Southern rap group Migos brings unique flow to San Diego

by Ryo Miyauchi, Asst. Entertainment Editor

After years of dominating college party playlists and posing for magazine covers, Atlanta rap trio Migos hits the tour circuit. The group’s singles has been a DJ-set staple, whether the DJ is spinning hip-hop or EDM. It’s not hard to understand when listening to the rappers’ exuberant performances in their series of digital mixtapes released in the past few years. The energy level will certainly be at an all-time high when they arrive in Feb. 10 at Observatory North Park.

Migos first gained attention with 2012 single “Bando” and its following full-length 2013 mixtape, “Y.R.N.” However, what shot the trio into stardom was a co-sign by Canadian rap star Drake. After Drake provided a verse for the group’s breakthrough single “Versace,” the attention for the trio soared exponentially. Since then, Migos has improved its skills with two more mixtapes, as well as scoring a Billboard-charting single, “Fight Night.”

Three rappers — Quavo, Takeoff, Offset — form the Migos. Dressed in gold and flamboyant prints, the trio appear like triplets upon first impression. They all also rap in triplets, hammering words in double- and triple-time while passing the baton to the other member seamlessly. But listen deeper and individual personalities emerge. Quavo’s voice is the most distinguishable with his most high-pitched yelp accenting his high-octane raps. Takeoff and his low, grumbling voice plays counter to Quavo’s highs yet still intricate in flow. Offset resides in the middle, sporting a leaner voice than Takeoff’s but sits more contained than Quavo’s.

While much has been said about other rappers borrowing heavily from the trio’s double-time delivery, Migos stands as an unmatchable rap group working today because they understand the one thing that gets the people going — the hooks. Read the title of a Migos song and most likely that’s the word or phrase tossed around as the chorus. It sounds ridiculously simple, possibly even elementary. However, the trio’s mixtapes are a collection of syllabic delicacies: “Versace,” “Hannah Montana,” “Adios.” And how the three cram, stretch, and drill each word and syllable is dexterous, hypnotic and simply catchy.

Migos’ party tracks surely satisfy the lizard brain like no other, and that alone is a proof of the trio’s strength in itself. But the group hits its absolute best when the rappers channel their bug-eyed energy to express their gratitude toward their fame and success. The surprise that Quavo feels about his current position in life comes across poignantly through his high yelps in “Can’t Believe It.” His knack for repetition in the chorus also doubles as a feeling of disillusionment from Quavo — “can’t believe it, can’t believe it, can’t believe it.”

Learning the words for the Migos show at Observatory North Park shouldn’t be so difficult. Memorizing the rappers’ dense verses might be a challenge, but that’s besides the point. For a Migos show, feeling and absorbing their unstoppable energy in a live setting is what matters.