Migos – CULTURE
With the highly anticipated release of their sophomore studio album, Culture, Migos is proving that some rewards are only brought by uncompromising consistency. After pounding the pavement releasing mixtape after mixtape since joining forces in 2009, the hip-hop trio today finds themselves at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, securing their first No. 1 hit single with "Bad and Boujee." The song went on to reach viral heights after a series of memes circled around the standout lyrics "raindrop, drop top" and after receiving a legendary shout-out from fellow musician and actor Donald Glover at the 74th Golden Globe Awards. Now that their full-length offering has arrived, all eyes are on the group to see where their music takes them next.
With "Get Right Witcha" gracing our New Music Friday playlist this week, Migos is proving that not only have they refined their lavish trap sound, but they are setting the bar higher while claiming the very culture they've spent years low-key influencing. Those just getting hip to the group courtesy of their headline-dominating past couple of months may feel as though the group achieved overnight success, but the reality is that Migos has endured many storms in their day, including stints in jail and overcoming legal woes, and now, through self-determination, are out to show that more than a viral hit defines them. Graduating from 2013's "Versace," their first chart-topping single, in which member Quavo says the fashion house's name more than 100 times in a span of three minutes, the group has found success building off of the foundation they've had in place for years, elevating their brand to reach wide acclaim by backing up their hypnotic, mantra-like hooks with smart production, heavyweight guest features from the likes of 2 Chainz, Travi$ Scott, Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi Vert and DJ Khaled, and staying true to a vision best exemplified by the album's name, Culture. Entering this next chapter with new money and new goals alike, Migos balances having both middle fingers up with good old-fashioned gratitude, embracing their calling to inspire others that one's wildest dreams are obtainable with perseverance, timing and a dash of doing it for the culture.
Train - a girl, a bottle, a boat
Making their debut two decades ago, Train is showcasing their staying power as radio-ready rockers, with the careful guidance of the group's sole original full-time member, frontman Patrick Monahan, leading the way. While the Grammy Award-winning soft rock outfit has restructured and redirected their sound over the years, their latest offering proves that strong songwriting and expert musicianship is at the core of their success. In 2017, it's only fitting that the veteran rockers are leaning toward a more pop-influenced sound, taking notes from other mainstay bands such as Maroon 5, Coldplay and O.A.R., the latter of which Train recently recruited to join their forthcoming summer tour. Naming their latest studio album a girl a bottle a boat, Train's new offering transitions between a variety of distinctive sounds, supporting their crossover appeal for fans of contemporary rock and infectious pop alike, balancing their rock roots with a little doo-wop, dance pop and a piano-driven ballad thrown in for good measure. With "What Good Is Saturday" finding a happy home on our #NewMusicFriday playlist this week, listeners will either find themselves surprised to see the mellow, feel-good tune was crafted by Train, or rest reassured that the group is adapting to the times without drifting too far from their established tried-and-true identity in alternative rock.
Bell Biv DeVoe - 3 Stripes
Those tuning in to BET this week were treated to a three-part biopic series tracing the life and times of '80s sensation New Edition. As the story infamously goes, once the group ran its course in the spotlight, three members went on to join forces, creating the hip-hop spin-off known as Bell Biv DeVoe. On top of the group's recent resurgence, with assistance from the miniseries and finding a permanent place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the infamous trio has released their first album in 16 years, titled Three Stripes. As original members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe expertly remind us how to properly make a comeback with grace and prove they've more than still got it, the longtime musicians truly show they've aged like fine wine, with Three Stripes excitedly picking up right where they last left off. With their single "I'm Betta," the group refreshingly updates their signature new jack swing sound, with their R&B flavoring providing a timeless quality that still stands strong in 2017. For those overdue for a history lesson, and one that is still being written at that, look no further than the trailblazing career of Bell Biv DeVoe. While they've long earned their rightful place in the game, the iconic trio's new album proves that not only could we benefit from some spiritual healing, but they are more than happy to rise to the task and deliver all these years later, all while "doin' betta."
Major Lazer - "Run Up" featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR and Nicki Minaj
With Nicki Minaj and PARTYNEXTDOOR teaming up with the likes of Major Lazer, fans can remain hopeful that the most fitting of collaborations, when they actually do manifest, are not as contrived as one may think. With Major Lazer in the driver's seat on this one, the genre-bending electronic trio crafts what legendary producer Diplo describes as a "perfect party record," playing up to the talents of both vocalists while also giving them air to create, with each bringing their Caribbean roots to the table and spontaneously flexing their honed areas of expertise. While PND handles majority of the vocal duties, with Minaj coming in strong for a fiery guest feature, the track feels more high energy than the Canadian crooner typically yields, adapting wonderfully to the island-tinged production. With Minaj setting comfortably back into her music grind, even teasing her fourth studio album during her verse, "Run Up" is a delectable appetizer, warming us up for what each heavyweight artist has in store this year. Judging from the likes of this exciting collaboration, the forecast is looking sunny and the future bright.
Martin Garrix - "Scared to Be Lonely"
Twenty-year-old Dutch producer Martin Garrix returns with a swift reminder of why he is not only consistently rising to the top of the lists ranking the world's best DJs, but he's also got an endless amount of records left in him to make, refine, lovingly tease and finally share. While proving himself as a creative force to be reckoned with during his far-from-average teen years and impressively building a name for himself, the Tiësto-discovered artist is happily maintaining through the madness and further establishing his own sound with his latest release, "Scared to be Lonely." The earworm track doubles as a collaboration with rising British pop singer Dua Lipa, marking the latest release from Garrix's own STMPD Records, with the track arriving not too long after he teased the single in his live set. With Dua Lipa's beautifully hazy vocals and Garrix's production inviting strings into his electronic arsenal, the liberating track raises questions as to what the producer has next up his sleeve. Whether Martin Garrix will release a full-length studio project or continue his pattern of releasing one-off singles, it's safe to say we're already won over and eager for what's in store next.