Quavo And Takeoff – Only Built For Infinity Links

Perhaps the strongest post-Migos project...

Migos came, saw, and conquered in a blaze of rap glory. The Atlanta three-piece pushed their way to hip-hop’s top tier in record time, their emphatic personalities lifting them from the underground to the mainstream. The ‘Culture’ trilogy closed in 2021, and since then fissures have opened up within the group. Offset – someone who doesn’t seem to have to look very far for negative headlines these days – is embroiled in a legal suit with their label, leaving Quavo and Takeoff adrift.

If their erstwhile colleague is busy sifting through contractual law, Quavo and Takeoff have been focussed on the craft. ‘Only Built For Infinity Links’ is practically a riposte to the (supposed) demise of Migos, suggesting that their individual bond runs a little deeper. The music more than holds up against this: amid a flurry of splintering Migos solo endeavours, this album is stronger than most. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to describe it as the best post-Migos venture, and (possibly) their best non-Culture project.

The title is naturally a nod to the Raekwon classic, but throwback scenes don’t haunt ‘Only Built For Infinity Links’. Sure, the opener is a fun blast of nostalgia, but it serves a purpose – it’s a declaration of rap brotherhood. Instead, what you get is the arena trap of Migos lifted in new directions. Early bruiser ‘Tony Starks’ has an eerie quality to the production, while ‘See Bout It’ – guest starring Mustard – is a spicy latin-tinged roller, the distorted horns set against those bubbling snares.

A record that blazes with life, ‘Only Built For Infinity Links’ is packed with highlights. ‘Bars Into Captions’ has a neat ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ throwback, honouring Southern rap forebears OutKast in the process. By contrast, Summer Walker blesses ‘Mixy’ with a hint of classic R&B, while Gucci Mane’s flashy appearance on ‘Us vs. Them’ is a sign of comradeship.

Spread across 18 tracks and almost an hour of music, ‘…Infinity Links’ comes close to match the bombast of its title. There’s a slew of ideas here, and the sound of two A League rappers taking such evident risks of thrilling. ‘Hell Yeah’ is fantastic, the slinky guitar line working against their street raps, while ‘Integration’ toys with America’s barriers of race and class.

It’s not perfect, however. At times, ‘Only Built For Infinity Links’ leans too heavily on the past, and comes close to being simply Migos without Offset – as opposed to a project with its own taste and flavours. At its best, though, the record more than justifies the excitement – the post-Migos landscape is looking very inviting indeed.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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