Ever since their Streets On Lock Vol. 1 & 2 mixtapes, family trio the Migos (members Quavo and Takeoff are uncle and nephew and Offset and Quavo are cousins) has established themselves as one of hip hop's groups to watch. And with their breakout hit "Versace," which hit No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013, their buzz has surfaced from the underground to the mainstream.
To celebrate, the Georgia group teamed up with none other than DJ Drama for his famed Gangsta Grillz series and brought along a few more spitters from the home team: Rich The Kid, Jose Guapo, MPA Duke and more, to form the rap conglomerate Quality Control Music and to drop their latest mixtape Solid Foundation.
From start to finish, Solid Foundation is laced with tales of trap-to-rap success, along with all the spoils that come with success in both. The collective keeps it street from the opening track, "Kick the Door Down," boasting, "Back then they weren't f----n' with me/Now they can't get enough of me/Now the cameras out and they flashing, papparrazzi takin' pictures of me/Independent n----s ballin' like the major leagues."
QCM never really strays too far from there, relying on high intensity production and turnt up vocals to make sure, above all else, that Solid Foundation bangs. For those that enjoy clichéd, boisterous rhymes, this has it with songs like Chill Will's "Surrender," Johnny Cinco's "They Gave The Wrong N---a Money" and Cartie's "Married to the Money," which packs a punch with lines like, "Pocket full of gringos/My money's bilingual/I talk it so good, they tryna learn the lingo/My plug call me primo, cause I cop 'em by the kilo/And I sell 'em for the real low, brick softer than a pillow."
Johnny Cinco also delivers on "No Choice." With a voice and style that favors Chief Keef, but with more discernible lyrics. "I used to ride on the bus when I didn't have any choice/Now I pull up in that Porsche without having a choice," he raps, chronicling his ascension from rags to riches.
Perhaps the most notable standout was MPA Duke, whose imposing voice made for the perfect complement to the thundering beats on songs like the Tupac tribute "When We Ride" and "R.N.S. (Rich N---a S--t)."
Migos was at their best when they connected with producer and frequent collaborator Zaytoven, like on "Dramatic," a fairly basic song about attention hungry women. They hooked up with the versatile producer again on the piano-laden "Shawn Kemp," a song that compares them to the rest of the "Detlef Schrempfs" of the rap game.
But despite some moments of incipient star qualities, Solid Foundation overall lacked originality. Many of the songs were disjointed and monotonous in their themes as well as their lyrical content. The ability to construct a good song that was highlighted on tracks like "Hannah Montana" and "Versace" was missing on this one.
Though it is only a mixtape, for a squad of MCs that are still finding their place in the mainstream, this did not showcase much range. Songs like the aforementioned "Married to the Money" and "ATM" served as little more than monotonous yelling about monetary ambitions, and other tracks like "Dirty Dave" and Losie's "Roger That" came off as cheap mimicry of the sound that Future has been successful with.
For fans who enjoy the hard-hitting beats that have established the South in the mainstream, Solid Foundation is exactly what it's name suggests, but as a group, Quality Control Music still has a ways to go if they're looking to keep building.
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(Photo: Quality Control Music)