From the Bando to the top of the Billboard: Migos' journey to a No. 1 album
Retracing the steps that led to Migos taking over pop “C U L T U R E.”
“We took over our city first, but that’s what influenced me, my struggle, what I been through. We was grinding, putting our own mixtapes out. We had dropped two mixtapes before people even heard of us, off our own money, off our own hustle. We ain’t really have nobody behind us. Then I got locked up and I had to sit down for eight months… It was blessing for me to come home to something… This what we were praying about, we were praying to get on. [From] doing all that other stuff and now for us to have the opportunity, we gon take full throttle and keep going.” — Offset, 2014
When REVOLT first spoke to Migos, it was in the summer of 2013 during the video shoot for their first radio hit, “Versace.” Only Quavo and Takeoff were present at the time, while Offset was locked up on a charge of probation violation. He served eight months, while his cousins took over the summer with their Drake-featured breakout smash as well as their breakout mixtape, Y.R.N. A year removed from the video shoot, a humbled Offset stood alongside Quavo and Takeoff to express gratitude on making it pass the past and excitement on where they plan to take things going forward. That was three years ago. Now, Offset’s “full throttle” message fits the story of Migos like a jewel to a crown.
In the time that’s passed since “Versace,” the trio released a slew of hit mixtapes (Rich N–a Timeline, No Label 2) and EPs (3 Way), racked up a couple gold and platinum certifications (“Fight Night,” “Bad and Boujee”), created pop culture sensations like the dab, and, through their enduring influence, inspired a nation to claim “Migos > The Beatles.” Copied, influenced, left off and championed, rap’s reigning innovators are now the pulse of pop C U L T U R E. This week, they earned another vindication with C U L T U R E, the group’s sophomore album, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 131,000 equivalent album units in its first week and 116 million streams in the United States, according to Nielsen data. This not only marks the first top selling rap album of 2017, but it’s also the reigning triumvirate’s first time scoring a No. 1 album and single. Now that’s a long way from where they were two years ago after Yung Rich Nation, their debut album, charted at No. 17.
As the full throttle behind the Migos Culture wave continues, REVOLT looks back on the journey to the group’s first No. 1 album, beginning with their infamous 300 announcement to dropping “Bad and Boujee” and announcing their main event: C U L T U R E.
September 15, 2015: After releasing Back to the Bando, less than two months after dropping Yung Rich Nation, Migos announce departure from 300 Entertainment.
September 23, 2015: Days after Migos announced a departure from 300 Ent., Lyor Cohen denied the news. “Migos is still under contract. They’re still part of the 300 family. So I don’t actually know what you’re referring to,” Cohen told Rap Radar podcast. “I will investigate that when I get back to the office. They’re incredibly talented. Those guys are unbelievable talent.”
October 28, 2015: In jail since April, when all three members of the Atlanta rap group were arrested on drug and gun charges, Offset gets bond denied for third time. Back in April, the group were arrested. Quavo and Takeoff were released shortly after the arrest, but Offset was denied bond at the time, due to a previous felony conviction.
December 16, 2015: Offset gets released from jail after spending nine months in a south Georgia jail.
January 18, 2016: Dropping a slew of records since Bando, Migos open up 2016 with a sequel to their breakout mixtape, Y.R.N. 2.
February 10, 2016: Less than a month after dropping Y.R.N.2, Migos share a short video teasing the release of No Label 3. Weeks later, they release the singles “Say Sum,” produced by Honorable C Note, and “Cocoon.”
March 28, 2016: Migos are spotted in the studio with Kanye West, Big Sean, Lil Yachty and Vic Mensa. The March post by Quavo on Instagram featured the caption, “Turbo.” This of course is in reference to Kanye’s announced album title, Turbo Grafx 16. A snippet from a possible collab hits online days later.
June 6, 2016: In an interview Migos reveal work with Kanye West. During a video shoot for “Cocoon,” Quavo and Takeoff reveal the group have “multiple songs with him” and said they have many other treats in “the vault.”
July 8, 2016: As the No Label 3 wait continues, Migos keep the momentum going with the five track EP, 3 Way.
August 28, 2016: Migos link up with Lil Uzi Vert and share their new track “Bad and Boujee,” produced by Metro Boomin. Prior to the release, the Atlanta rap trio released a string of tracks like “Pull Up” and “Dat Way” in anticipation for their No Label 3 mixtape and their collaborative project with Rich the Kid, titled Streets On Lock 5. “Bad and Boujee” gets released with the description, “No Label 3 coming soon.”
September 2, 2016: Scratching No Label 3 off the impending release schedule, Migos announce C U L T U R E, led by the single “Bad and Boujee.”
October 15, 2016: After announcing a September release for C U L T U R E, Migos call out 300 for the album’s delay.
October 17, 2016: After calling out 300, Migos tease the album with a handwritten tracklist.
December 20, 2016: Migos perform “Bad and Boujee” in Lagos, Nigeria to a rave response. This leads to more momentum behind the brooding single.
December 27, 2016: The “Bad and Boujee” wave continues and this time it becomes its own viral meme. Propelled by these memes, the single leaps from No. 15 to No. 7 and racks up 17.5 million streams in a week.
January 2, 2017: Migos release music video for “Cast Calling.” While down in Lagos (see above), the group had the chance to shoot a video for the Culture cut.
January 3, 2017: After much anticipated, the group unveil the release date for their sophomore album, Culture.
January 6, 2017: With “Bad and Boujee” set for No. 1, Migos drop “T-Shirt.”
January 8, 2017: History at the 2017 Golden Globes Awards. Days later, streams for “Bad and Boujee” surge 243% on Spotify.
January 9, 2017: Migos score first No. 1 single on the Hot 100. The single knock down Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” for the top spot, also topping the Streaming Songs chart for the second week in a row with a total of 35.3 million streams. Streaming numbers for the song were recorded from YouTube, where the video was viewed about 19.3 million times.
January 18, 2017: Fresh off their No. 1 entry, Migos perform “Bad and Boujee” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
January 23, 2017: After falling to No. 2, Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” return to No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart replacing Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” single, which originally debuted at No. 1. On the same day, the smash hit picks up a platinum certification — their first.
February 6, 2017: C U L T U R E, the new album from Migos, debut at number one on Billboard 200 chart with first week sales of 131,000 units. This is the group’s first chart-topping album as well as their label, Quality Control. “Bad and Boujee” also hit the top of the Hot 100 for a third week. All in all, C U L T U R E marks the Migos’ biggest release of their career.