2017 has been another busy year for Atlanta rap group Migos. Offset, Quavo, and TakeOff just released the hit album Culture this past January and already have its follow-up, Culture 2, set for release this month. Having already released a dozen mixtapes in the past six years alone, the group of twenty-somethings continue to cement themselves as a driving force in modern day hip hop. From their modest beginnings in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia to the packed venues they find themselves in today, Migos’ tireless work ethic has garnered them a legion of fans eager for each new release.
Migos came together organically, with Offset, Quavo, and TakeOff being raised in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville, Georgia. Growing up, the three were often taken care of by Quavo’s mother, TakeOff’s grandmother, with all three of the boys’ father figures absent during their formative years. Although Quavo and his nephew TakeOff had begun writing raps as early as the eighth grade, it wasn’t until high school that Offset joined the Migos precursor Polo Club. At first unsure of himself, Offset followed the lead of his more experienced cousin:
“I didn’t know how to rap…Quavo wrote my first rap, and we went from there.”
With Quavo falling into the role as the group’s leader, Migos began to write together, developing both individually and as a group.
During their high school years, the members of Migos fell into the same life of illegal activity as many of their less fortunate peers. Although reluctant to speak of their activities in interviews, several of their early songs detail a life of cooking and selling crack cocaine. While this served an adequate source of income for the young men, their desire to make a living through music never waned:
“We were tired of being in the streets… We had to turn the street money into legit money.”
The group frequented Atlanta hot spots, pushing their tracks on local DJ’s and slowly gaining traction as a hidden gem in the local hip hop scene. With their seemingly endless supply of new material, Migos were certain that they were on the cusp of something big.
Migos’ search for legitimacy would find its footing in 2013 when their song “Bando” became a hit throughout Atlanta clubs. Named after an abandoned house often used for drug deals, the song’s trap beat and laid back vocal delivery caught the attention of Atlanta trap legend and eventual collaborator and Zaytoven. Migos next step up came with the Zaytoven-produced “Versace.’’ With help from a remix and feature by Drake, Versace was a certified international hit, landing Migos on best-of lists by XXL, Pitchfork, and Complex, just to name a few.
Hit singles like Bando and Versace were just the beginning for Migos. The group’s 2013 Y.R.N. was named as one of the top three mixtapes of that year by Rolling Stone, and with good reason. The three young men have soaked up the rich history of Southern hip hop and put their own twist on it, with their flamboyant image reminiscent of Southern legends OutKast and their trap-heavy instrumentals reminding one of prolific rapper/producer Gucci Mane. Having released twelve mixtapes since 2011, along with the commercial releases Yung Rich Nation and Culture, Migos has proven to critics and fans alike that they have no shortage of unique material.
With Culture 2 set to be released this month, Migos are showing no signs of slowing down. Offset, Quavo, and TakeOff have left an already-lasting impression on the rap landscape, adding to the South’s reputation of creating innovative hip hop. The group’s sights are set high, just as they were in the beginning. Considering how far the group have come in the past year alone with hits like “Bad and Boujee,” one starts to wonder if there is a limit to how far Migos can go. Their fearless work ethic is clearly a huge part of the group’s success, with Migos reminding listeners in the song “Big on Big” that you can go from a bando to a mansion.
- “Bad and Boujee”: Inside Atlanta Trio Migos’ Wild World | Rolling Stone
- Bando Brothers: Migos Make Their Move | Spin
- Migos Bando | Genius Lyrics
- Migos Next Album Culture 2 to be Released in October | Consequence of Sound
- Migos Rise from the Bando to the Mainstream | XXL
Author Bio: Justin Bruce
Justin Bruce is a graduate from the University of Saskatchewan where he studied Medieval and Modern English. When he’s not writing or playing music, he can be found behind the stack of comic books he’s trying to keep up with.