Warning.

For a long time, Quavo was likened to the Beyoncé Knowles of the group, in reference to her being the clear standout of Destiny's Child. He landed some big features in 2015 and 2016, like “Oh My Dis Side” from Travis Scott’s Rodeo, and Post Malone’s smash hit “Congratulations,” just to name a few. More than the music, he was everywhere: being a clown on social media, hanging out with athletes, and buying excessive jewelry. He was also the first to crossover, working with Bad Bunny, Karol G, and Major Lazer among other big names in other genres.

Offset had a breakout year as a solo feature in 2017, with Gucci Mane's “Met Gala” and Metro Boomin’s “No Complaints,” which also featured Drake. He did a bunch of solo work with Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert prior to these larger songs, but they didn’t gain as much traction. 2017 was the year people began to really acknowledge Offset’s abilities as a rapper, and some people went as far as saying he was the best from the group. He too crossed over, rapping on Chris Jeday’s “Ahora Dice” remix with his wife Cardi B, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Anuel, and Arcangel.

Then there’s Takeoff. Takeoff held Migos down in their early days while Offset was in jail, and before Quavo fully discovered what he could do with autotune. Not for lack of talent, but rather lack of presence outside of Migos, did Takeoff fall into the shadows of his fellow group members as they continued to grow in fame.

The “Bad and Boujee” scandal of 2016 -- where Takeoff was ridiculed for being “left off” the song -- was one of the most unfounded social media trends, and showed how little people have really dug into Migos’ discography. Songs like “Fight Night,” “Commando,” and “Antidote” would be nothing without Take. Even though a lot of their early tracks, where he arguably carried the group, didn’t quite reach mainstream success, Takeoff’s contribution is not one to be disregarded.

Neither can his more recent work, like “T Shirt,” “Slippery” and Gucci Mane’s “I Get The Bag,” where his verses stole the show on a larger scale. Quavo and Offset have both even admitted in interviews that they felt Takeoff is the best rapper of the three. Fortunately, Calvin Harris let him flex what he could do lyrically during summer 2017 on his crossover album cut “Holida,” alongside Snoop Dogg and John Legend.

If the group were to break up, I foresee it being amicable, much like Destiny’s Child. Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams achieved a lot together, and felt it was sufficient for them to go and do their own things. There was no confirmed bad blood, and even after releasing their final group album Destiny Fulfilled in 2004, they still perform together and appear in each other’s videos or shows in some capacity to this very day.

Migos is family. There’s no reason to hate on one being bigger than the other, or to hinder their solo progress. They already have a place in history and have inspired many up and comers from their area. I do wonder what their individual longevity would be. Offset and Takeoff are both very versatile in their flows and wordplay, and have shown they can stand alongside elite lyricists of today, which can lend itself to continual good music. They complement Quavo’s melodies and autotune well, but I can see them putting together very solid solo albums.

I feel Quavo has the most to lose if anyone. He does have some solid rap verses, such as “Made Men” from January’s Culture II and Meek Mill's “Ball Player” from his album Wins & Losses back in summer ‘17. He seems married to the autotune sound, though, which people live in doses. It's so frequent now that it doesn’t have the same impact it did a decade ago. People typically know what they’re going to get from Quavo nowadays, evident in reactions to the album

Of the three singles he released a few months back, “W-O-R-K-I-N M-E” has been well-received, while “B-U-B-B-L-E G-U-M” and “L-A-M-B T-A-L-K” have just… existed. His album surely had a few bops, but even with Drake, KiD CuDi, Cardi B, Lil Baby, and Travis Scott, he wasn’t able to shock the world as a solo artist the way he set out to. Not to mention the outraged fans of the late Lil Peep, who have beef with Quavious as a result of his commentary on drug culture on track “BIG BRO". I think fans are at least thankful he had as many features as he did, because an album of just his voice would have been a struggle.

In this era where people don’t sit with most albums for a long time, Quavo could potentially be forgotten or resented when he goes solo, while Offset and Takeoff flourish. I personally don’t think they will break up, nor should they. If they do, it would be a peaceful split as a group, and it won’t feel too different because they will still likely always be a united front at award shows or on Instagram.

It is difficult navigating group dynamics and timing when people go solo. Pusha T prospered on his own after he and his brother No Malice decided to stop making music under the Clipse name. Queen Bey is one of the greatest artists of all time, while Kelly and Michelle haven’t had a recent hit. YMCMB is a special case, as they fell off due to legal troubles primarily, but Drake and Nicki Minaj have reached superstar status on their own.

You never really know what’s going to happen to a group that seems to be drifting in new directions. It will be interesting to see how every upcoming solo album from the each of the Migos is received. The music business is risky, but it’s risks like these that can take your career to the next level, or turn into huge mistakes. We’ll just have to wait and see.