“Throughout my life, I always felt like I got a second chance at everything somehow,” Big Sean told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show late last month. Second chances and the process of reinvention have always marked the Detroit rapper’s career. Long gone are the days of strip club anthems set to MC Hammer samples; two years ago, Sean took a plunge into the moody, inky Dark Sky Paradise, his most ambitious project to date, while I Decided offers the most sonic diversity of his career. But as admirable as Big Sean’s penchant for rediscovery is, it’s only extended as far as the instrumental spaces he inhabits. I Decided still suffers from the same problem that every other Big Sean album does: Big Sean himself.
“And 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.”
Donald Glover isn’t the only one to think so. Despite seeing relative success with singles in the past like “Versace” and “Fight Night,” Migos really hit their stride with “Bad and Boujee,” which went on to peak at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 last week. The group became largely known in 2013 for their “Versace flow”—rapping in taut triplets—which influenced the likes of Drake, Future, and even Kanye West. Although they didn’t invent triplet flow, their usurpation of the technique became the cornerstone of their sound, members Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff’s burst-fire delivery tap dancing atop trap hi-hat percussion and chilly synthesizers. It’s perfectly acceptable that Culture makes no attempt to sound wildly different than its contemporaries, because it’s ultimately a satisfying affirmation that Migos has fully mastered its musical lexicon.
Repeat to yourself: My music will get me through the next four years. My music will get me through the next four years. My music will get me through the next four years. Here are ten great songs from last year. Maybe one of them will get you through the next four years.