Alongside the ranks of Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan, rambunctious trio Migos represents the next-generation of Atlanta emcees reaching mainstream. It’s easy to conclude that Drake’s guest verse on the “Versace” remix was a turning point for Quavo, Offset and Takeoff. However, the three had already become a local household name in the area’s Hip-Hop scene thanks to trap anthems like “Bando” and “Flex.”
Since their ode to the house Gianni built became popular enough for the designer label to utilize the Billboard charting single during their runway show, Migos has proven they’re beyond one-hit wonders mostly due in-part to “Fight Night” and “Handsome and Wealthy.” Then there is the torrent of guest features ranging from Justin Bieber to R. Kelly.
Then, in early September, the three recently premiered their mini movie Bando on Complex. Directed by acclaimed music video director Rik Cordero, the “trap musical” is a semi autobiographical look into the group’s life before their rise to fame. Of course, like any musical, music plays a role in guiding the film’s narrative. Bando features tracks from their recently released No Label series of mixtapes including “Contraband” and “Birds” along with the titular track.
Now, with the group gearing up for another run at pop culture infamy with “Top Floor” and “Fake Watch Busta”, we got some time with “New Atlanta”’s favorite group as they explain the inspiration behind “Bando,” working with Jermaine Dupri and how they deal with imitators.
Migos Explains Wanting “Bando” To Be The New “Krush Groove”
HipHopDX: Earlier this month you collaborated with Rik Cordero for the mini movie Bando which made its debut on Complex.com. How exactly did that concept come together and why nickname it a “trap musical?”
Quavo: This is a “trap musical” ‘cause we wanted to make something like Krush Groove and Streets is Watching. We wanted to show our life and our individual points of view from the north side of Atlanta where we come from…just showing where we come from and what we were doing featuring music from our No Label II mixtape.
Offset: Rik called us and was interested in doing the film. When we linked up, we put our thoughts and his thoughts together in how we wanted to make it look along with feel. Then we made it happen.
DX: What was Bando’s inspiration on a visual level outside of it being based on your story?
Offset: We did Bando in the city, but we gave it that Northside look which includes the bandos we actually recorded our hits in. My favorite musical is Krush Groove, it’s a trap musical.
DX: Though a lot of the tracks featured in Bando were more club bangers, it’s a very visceral street tale. When did music eventually come into the equation?
Quavo: Things got rough and we had to figure out a way to do better and be positive.
Offset: We can talk about our life and tell you about our life all we want to. Just like the movie, we wanted to paint a picture of how our life was.
DX: Considering the short’s cinematic aspect, do you guys ever see yourself transitioning into film?
Quavo: Hell yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Migos Talks Ray Rice, “Fight Night” & Not Being One-Hit-Wonders
DX: Many counted you guys as a one-hit wonder after the explosion of “Versace.” Must feel good to prove folks wrong with the success of “Fight Night” and “Handsome and Wealthy,” right?
Offset: We’ve been through a lot and we continue to set trends. We just did what we do.
Quavo: We just had to pull up on em. Drop them hits off like bow, bow…
Takeoff: We out here and for the haters I just say fuck-em, fuck-em, fuck-em. Hell yeah we proven folks wrong.
DX: Was it funny to see Pual Kuharsky of ESPN misinterpret the meaning of “Fight Night?”
Offset: Yeah, that’s crazy man. They’re comparing us to the Ray Rice incident. We talking about knocking it out in a bitch; Bow, Bow.
DX: Where do these two singles fit into what you were trying to accomplish with No Label II and where does this set you up for an album?
Offset: Those singles came from No Label II, and they probably won’t be on the album. We other hits coming from the album. But we’ll have hits coming back-to-back, back-to-back.
DX: You guys seem to do a lot of recording for various mixtapes. How many tracks do you have down for the album and when should fans expect it?
Takeoff: We got a vault full of music. In fact, we’re in the studio as we speak. Right now we have 90 songs completed, but we have hundreds in folders ready to be finished. It don’t stop man.
