When the stars and planets align, MTV’s writers and critics assemble to weigh in on new hotness, chart trash, and glimmers of hope in the pop-music landscape. This week’s roundtable includes Doreen St. Félix, Meaghan Garvey, Tirhakah Love, Ira Madison III, Hazel Cills, Eric Torres, Sasha Geffen, Simon Vozick-Levinson, and Jessica Hopper. Our subject today: Migos’s unstoppable “Bad and Boujee,” plus two other songs that are not “Bad and Boujee.”
Migos feat. Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee”
St. Félix: “Raindrop, drop-top.” You kind of have to marvel at the fact that this lyric inspired wave after wave of memes, nearly two months after this single came out. In the 2010s, if thousands of users decide to participate in a joke about your song, that song could be your highest-charting single ever. The “Bad and Boujee” surge was as low-key as the stilted beat itself. Now that we’re a few weeks out from the release of Migos’s Culture album, the rabid, sustained success of this single has raised the stakes. Will every track on the project be a hit? Is Quavo still the Beyoncé of the group? My guess is a resounding yes, and I’m most excited to hear the “Kelly Price” track.
Vozick-Levinson: Interesting question, Doreen. Like most sentient beings, I loved Quavo’s superb run of guest appearances in 2016, and I’m still ready and willing to pay $9.99 for his theoretical solo debut the moment it hits iTunes. But after years of thinking of Quavo as Migos’s de facto leader, “Bad and Boujee” has me reconsidering. It’s not just that Offset wrote the group’s best hook in years. It’s the star quality he exudes in the video, that sly half-smile when he says “raindrop, drop-top,” like he knows he just outsmarted every other songwriter in America. That’s no knock on Quavo, who contributes a chef’s-kiss-perfect Ratatouille reference on his verse. But this is Offset’s song, and I’m looking forward to his presence on the new Migos album more than ever. My parting thought: Does the diner scene in this video remind anyone else of the last episode of The Sopranos? Just me? OK.
Garvey: Personally, I’d call Quavo the Justin Timberlake of the group, and Offset the JC Chasez. Quavo has the obvious charm and the best shot at a solo career, but Offset has always struck me as the most technically skilled Migo and the binding agent that holds it all together. (Presented as evidence: his 2014 solo loosie “Molly & Scotty,” and his song-stealing verse on Young Thug’s “Quarterback,” in which he references Malcolm in the Middle, salvia, and the apocalypse as prophesied in Revelations.) As a long-standing member of #OffsetHive, it’s great to see the most underrated Migo finally get his moment in the sun, especially since he was locked up for a probation violation during the group’s breakthrough summer back in 2013. Takeoff, please do not take this analogy to heart — you, sir, are no Chris Kirkpatrick.
Love: Is this the definitive spelling of boujee (adj.)? Because I’m tired of having to constantly check myself.
Madison III: I’ve always known it as “bougie,” but I guess Migos do whatever the fuck they want. I really, really love this song. When it was first released I heard it in a friend’s Instagram story and immediately googled the lyrics because it’s such a chill song for a late night in Los Angeles with some cognac and a fur. It’s the definitive casual-luxury song for 2017, and I had it on my gym playlist until suddenly I realized the song had blown up, probably in part because of the memes — that’s how hip-hop seems to hit No. 1 these days (“Black Beatles,” “Hotline Bling”). But I’m more interested in the vibe of this song. The lyrics shouldn’t really lend themselves to me feeling like I’m Dominique Deveraux from Dynasty, throwing shade at my enemies while sipping champagne and eating Petrossian Royal Osetra caviar ... but it works.
Hopper: Clocking at five and a half minutes, the song has the glide of a mantra; it feels like Offset is spell-casting, divining something in the percolating pops of “op-op”/“ot-ot” punctuating each line. After a year-plus of “Migos will ride again” speculation, “Bad and Boujee” makes good on that better than anyone thought was possible.
Cashmere Cat feat. 2 Chainz, Starrah, and Tory Lanez, “Throw Myself a Party”
Cills: I don’t care much for Cashmere Cat. I’ve been unimpressed with most of his songs aside from the extremely underrated Ariana Grande track “Be My Baby,” but I’m really feeling the fuzzy, ringtone vibe of this song. I love how the bubbly, self-indulgent Starrah sounds like she’s gaining wings with those pretty, choral layers underneath the beat. I’m here for this one.
