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March 1, 2024

Migos mixtape pairs fun, self-reflection

By WILL KIRSCH | February 4, 2016


XLilM 25x/CC BY-SA 3.0 Migos pursue a mix between their usual party rap style and tinges of reflection on the past year’s events.

Atlanta rap group Migos released a follow-up to their classic mixtape Y.R.N (Young Rich N****r), not to be confused with the also classic album Y.R.N. (Yung Rich Nation), in late January. Creatively called Y.R.N 2, this newest tape is yet another step in the meteoric rise of the trio compromised of Quavo, Takeoff and Offset. Migos has created their own flow and their own slang. One of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Cam Newton, does their dance, the dab, every time he scores a touchdown — what a time to be alive. Moreover, comedian Dess Nice has argued that this group is better than the Beatles.

“Beatles never made ‘Fight Night,’” said Desus on the now expired podcast Desus vs. Mero, to which his co-host Mero responded, “Paul McCartney has never finessed a plug; in his life.”

It’s a good time to be a Migo, and what better way to ensure continued success than to drop a free mixtape for adoring fans? Enter Y.R.N. 2

Migos mixtapes can probably most adequately be described as lit. Y.R.N 2 is quite lit indeed — maybe not as much as their older mixtapes such as the first Y.R.N. or No Label 2, but that’s relative. A Migos mixtape that isn’t quite as energetic as another Migos mixtape is like Four Loko without the caffeine: It’s still insane. This newest tape calls on the usual ensemble of producers: Zaytoven, Dun Deal, Phenom Tha Don, Murda Beats and Stack Boy Twan with some contributions from less frequent collaborators Will A Fool and Wheezy Beats. Some of the beats are a little more reserved than past tapes, but they’re still cut with the ad libs and auto-tune that everyone loves.

Atlanta’s finest has started to respond lyrically to their prevalence in pop culture. In songs like “Commando” they reference the diffusion of their slang and their many copycats emerging throughout the rap game.

But self-aggrandizing accusations of biting one’s flow is sort of expected. What’s more surprising are the glimpses of moral clarity that surface in the lyrics. Amongst the lines about selling and consuming drugs and generally living life to its carnal limits, there are expressions of pain, regret and sadness on the parts of all three rappers. Migos also makes reference to their 2015 court case and Offset’s subsequent stint in prison. The two even tie together; in “MuhF**kn Tired,” Offset raps about prison, saying “Prayin’ to God that I don’t go again.”

This newest mixtape doesn’t represent a major shift in style for Migos, or really any shift at all for that matter. Despite some heartfelt lyrics and unique beats, it’s pretty much business as usual, but that isn’t such a bad thing. The group has a tried and true formula: a quick flow broken up with ad-libs and sound effects, rich and occasionally unrelated or nonsensical images which still work somehow, and three equally talented rappers each with a different tone and pitch. It’s not the most intellectual music out, and Y.R.N. 2 is no more refined or clever than any of its predecessors. But who cares? It’s fun and that’s all it needs to be. It’s for going to the gym, for doing damage to your body on the weekend and for getting an adrenaline rush before you throw five touchdowns and go to the Super Bowl. (Shoutout to Cam Newton.)

It’s easy to hate mixtapes like Y.R.N. 2; The superficial simplicity can turn people off to hardcore hip-hop groups like Migos — which is too bad for them, because it’s a free mixtape full of cars, guns, money, drugs, felonies, finessing the plug and excellence, like a gangster movie directed by Michael Bay. It is sweet excess from the group that has perfected contemporary party music. Y.R.N. 2 is not Migos’ best mixtape by any means, but it’s still a Migos release and, through deductive reasoning, one can assume it’s lit. Also, it’s free to download all across the internet. So what’s stopping you?

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