Friday, May 28th, 2021

Migos – Straightenin

Yep, this is definitely a single by Migos.


Samson Savill de Jong: It’s amazing given all the imitators they spawned, that a Migos song is still immediately identifiable as being by them. That’s both a blessing and a curse, as they might be a cut above their pretenders but they are essentially adding another one to the pile with “Straightenin.” It’s just another Migos song, more than fine if you’re a fan of theirs, but it’s not distinctive enough to have much impact beyond that.

Andy Hutchins: Typically hypnotic work from long-time collaborator DJ Durel, typically nonsense mantra hook, typically Neapolitan brag-rap in their signature flows: Yeah, this is good Migos, reasserting their place in the culture as a reliable source of jams. And good Migos goes down easy: Even though we’re almost a decade removed from “Bando” and the interim featured interludes with Calvin Harris and Katy Perry, their chemistry’s still that of a well-practiced relay rotation, with Quavo as ever the midpoint between Offset’s denser and more lyrical approach and Takeoff’s delivery-first presence. “We’ll run this shit back, I just seen Tenet” is genuinely funny and surely the best Tenet reference of the year, but Quavo also somehow brags about filming a movie with Robert De Niro and still loses to Offset’s “Qua keep a MAC in the back of the Tesla” for Funniest Bar About Quavo. I missed these dudes.

Ady Thapliyal: It’s concerning how fast trends are cresting and careers are ending in the overheated market of American hip-hop, where labels are focused on juicing artists for all they’re worth rather than laying a foundation for a stable career. Migos, whose mainstream breakthrough came only in 2016, already feel like a nostalgia act, an impression that is not helped at all by the back-to-basics sound of their comeback single, “Straightenin.” Sure, it’s a good track, but maybe not a good career move. 

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The third single from the third volume of Culture, it should come as no surprise the “Straightenin” sounds like a staler, lethargic cut from a once iconic group. The floor here is still high, but nobody needed to hear Quavo talking about “turning a pandemic into a bandemic” or Takeoff giving a “shoutout to the white boy.”

Thomas Inskeep: Even with six (!) credited producers, “Straightenin” sounds pretty much just like the bulk of the Migos’s catalog, which is to say: solid. They’re all good rappers, and the track bumps along amiably.

Andrew Karpan: Migos are architects of pure style, who illuminate neither the highs nor the lows of the rock-and-roll life but instead detail conversations on street corners like, I dunno, Studs Terkel? But the group’s relentless release schedule only testifies to how much language there is out there to chew up and digest, so much language there is always language to spare. It’s no coincidence that one of the most pleasurable lines on Cardi’s last hit record came from Offset himself. “Straightenin,” is nowhere near as fun to say but its creepy and durable, if not catchy; a locker room command that signifies nothing but its echo. If you don’t get shit straight, you won’t straighten it, right?

Alfred Soto: A victory lap with arms pumping in the air, “Straightenin” exudes enough confidence to forego the single quotation mark. The beat goes click, the rap stresses land on penultimate and final syllables as per rhythms whose secrets they haven’t shared — Migos sound like themselves. 

Mark Sinker: Lazy in feel? But that’s why we like ’em. Lazy in theme? But that’s the kind of thing they like, to stretch a title word out until it’s most of a song. Lazy in reference, so that even the clever bit is pretty lazy? I mean, Tenet is a timely namedrop, and it means going back in time, and look, Slim Shady and The Matrix are from a long way back in time. Haha. A lazy exercise in what they can get away with? I mean, I think they do get away with it — they do just enough to keep it all moving, to flick up the little ends of your slight slight smile, with nearly nothing. It’s a skill. It’s what they do. With near-minimum effort. You have to respect it.

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