Remembering Takeoff

 A sad day for the trap community

Takeoff tragically passed away on Nov. 1 after being shot in Houston, Texas. He was 28 years old. He was one of the most influential and unique artists to debut over the last 10 years. 

Takeoff was born Kirshnik Khari Ball on June 18, 1994, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He was the youngest member of the trap trio Migos. The other members Quavo (his uncle), and Offset (his cousin), had been active since 2008. Their first mixtape, Juug Season, was released in 2011, and they had their big break in 2013 when the single “Versace” came out. Since then, they’ve released 12 full-length albums including the three Cultures, No Label II, and Yung Rich Nation.   

Takeoff also had a career outside of Migos. He made his solo LP The Last Rocket, which was released in Nov. 2018. It reached the top four in both the Billboard 200 and the R&B/hip hop charts. Earlier in October, he and Quavo put out an LP as a duo called Only Built For Infinity Links.           

Rest in peace, Takeoff. You will be missed.

Music Quickspins

Migos – Culture 2

Migos – Culture 2 (Quality Control Music)

Culture 2, the Atlanta rap trio’s followup to the Grammy-nominated album Culture, is a bloated attempt at recreating its predecessor’s success. With 24 tracks totalling one hour and 45 minutes, there just simply aren’t enough quality jams to justify the length. With tracks like “Narcos,” the intro “Higher We Go,” “Bad Bitches Only (BBO),” “Walk It Talk It” and “Too Playa,” the album is filled with songs that either sound too much like Migos’s previous album or are just completely unfinished. For instance, the song “Open It Up” is an exact melodic rip-off of the song “Deadz” from the first Culture. Another glaring problem is that the songs are mixed poorly. For a group as big as Migos, poorly mixed tracks are a big no-no. Sure, there are some great songs to jam to, but realistically, this album would have been average at 10 tracks. At 24, this album is a chore.

Trial Track: “Narcos”

Score: 5/10


Upcoming albums of 2018

Some of the best records to look forward to in the new year

The famed Atlanta trap trio released the companion piece to last year’s smash-hit Cultureon Jan 26. Members Quavo and Offset stated last year that the album would be released in October 2017. Now that the album is out there, the shaky details are crystal clear. The album is a veritable who’s who of rap, including guest spots from Drake, Big Sean, Gucci Mane and 21 Savage. “MotorSport,” an October collaboration with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, was included among the cuts on the album. Expectations are undoubtedly high, as a followup to the group’s platinum career-maker “Bad and Boujee” is what’s really on listeners’ radars.

Porches’s 2016 debut on Domino Records, Pool, mingled minimal synth beats with colourful production flourishes. Released on Jan. 19, Aaron Maine’s full-length, The House, features a plethora of gold-standard guests, including (Sandy) Alex G and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes. In terms of the album’s sound, Maine told Pitchfork he wanted to capture the quality of a home-recorded demo. The record’s lead single, “Country,” is a true testament to this approach, gentle and drenched with reverb.

My Bloody Valentine
According to front man Kevin Shields, shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine will release an album in 2018. “A hundred per cent,” Shields confirmed to Pitchfork last year. As both a followup to 2013’s mbv and a rare release from the group, the project will reportedly be “more all over the place” than its predecessor. According to Shields: “This one is like if somebody took that and dropped some acid on it or created a dimensional clash or something.” The band also released analog remasters of Loveless and Isn’t Anything on Jan. 18.

No Age
More than a decade ago, Randy Randall and Dean Spunt emerged from the grimy gutters of  Los Angeles’s DIY punk scene, releasing five EPs and two albums of noisy, hyperactive rock music. After regular stints at legendary DIY venue the Smell, they secured a record deal with Matador Records. This gave them the professional backing to hone their unique hybrid of nihilist punk energies and ambient noise across a decade-spanning career. On “Drippy” and “Soft Collar Fad,” the first two singles from their upcoming record on Drag City, the band sounds revitalized, tapping into vibes that made them a formidable force to begin with.

Sky Ferreira
Following a series of cryptic tweets and hushed word-of-mouth hype, Sky Ferreira’s followup to her excellent 2013 debut album, Night Time, My Time, has been in a stagnant state of production hell. The release has been delayed for several months to make room for Ferreira’s budding acting career. Her acclaim as a singer has been put on the backburner in exchange for film and TV roles, including appearances in Baby Driver and Twin Peaks: The Return. Though Ferreira opened up about the album’s progress, teasing in April that new music would be released “very soon,” this is one we’ll have to see to believe.

FKA twigs
In February 2016, still fresh off her 2014 debut masterwork, LP1, FKA twigs released “Good to Love,” a somber single that further expanded the reaches of the singer’s experimental sound. This year will see the release of the singer’s first set of material since 2015’s surprise-released EP, M3LL155X. Recently, she has teased “Trust in Me,” a new collaboration project with ambient producer Oneohtrix Point Never. With this release, the prospect of new material in 2018 isn’t too much of a stretch.

Frank Ocean
The reclusive Frank Ocean released a small number of singles in the middle of last year. And after vowing to release a followup to 2016’s Endless and Blonde, Ocean went to Tumblr to clear the air. In a post, he indicated he has two mixtapes in the vault that would count as his third and fourth full-length albums. “I JUST AIN’T PUT THAT BITCH OUT!” he posted in November.

Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt’s last album, the spacey I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, was the rapper’s last public release. Aside from sharing a guest verse with Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul on Danny Brown’s menacing “Really Doe,” Earl’s activities in and outside the music industry have been few and far between. He has also been performing a fair share of new songs live. The idea of a new LP could point toward a proper return for the Odd Future provocateur.

Music Quickspins

Migos – Culture

Migos – Culture (300 Entertainment, 2017)

With the success of their biggest hit, “Bad and Boujee,” Migos capitalized on the hype by releasing their latest full-length album Culture. With Culture, however, the group dials back their high-energy style and trades it in for a more moody and melodic one. After the opening track, “Culture,” the next three songs are “T-Shirt,” “Call Casting” and “Bad and Boujee,” which are all singles that came out before the album. These are the three best songs on the record and feature the group’s best lyrics, beats and melodies. The album takes an immediate nose dive after that. Each song begins to sound the same and the lyrical content becomes non-existent. The beats are too trendy and sound like they’ve been stolen from the latest Travis Scott record. Culture is the perfect example of what happens when a group cares too much about singles, and forgets about the rest of the album.

Trial Track: “T-Shirt”


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