Migos – Culture II Album Review

By: Brandon Ben

Culture II is the third album by rap trio Migos. This album is huge, with 24 tracks, and a huge runtime. Right off the bat, the list of collaborators is impressive including: Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Drake, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, Ty Dolla Sign, Post Malone, Murda Beatz, Metro Boomin, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. All of these giants are heavy hitters in the game. But, a 24-song album, are they crazy? We are in a single generation after all. To me, no, they’re not crazy. There is so much to explore on this record. And for those of you who are tired of this overdone trap style of rap music, remember, Migos really helped popularize it.

They seem to drift track to track with ease, and to me, this album sounds pretty diverse. Its quite refreshing to see something well produced in this style, and not just random tracks on soundcloud. Some of my favorite tracks include BBO (Bad Bitches Only) featuring 21 Savage, Walk It Talk It featuring Drake, and MotorSport featuring Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. Now notice I’m pointing out tracks featuring other artists, because, I don’t think I would only like to listen to Migos again and again for hours. That’s not to say the production isn’t on point. I pointed out that Kanye West and Pharrell are involved on this project, but as producers. Many people forget how talented Kanye is as a producer.

Obviously this album is way too long to go in-depth, so I’m just going to talk about MotorSport. The beat is sick, Migos is great, but Nicki and Cardi Steal the show. Their voices are really hardcore, and it really highlights how well female rappers are doing now, in a non-gimmicky sort of way. I really love their verses, and Migos seems to compliment them well.  So, there’s no doubt that Migos represents the “culture” whatever that may be. Maybe I wouldn’t be speaking so highly of this release if these features were not here, but, they are pretty great. So maybe Culture III will have 44 tracks? Why not check out at least the singles!

Snoop Dogg’s Bible of Love

By Andrew Ho


Superstar Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Dogg has put out 2 released within the new year. His first release, 220 was a surprise EP which coincides with his original and most popular persona, Snoop Dogg, with tracks comprised of funky worms and ringing flexatone bringing out that “g-funk” feel definitive of an early 1990’s West Coast sound. Although the release was unexpected, it was definitely not as unexpected as his most recent release, Book of Love, a complete 180 turn from what he has offered the music industry so far. Instead, Broadus has made the choice to produce a Gospel album featuring many superstars of the gospel world like Marvin Sapp, Kim Burrell, and The Clark Sisters. Perhaps signalling a change in his way of life, Bible of Love is undoubtedly Broadus’ lengthiest work yet; it is a full 134 minutes long, about the length of a full feature Hollywood film release.


For the average Snoop Dogg fan, like myself, the album was incredibly hard to swallow. Even musically speaking it is reminiscent of a long sermon, or Sunday morning televangelist programming. The tracks are long winded, and he raps, most literally, about Jesus and his miracles, but it gets astonishingly long winded. Unlike his other works, which had always been about his gangster lifestyle, his insatiable appetite for the best buds, or the wildest parties on the block, this is a collected Snoop Dogg, one which touts the word of god. Instead of referring to the never ending parties, many of which his reputation has developed out of, Snoop Dogg now sings about “Power, glory, faith in Jesus”. His success as a gangsta rapper has surely paved way for him to toy with different alter egos as he did with DJ Snoopadelic and Snoop Lion, but these characters always had some sort of relevance to his original character. For him to produce a Gospel album seems not only out of character for him, but for his collaborators too as Snoop Dogg seems to be very non-pious. Perhaps I am not in a position to judge as entertainers are misfortune enough of being expected to maintain a consistent image, but I cannot help but feel that Snoop Dogg’s album is a bit… out of the loop.