Torres: I’m actually into Cashmere Cat most days, but I’m not really feeling this one. I like the weird melody happening in the background and everyone who’s featured, but something about it just feels a little too serviceable, like it was algorithmed together to be on all those pre- and post-party Spotify playlists. But thank you for reminding me of that perfect Ariana deep cut, Hazel, as it’s much better than this and I can now just play that on a loop for a little while instead.
Garvey: Cashmere Cat is a hard “maybe” from me; I assume he somehow gate-crashed some Illuminati all-hands meeting in 2013 and thus became the SoundCloud superstar turned mega pop producer he is today. Not mad, but I wish he’d push himself beyond the twee-ified Terius Nash worship that is his comfort zone, and this certainly is not it. “Throw Myself a Party” could’ve come out at any point in the last five years, and that’s not a good thing — and 2 Chainz recorded about three dozen more exciting verses in 2016 alone. I do, however, appreciate the sensory clash between the song’s hedonistic vibe and the wintry calm of the YouTube background image.
Vozick-Levinson: The thing about a half-assed 2 Chainz verse, though, is that it’s still better than no 2 Chainz verse at all. I won’t defend this song’s hook, which is so generic I’d believe it originated with one of those recombinant Twitter bots — but as Hazel notes, Starrah sells it. It takes talent to make a sentiment as banal as “I want to get drunk and party” feel even a little memorable. I wouldn’t turn this off if it came up on YouTube (unless and until I noticed that the next recommended track was “Bad and Boujee”).
Tyga feat. Kanye West, “Feel Me”
Love: Honestly, I reached my Kanye quota months ago, and pairing him with a subpar Tyga isn’t gonna change my mind. This song is dope for all of 12 seconds — just about the time it takes for you to realize, yes, that is how Tyga sounds now. He might have the worst voice in a hip-hop world that includes Machine Gun Kelly, and that’s just ... wow. The in-laws had a tragic 2016, but at least they recognize it. When Tyga opens the first verse with, “I need my cash money / A milli, a milli, a milli, a milli,” we know he really means it. Aside from the veracity, though, there’s just not much to sink your teeth into here. Unless you enjoy Kanye fishing for different ways to rhyme the word “shirt” for four straight bars — in what has to be his laziest feature since “THat Part” — this song, much like its two frontmen, belongs in rice.
Cills: Where is the Tyga x Kylie jam, though? Lol JK. Or am I? But yeah, Tirhakah, there’s a weird grade-school poetry-class rhyming vibe to this whole song. Maybe that’s just because of all the “milli/dealy/chilly/feel me”s.
Geffen: I’m just here to say that the Kardashian/Jenner shout-outs are at least better than Iggy Azalea’s “watch a new car dash, call me Kylie” from “Team,” meaning that Tyga and Kanye have jumped the lowest possible bar. This sounds like a leaked SoundCloud demo. I like the part where it sounds like the stream has cut out but it actually hasn’t, though. The line between lazy and laid-back isn’t as thin as this track would make it seem, and I think part of the problem is just how stressed Kanye and Tyga sound from rattling off half-baked lines. As he does on “Facts,” Kanye has the cadence of someone who’s just told a joke that no one else is laughing at.
Vozick-Levinson: Yes, totally. This song would be 30 percent less annoying if Tyga didn’t end so many of his lines with “feel me?” His delivery brings to mind the guy at a freshman-year party who keeps drunkenly appending “get it?” to each and every dick joke, or a lost Rob Schneider character. “Feel me? Feel me? Feel me?” No, man, no one feels you!
Garvey: What a perfect benchmark for how far Kanye has fallen in the last half a year or so. Remember in 2015, when Tyga’s epically embarrassing The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty — initially advertised as being executive produced by Kanye — was released minus all the songs affiliated with ’Ye? Well, we are now in the era when the two almost-in-laws (or what the fuck ever) collaborate shamelessly as peers, and “Feel Me” is as tragic as it deserves to be. Sasha is right: There’s nothing cornier than a “no fucks given” song that sounds this woefully laborious. Even the ad-libs sound fraught! “Going heavy metal on the email” is the only bit salvageable from this wreck. Terror Jr. >>>>>>.