On Jan. 28th, hip-hop group Migos, comprising of rappers Offset, Quavo and Takeoff, will be leading a seminar on culture at NYU. Many students have criticized the seminar because they believe that the rap group is unqualified and ill-equipped to lead discussion at the university. Despite the fear that the seminar will not prove useful to aspiring musicians, Migos actually brings to the table an incredibly valuable perspective in light of their relevance and growing influence in today’s popular culture.
Migos reached the number one position on the Hot 100 list at the beginning of this year for their single “Bad and Boujee,” which has solidified its place in popular culture through memes that quote the lyrics. The single will appear on their upcoming album “Culture,” to be released today, which discusses the culture of hip-hop and the role Migos has had in its history. As group member Offset claims, “We did a lot for music. Migos is the culture.” After appearing on the hit show, Atlanta, and receiving commendation from Donald Glover — who called them “the Beatles of this generation” — their cultural relevance increased.
Regardless of one’s own opinion of Migos’s music and lyrics, the group’s re-emergence as a phenomenon on the internet has made the group an icon worthy of acknowledgement. Their experience of being turned into a meme is reflective of today’s methods of mass-communication.
Digital branding can be highly effective since our lives are so integrated with social entertainment apps and forums. Pharrell’s NYU appearance last year is similar to Migos’ upcoming presentation in that the former had just achieved new recognition through his own viral video, “Happy.” Migos’ online spotlight this year, much like Pharrell’s last year, is an example of the rapid spread of information that characterizes our era.
Not all art has to be high-art and not all artists must strive to be deep or compelling. The sort of kitschy, popular art that has made Migos a household name is incredibly useful when analyzing and creating music meant for a wider audience. Hip-hop offers a more developed commentary on a culture that is not often discussed in an academic setting. Migos represents an important facet of our popular culture as well as hip-hop culture and therefore, is more than qualified to speak at NYU.
Email the Editorial Board at [email protected]