You Can Find Me on the Internet Talking to Chicks: Migos “Rich Ni**a Timeline”

The Curious Case of the Chain-Less 3 Migos
By    November 20, 2014

cover

Deen has bodies on his timeline

I gotta admit, this Migos review was finna be an overwhelmingly positive treatise on the excellence of the three wise men – until I woke up one weekend morning to news of Quavo getting his chain snatched and Offset/Takeoff catching knots to the face while they were in DC. I mean, pretty much every rapper in history has dealt with some… erm… trouble in DC at some point in their career and apparently, Migos are no exception, so I really shouldn’t hold this new development against them but I do what I does and that’s just finna be that.

You’re probably wondering what any of that shit has to do with an unbiased evaluation of their latest tape, Rich Nigga Timeline. Well, not a damn thing but I wasn’t gonna write this shit without a reference or two to that incident. I’m nothing if not a completist. As a matter of fact, I’ve listened to nothing but Migos tapes for about a week because I care THAT much. My speech is peppered with Quavo adlibs. My mother is tired of me calling her ‘MUMMA’! The strippers at my gym are probably wondering why I won’t stop blurting out lyrics from “Freak No More”. Its been quite the gold Versace pendant to bear.

But enough about me and more about the inherent difficulty of composing music criticism about music that might not necessarily lend itself to criticism, given the simultaneously grimey and unapologetically fun nature of the music in question. How exactly does one go about deciding if the latest Migos tape is good or not? There’s no question that Rich Nigga Timeline is certainly worth listening to if you’re interested in fun rap music, but is it fair to reduce an evaluation of the project to “how fun is it?” Well, I don’t know the answer to that query but I’ll keep writing until I hit my imaginary word limit and we’ll see where that takes us.

I could be wrong but I think I’m hearing an effort from all three Migaes to do more interesting things with their delivery/flows. The triple time verses are still liberally scattered all over Rich Nigga Timeline, but I believe that there’s less reliance on that technique and there are more instances of smoother melodies. But if I’m being completely honest, there’s no major progression or any sort of quantum leap on this shit. Niggas know what they’re good at and they’re sticking to it and trying new shit in small doses.

That’s not to say there aren’t any differences between Rich Nigga Timeline and their other tapes. The production on RNT follows in the same vein as everything else they’ve done, but it also strikes this listener as less visceral. All I know is that I didn’t have to listen to Young Rich Niggas or No Label 2 more than once before I identified the hits on those projects. It took me way longer to sniff about the bangers on RNT, despite helpful song titles like ‘Move’, ‘Pop That’, ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Came To Party’, a stretch of songs that’s probably the best on this 18 track behemoth. I could be getting old and losing my taste for this kinda shit, but I rather pass the blame to Migos themselves, given that they chose to start the project with two long and low energy songs that feature what I suspect are efforts to showcase improved rapping – the kind of pointless exercise that gets rappers from other regions labeled ‘boring’.

Thankfully, things pick up around ‘Can’t Believe It’ and they never really let you go until the last 2 or 3 tracks of the tape. I figured that since these guys are basically extended members of the Gucci Mane family tree, their projects would essentially be like a lot of his mixtapes: 18 to 22 tracks with 3 or 4 fantastic songs or even potential hits, padded out with a bunch of bullshit. At this point in the Migarinho’s careers, it’s safe to say that they’re shooting a better percentage than the imprisoned Trap Gawd. Ultimately, I’d consider the lack of immediately obvious standouts on this project a positive – repeat listens seem to suggest that they’ve managed to improve the overall quality of their work product by trying more new shit, attempting to rap better and even more noticeably, upping the already substantial Quavo quotient.

Quavo has always been the Migan that captured everyone’s attention from day one with his humor, hooks and hilariously extravagant adlibbing, but it seems as if the group decided to just hand him the keys for good on RNT. By my count, Quavo is responsible for 15 of the 18 hooks on this project. That’s fucking insane. In Catalonia, they’d call that Quavodependencia and give him the number 10 shirt. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention before, but I don’t recall him being so present on their last two tapes.

Again, he’s always been the dominant one, but RNT is basically a coming about party of sorts for him. He basically went from Ice Cube in N.W.A. to Q-Tip in Tribe. At this rate, he’ll end up like Large Pro in Main Source. He’s mooing (yes, like a cow), disowning some (but not all) dirty bitches and expressing what passes for emotional openness by describing you disloyal and greedy heifers as “wishy washy.” Quavo’s overall performance on this shit is truly a tour de force of Anthony Davis-esque proportions. It’s really only a matter of time before he starts dropping solo projects and competing with Young Thug for the weirdest and most prolific Atlanta native in the rap game.Takeoff and Offset are definitely in the building – after all, the former’s baritone verses are hard to ignore and the latter can barely resist getting really grimey and triple timey with the bars, but Quavo Ruffin is really outchea.

So I guess I really fuck with Real Nigga Timeline. Believe me when I tell you that I didn’t think I’d land on that conclusion but such is the power of Offrach, Takehach, and Quavonego. Or really, to keep it all the way G, just Quavonego. And guess what? I’m quite content with this current state of affairs. Ain’t a thang wrong with a fun overdose in your rap consumption habits. Hail Quavo!

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!