Quavo: Shit don’t stop, mane.
Migos Explains Grinding As Offset Did Jail Time & Emulating Gucci Mane
DX: For a nice amount of last year while “Versace” was killing radio, Offset was in jail while Quavo and Takeoff held the group together. What was that experience like from both perspectives?
Quavo: It was just like a puzzle, and we had just one missing piece holding the picture together. That’s my boy, so of course he had to come back and put his cake on it, you know what I’m saying?
Takeoff: Those are my brothers, and this is deeper than Rap. We gone hold it down because we knew this was big.
Offset: I feel like if I didn’t have a solid foundation from these two, I’d still be in the streets. So shout out to my boys for holding me down. At the end of the day we all together, real talk.
DX: Speaking of “Versace,” it was produced by Zaytoven. Describe your creative relationship with him and his influence on the “Trap” sound that has essentially become a sub-genre of Hip-Hop itself.
Quavo: My nigga!!!
Takeoff: We have a great relationship with Zaytoven. You know we get in the lab and he cook something up, then it come out like a brick.
Offset: Zaytoven is a modern day Beethoven. That’s our brother. He’s whips the beats up as fast as we can make them.
Takeoff: Ask him about us and he’ll tell you.
DX: Growing up in Atlanta, do you have a pivotal moment that you remember from the scene’s history?
Offset: From a Hip-Hop standpoint, I remember when we were grinding and one night we watched Guwop [Gucci Mane] at Club Miami. Then we all said we were going to get up there like that one day.
Offset: We came out spazzing like we always do and just gave everyone that trademarked, trendsetting music we always deliver. Y’all going to see that so just hold on. Y’all going to see the flavor.
Migos Reveals Working With Jermaine Dupri & Lessons From Coach K
DX:No Label II features a sequel to “Welcome to Atlanta” entitled “New Atlanta” with Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug. Most importantly, Jermaine Dupri makes an appearance. Did you guys ever get a chance to meet him or get any solid advice from him?
Takeoff: We were in the studio with JD personally. We actually put that together personally in JD’s studio. We were having a shoot-out in his gym, and were betting money along with Rich Homie and Young Thug. Everybody was together, mane. It wasn’t like we had to call each other to make that happen. Whenever we do something together, we’ll do it because we’re all good people.
Offset: Murda made the beat, and JD gave it his blessing.
Takeoff: JD did his thing, and we did everything fast.
DX: In regards to the term “New Atlanta,” what’s been the best moment so far with the new emergence of talent from the area.
Offset: I see us paving waves for other groups and I see new groups coming out right now. You see Rae Sremmurd, they’re based out of Atlanta and they go hard. We’re bringing groups back as young bosses.
Takeoff: They try to take the flow. A lot of these rappers try to copy us.
DX: Speaking of the now recognizable flow from you guys, are you worried about coming up with something else considering a lot of emcees have used it to some extent?
Offset: We got a new flow coming out soon. They won’t be able to do this one though.
Takeoff: We in one lane. Soon as they think they can get in ours, we just hop into another one.
DX: Coach K, who is known for cultivating the early careers of T.I., Gucci Mane, and Jeezy, is your manager, and after signing him as your manager was there anything he suggested you do to further your reach?
Offset: Coach K just told us to stay consistent, stay positive and be ready for the curve balls that come in the game. He told us that we’re young and have to stay working.
DX: It’s been a year since “Versace” and in an interview this year you mentioned the designer label hasn’t reached back outside of using the track during a fashion show. Has that changed your approach to how name drop brands?
Offset: We don’t care, whatever we look good in we gon’ claim it. If the world sees it, the whole world is going to change.
DX: I noticed some of your rhymes make interesting references to Mortal Kombat. More specifically, “Contraband” and “Chinatown.” Is that a favorite of you guys?
Takeoff: We grew up playing Mortal Kombat so yeah. Matter of fact, you play it with us right now you will get thrown up.