They’re bad & boujee, they’ve got Medusa heads on their clothing like they’re illuminati, they took dabbing global, and based on the impact they’ve had on the landscape of modern rap, they’re C U L T U R E. Yes, we’re talking about Migos, the Atlanta-based rap trio of Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff. Whatever metric you measure it by, Migos have been changing the game since the early 2010s. You can hear their influence throughout mainstream hip-hop, but they’re also cited as important by fringe rap experimentalists like Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, and when you have fans at both ends of the spectrum, you know something special is happening.
In October, Migos are headed to Australia and New Zealand for the first time. They’ll be performing in Auckland on the 10th of October at Spark Arena with support from special guest 6LACK thanks to Frontier Touring and Illusive Presents. In celebration of this special evening, we took a dive into Migos past. It was the rap song of the year, but there is a lot more to these guys than just ‘Bad & Boujee.’
Migos is a family affair: Quavo is Takeoff’s uncle, and Offset is Quavo’s cousin. After Takeoff and Offset’s fathers abandoned them, and Quavo’s father died when he was four, the three rappers were raised by Quavo’s mother – a hairstylist – in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Although he showed promise in sports, Quavo started rapping as Crunk Boy in the 8th grade. The following year, the trio began recording together as Polo Club, in homage to Polo Ralph Lauren. After the brand went out of fashion, they renamed themselves Migos, a slang term for Atlanta’s position as the central drug trade hub in America.
When they started rapping, they were living in a Bando: Bando is a slang term for an abandoned house that’s used as a trap house for selling drugs. In 2010, Migos were living together in one with an empty fish tank, and an old television going 24/7. They claim to have never had real jobs, and in their spare time, started recording vivid trap songs riddled with references to television shows and video games like Malcolm In The Middle, Hannah Montana, Mortal Kombat and Fight Night. There, they honed the sound of their early mixtapes Juug Season and No Label.
Their manager Coach K is the G.O.A.T: Before he was involved in the music industry, Kevin “Coach K” Lee spent three years teaching special education classes at a high school in Atlanta. He started working with Migos after spent stints managing Trap pioneers Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane, along the way learning the ropes of the music industry to a very high-level. Migos were introduced to Coach K by Zaytoven, who heard something special in their No Label mixtape. Coach K co-runs Quality Control Music with Pierre “Pee” Thomas. As well as Migos, Quality Control Music works with Lil Yachty.
Migos do amazing interviews: Since they came into the game, Migos have consistently knocked it out the ballpark on the media front. They’ve freestyled a children’s book over the ‘Bad & Boujee,’ beat, toured Mike Tyson’s mansion with the man himself, claimed to not smoke weed on Highly Questionable, been grilled by Narduwar, played paintball in a Fader feature, rode down an Amsterdam canal in a boat, gone ham in waffle houses, and asked a Viceland reporter if he was wearing a wire. Migos have also had some very memorable interviews with New York’s Power 105.1’s Breakfast Club and Hot 97. Their shows can get pretty crazy as well, in 2014 Offset jumped off the stage and superman punched an audience member for unknown reasons.
They met Drake in 2013 at Hot 107.9’s birthday bash in Atlanta, not long after, he remixed ‘Versace’: Originally written as a homage to the way Tupac and Biggie wore the classic fashion label in the 90s, ‘Versace’ is one of the true classics in the Migos songbook. A big part of the appeal was the way they revitalised the triplet syllable timing originally popularised by the likes of Three 6 Mafia. ‘Versace’ caught the ear of Drake, who when they met earlier in the year, expressed enthusiasm for their work. Drake recorded his own remix of ‘Versace.’ Not long after, Justin Bieber posted a video of himself rapping along to it online. With these co-signs, ‘Versace’ went mainstream, eventually placing on numerous best rap song of 2013 lists across the internet. While Offset sadly spent nine months in jail that year, he quickly found himself signing autographs for fellow inmates and correctional officers.
Migos took dabbing to new heights in 2015: Although the dab dance was actually invented by Atlanta artist Skippa da Flippa, Migos’ single/music video for ‘Look At My Dab’ sent the dance into the stratosphere. Since then, the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Cam Newton have helped turn it into an international pop culture phenomena. Even Hillary Clinton had a go at dabbing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. That same year, Migos released their debut album Yung Rich Nation and began touring overseas through Europe and the UK. Yung Rich Nation yielded the single ‘One Time,’ which peaked at #34 on the Billboard US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
They’ve released an absurd amount of music, and they used to carry cash everywhere: Migos are the sort of artists who stay in the studio. They live, eat, breathe, and sleep music. To date, they’ve released 12 mixtapes, 19 singles, 2 albums and 1 EP. They’ve also featured on music from a dizzying list of names including Soulja Boy, A$AP Ferg, Ray J, Calvin Harris, Lil Yachty, Katy Perry, Sean Paul, Fall Out Boy, Kevin Gates, Gucci Mane, Travis Scott, Meek Mill, French Montana and many more. Over their career, they’ve been nominated for 6 BET Awards, won 2 BET Awards, and been nominated for 2 Billboard Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. Although you’d imagine things have changed lately, the Migos used to be notorious for traveling with leather backpacks full of stacks of cash.
‘Bad & Boujee’ changed everything for Migos: When Migos and Lil Uzi Vert dropped ‘Bad & Boujee’ in late 2016, the song and video quickly became a pop culture moment. It was global as well, in December that year, they performed it to an insane audience in Lagos, Nigeria. Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino had praise for them when he won the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Actor in his TV show Atlanta (which Migos cameoed in). “I really wanna thank the Migos — not for being in the show, but for making ‘Bad and Boujee. Like, that’s the best song, ever.” Afterwards, the song’s viral hype took them to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Since then, ‘Bad & Boujee’ has gone 4x Platinum in the US and hit charts everywhere. They even have their own brand of Migos Rap Snack crisps now.
Alongside Migos success, Quavo is conquering the charts well: Quavo has always been about excellence. During high school, he was the quarterback on his high school football team and was believed by his coach to have the potential for a promising football career. He also had a natural talent for basketball and golf. In June this year, Quavo had ten songs in Billboard Top 100 chart at once. While he was doing the rap thing with Migos, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Drake, and DJ Khaled, he also appeared on pop singles from Katy Perry, Liam Payne, and Calvin Harris. Things are looking really good for the Migos camp right now.
Buy tickets to MIGOS ft. 6lack at Spark Arena here, and spin our playlist below