I’m going to be blunt with this album. Listening to “QUAVO HUNCHO” is a form of sonic and cognitive self-harm. In fact, listening to the album should be listed as “cruel and unusual” punishment and used to torture prisoners held on treason charges.
There is one good verse on the album and it was a guest feature by 21 Savage. On a similar basis, Kid Cudi’s feature on the last track served as the only motivation to get through the 19-track album, an obvious ploy to boost streaming numbers through Spotify and Apple Music. It’s a strategy that been done by countless artists this year – Post Malone’s 17-track Beerbongs and Bentleys being the most salient – and leaves listeners with empty projects full of repetition and lacking any true content for the majority of the songs.
While Kanye West has done a number of harebrained, close-to-insane things in the past twelve months, he kept each of his produced albums – Kanye’s Ye, Nas’ Nasir, Kids See Ghosts’ Kids See Ghosts, Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E., and Pusha T’s Daytona – at a maximum of eight songs, creating the feel of a more cohesive, finished project.
Back to Quavo- the iced out leader of Migos, one of, if not the most commercially successful groups of the decade with Brockhampton and Odd Future at their heels. One would hope that commercial success is indicative of a strong, creative artist, but the current situation in the rap game is quite the opposite. From Lil Yachty to Lil Xan, 6ix9ine to XXXTentacion, we have seen the rise of the “Instagram rapper”, an untalented breed of artists whose ginormous online followings are disproportionate to their talent.
“QUAVO HUNCHO” has the worst lyrics of an album I have ever heard, and have about the same substantial value as the evidence supporting Brett Kavanaugh. The first track, “BIGGEST ALLEY OOP” starts with a melodic female crooning, a less-effective version of Migos’ Atlanta predecessor OutKast’s beginning to ATLiens who used a soft nameless French voice singing about mortality.
That is the only comparison to OutKast I could ever make in regards to Migos’ similarity; OutKast’s Andre 3000 and Big Boi were/are lyrically two of the best (Andre 3000 more so) rappers to ever live. Quavo lacks any lyrical prowess and probably uses the same amount of words in the entire album, “QUAVO HUNCHO,” as a single Andre 3000 verse during his peak.
I get that this is trap music and thus should not be expected to have the same lyrical levels as some of the more conscious rappers. This does not hide the fact that Quavo’s attempt at a solo rap album is a failure no matter how many records are sold.
OK.. The second song, “Pass Out” is actually pretty dope and probably the strongest of the album. It starts with a news reporter saying, “22 million dollars in cash left on the street, the boy who picked up the cash went on a mission”, followed by a pretty epic beat-drop. Quavo comes in bragging about “bringing his b—h to the bank”, a five second repetition of “skrt skrt”, and other assortments of flexes. It’s 21 Savage’s verse that creates an actual good track, rapping “I’m not Will Smith but I’m tryna get jiggy”; he does indeed get jiggy rapping, “pick your side, one-man army don’t need no side […] y’all gotta put shit together cuz your money’s short like Yeezy slides”. If you don’t get the brilliant reference, see below.
Following “Pass Out” comes a series of forgettable tracks, an equally forgettable Drake verse on track four, “Flip the Switch”, and a few more useless songs before a track that actually stands out, “CHAMPAGNE ROSE”; the song features Madonna with a repetitive voice-altered “Please drink me up, Champagne Rose, it’s my game / please fill my cup, Champagne Rose”, and a strong feature by rap’s woman of the year, Cardi B. Next comes “Keep that sh*t” with a solid 50 seconds of Quavo repeating “Keep that sh*t, keep that sh*t away” followed by a flex regarding his iced out watches and necklaces, and an unmemorable feature by Migos-member Takeoff.
The next song is “F*CK 12”, a shot at the police; it should be clear by now what the creative genius, Quavo does: repeat “F*ck 12” about a dozen times and call it a day. The song is a solid example of blaxploitation, beginning with a preacher asking “who taught you hate the race you are around […] who taught you to hate the texture of your hair”. Following the same theme, Quavo raps, “the whips on my back got me the whips [cars] out back”, a clever flex and f- you to slavery. Migos-member Offset hops in for a pretty average verse for the album, which makes it pretty damn forgettable.
The following track, “LOSE IT”, features Lil Baby flexing about his lamborghini, amount of women, and diamond-laced fingers. Next comes “RERUN” featuring Travis Scott; in all honesty, this beat sounds so similar to Scott’s Astroworld that it would not surprise me if he was offered the beat first and let Quavo scoop it up like a bowl of ice cream. The song featured an icy cool Travis in the beginning and Quavo talks about giving off “good vibes”; it’s not a bad song until 2:45 when an acapella by Travis drags the track out an extra minute.
The next couple tracks are pretty forgettable – repetitive verses on “GO ALL THE WAY” and a series of repeating “lamb[orghini] talk” on “LAMB TALK” a half-dozen times. “BIG BRO” is a decent track; Quavo claims he’s an OG and can “put you under his wing” and be your big bro. It sounds like he’s talking to the youngins in the rap game, but doesn’t clarify whom. Following “BIG BRO” comes Quavo bouncing over a Hawaiian-style trap beat reminiscent of Drake’s “Passionfruit” off his 2017 playlist More Life.
The next track, “Bubble Gum”, is an awful track and should’ve been cut. Enough said.
The final track, “LOST”, comes in softly with a futuresque synth and piano then drops suddenly to a vulnerable Quavo crooning, “I hope I don’t get lost, in this world they divide us all”. Kid Cudi comes in with the melodies:
I’m inside my soul, feel the weight on me (My soul) / Built to carry the load, feel this weight on me (Yeah) / Slide out, hit the road for my sanity (Mmm)/ This how it fuckin’ goes in my galaxy/ After midnight (Midnight)/ And my mind runs (And my mind runs)/ With the demons on my back (Yeah)/ ‘Til the day comes (’Til the day comes)/ Been through it all my life (Yeah)/ And I feel numb (Feel so numb)
Quavo’s outro of “don’t get lost in the way” ends the album on a strong note, showing his emotional, fearful side, a viewpoint we do not get anywhere else in the album.
Coming into my first listen, I had some expectations as I’m sure you would have too:
- Lyricism will be weak,
- Unambiguously similar trap beats will be the norm
- As a work of art, this album will suck.
Whether it was a self-fulfilling prophecy or my spidey senses for quality rap music, I ended up being correct:
- Due to a lack of original content and creativity, Quavo’s lyricism is weak and repetitive.
- The production side was pretty decent and predictable: empty, spacey trap beats with a heavy use of synth,
- As a work of art, the album sucks.
Oh, most definitely. The album lacks lyrical creativity and quality, and brings nothing new to the rap scene. It is a braggadocious, shallow piece of work with no real depth of any kind. There were no insightful messages, stories told, or even allusions to events that could entertain or god forbid reach a deeper level than topics such as promiscuous women, fast cars, and drugs. Worst of all, 21 Savage, a rapper whose lyrical quality matches that of the first monkey sent to space, had the strongest verse on the album.
My advice: save yourself some time and don’t listen to this album. I’ve already martyred myself in the name of WRSU, and I don’t want you to have to experience the boredom and frustration Quavo brought to the table.
Standout tracks: “PASS OUT (ft. 21 Savage)”, “SWING (ft. Normani, DaVido)”, & “LOST (ft. Kid Cudi)”
Album Review By: Jason Levin