Lil Pump – A Review

By Andrew Ho

Internet meme and sensation Lil’ Pump has just released his first full-length studio album in late October of 2017. But as it is only 36 minutes in length, it just qualifies as a full-length album. The self titled work features many of his prior SoundCloud releases along with other new recordings. This alone is amazing for a teenager, so props to him! He has also managed to pull together a feature list of respectable artists beyond his childhood friend and frequent collaborator Smokepurpp: an almost irrelevant 2Chainz, an asthmatic sounding Rick Ross, and even a new and improved Gucci Mane all appear on his debut release. Yet, even with the support from big-name artists and skilled producers, it is still undeniable that Lil’ Pump still has a long way to go before he will garner the respect from the industry he ultimately deserves.

If you’re into memes with excessive audio distortion or 15 consecutive hype up tracks suitable for a pre-drinking event with lyrics that are chantable and memorizable even for the most intoxicated of days, then Lil’ Pump really has something going for you. He is loud even when you have the volume turned down (which is an astonishing feat on its own), shameless, and undeniably full of energy and bravado. Perhaps this, in part, has to do with his age, but unfortunately, he is still quick to dismiss the progress his fellow SoundCloud lineup has recently done for hip-hop. Whereas artists like Playboy Carti, Lil Peep (god bless his soul), and even convicted felon XXXTentacion have repeatedly pushed the limits of where hip-hop lies, Lil’ Pump over glorifies the now. He is proficient at not only conglomerating but also over-exaggerating all of the catchiest traits of the status quo. Ultimately, Lil’ Pump is no Kanye and couldn’t care less about art. Instead, he is eager to sing about his ludicrously expensive watches ($100K on his wrist), his oversized chain, his lack of respect for any company (WestJet in particular), his lean, his youth, and his trigger happy antics. He’s proud that he’d rather spend on Balmains than his partners, but again, what more could one expect from a teenager?

It is unfortunate that his immaturity as a lyricist seeps through into his performance; he finds himself having difficulty saying anything of substance and resorts to chanting the chorus to fill up what would otherwise be silence. Take the track Crazy, one that lasts 2 minutes and 5 seconds, or a whole 125 seconds. Out of that, he is chanting “Jump in this bitch and go crazy” for a whole 53 seconds. That’s 42% of the track where he is just chanting his chorus! On the following track, Back, Pump does much of the same where 50% of the time he is chanting “Throw it back, yeah”. Even when given a verse, he is outdone by his feature Lil’ Yatchy as Pump ends up struggling and doubling up his rhymes instead:


In the kitchen whippin’ up babies, ooh

In the kitchen whippin’ up babies, yeah

And I got a bitch named Hailey, huh

And I got a bitch named Hailey (brr)


Lil’ Pump defines what it means to be a SoundCloud rapper by bringing together all of the hottest hip hop trends: Lil Uzi Vert’s and Yatchy’s hair, cartoon-y album covers, the most potent narcotics, and even down to their hooks. Where he lacks in lyricism, he makes up for with his ad libs. His oohs, okays, ayys, brrs, and whats are undeniably catchy and at times, outright comical. He is a genius when it comes to these tricks. Take, for example, a line out of D Rose, a track originally off his SoundCloud account and later worked into Lil’ Pump. He raps:


I just fucked your bitch (what?)

I just broke my wrist (okay)

I just fucked your bitch (ooh)

I just fucked your bitch (okay)


His creative wisdom shows itself in his ability to develop a plot mid-verse (a comedic one at that) by toying with call-and-response all by himself. Like this, he is able to keep his audience entertained even with his lacking lyricism, although it does ultimately call for excellent collaboration between him, producer, and sound engineer.

Perhaps it is these traits which make artists like Lil’ Pump attractive to major game-changers like Gucci Mane who is apparently eager to part with $8 Million for him. As Pitchfork mentions, his punk-esque attitude, his incredible work ethics, and his marketing talents make him shine brightly amongst a sea of mediocre rappers. If this is truly the case, Gucci would have to come up with a roadmap to success to bring out the Iggy Pop in him or suffer the fate of being labelled a sell out to the hip-hop community for drooling over a cash grab. Likewise, this would be detrimental to Gucci’s own comeback to the game as the last thing he would want is to be remembered for glorifying the now and overlooking other artists with more potential and that live off more than just a meme.