365 Entertainment Presents: Migos South Side Music Hall Friday May 30, 2014
By Michelle Ofiwe
By the time midnight rolls around, the Migos are officially late to their own party. If it matters to the crowd filling out South Side's dance floor, such discontent remains imperceptible. Throngs of girls press into the backstage's partition to enthusiastically greet the Atlanta trio when they finally saunter in and their quick beeline to the stage prompts an energized roar from the patient crowd. Over the sea of blinking smartphones hovers members Offset, Quavo and Takeoff, who match the rattling bass of their opening number with their signature yelps and stuttering ad-libs. It's ironic: for all the opulence the group usually excludes, their return to Dallas launches with very little fanfare.
And it's just as well. In 2014, there isn't much left for the trap titans to prove in the world of mixtapes and Billboard charts. With the radio behemoth that was 2013's Versace, the trio have effectively carved their own space within the industry with a sound that, while often imitated, is difficult to duplicate. While other rappers continue their struggle to straddle the thin line between rap and pop, the Migos have obviously picked sides. 808s, shuttering clicks and tightened snares abound in their music as signifiers of Atlanta's influence, yet the Migos have routinely decided to just be themselves. Their calculations have paid off, too: these days, you would be remiss to mention "trap music" -- a sub-genre of rap that dates back to the 2000s -- without mentioning its most impassioned stars, who detail the typical genre fodder (drugs, women, materials) with an obvious familiarity.
Why does this work so well for Migos? It's hard to say. Many rappers in the aftermath of the release Y.R.N. (Young Rich N*ggas), the group's most popular mixtape to date, have found themselves drawn to the trio's infectious "triplet flow." All the trend really needed was a well-placed Drake co-sign, which it received later in 2013 with his still-divisive "Versace (Remix)" verse. Those who could not cut their stuff on the tumbling flow employed the Migos to do so instead. As a result, the group sports a long list of collaborations from nearly every Very Important Performer in the rap and R&B scene: A$AP Ferg, Future, Twista, Chief Keef. Even then, the Migos seem to stand taller than some of their peers, with a success that can only come from fulfilling a desperate need. When rap needed to have fun again, the Migos answered this call with catchy hooks and bone-shaking bass.
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On South Side's stage, it's easy to see why things have caught on: it's almost impossible not to engage at a Migos show. There are people shouting, dancing and answering the opening strings of their favorite songs with encouragement. The Migos themselves don't take up much of the stage, but there are flailing hands wherever they go; people press in so tight up front that it looks like it hurts to move. When the bass isn't rattling the rafters, the collective shouts of the crowd are.
Migos songs are designed for chanting, so participation takes little more than one's ability to repeat phrases. The setlist reflected this advantage, and ranged from the band's more obscure cuts from their No Label mixtape to fan favorites like "Versace" and "Hannah Montana." Although the two songs were welded down into a 30-second medley, the show hit its crescendo easily.
There were a few faults, of course. Due to the postponed starting time, the unusually short setlist (capping off at about 50 minutes) stung just a little. Seeing that many of their hits ("Bando," "Jumping Out the Gym") had yet to make an appearance, the show lost some of its fullness. However, fans mostly seemed to accept the early departure and general conversation soon took to afterparty discussions.
What did make it to the stage received the full Migos delivery, which is probably the most anyone can ask of the three at this point. The trio's touring schedule ensures the same performance regardless of venue and punctuality. Surely, their third venture into Dallas will likely thrill on the same levels -- and with the same trap-soaked hits we've come to love.