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Up Close & Personal: Migos Open Up About Their Latest Project, Unconventional Childhoods & Eternal Family Bond
In the newest episode of Up Close & Personal, the three members of Migos — Quavo, Offset and Takeoff — discuss their unbreakable union and working with the very-missed Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke
We all know people who lost their edge or motivation during a COVID year. How did Migos spend it? "Actually, just preparing," Quavo says, proudly. “Getting some bonding time in and just working real hard.”
True to their indefatigable work ethic, the GRAMMY-nominated rap trio grabbed the bull by the horns, making the most of a confusing time. Quavo, Offset and Takeoff partly get this quality from their relatively hardscrabble childhoods, which they spent growing up under the same roof and helping Quavo’s single mom pay the bills.
In the newest episode of the Up Close & Personal interview series, watch Migos talk about those subjects and others, including the features on their latest project. Two of them include the very-missed Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD — and they open up about what it was like to be around those two visionary artists.
"Pop Smoke was always like a sponge; he was always willing to learn and wanted to know what the ins and outs of the game was," Quavo continues. He then leads into an endearing story about Pop Smoke panic-buying a suit to attend Diddy’s 50th birthday party. (Indeed, we were robbed of a kid with a bright future.)
Check out the interview with Migos above and explore more episodes of Up Close & Personal below.
Cuco On 'Para Mi,' Musical Tastes, MC Magic & Lil Rob | Up Close & Personal
Cuco's debut is here and he talks to the Recording Academy about one of the most meaningful songs on the albums, the sounds he's featuring and more
Cuco's debut, Para Mi, meaning "for me" in Spanish is exactly that: a 13-track album made by him, for him.
We've gotten to know the artist from Hawthorne, Calif. through his mostly dream pop singles and EPs and on his debut he highlights his diverse musical tastes even moreso.
"I like samba, salsa music, funk, jazz, soul, I like everything. I'm just learning to produce," he told the Recording Academy for Up Close & Personal about adding different sounds to his album.
"'Bossa No Sé,' I had that for three years," he added about the bossa nova inspired single. The album is the first with a label and while he's not longer indie he says: "I learned to value myself" about being independent.
Watch the video above to hear Cuco talk about one of the most meaningful songs on the album and working with idols MC Magic and Lil Rob.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
BET Awards 2018: SZA, Migos, Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monáe, J. Cole & More
Find out who turned up, who turned heads and who took home the prizes at this year's BET Awards
Los Angeles' Microsoft Theatre played host to the 2018 BET Awards on June 24, and the action was non-stop. Over the course of the evening, some of the biggest names in pop, rap, R&B, soul, gospel, and more were honored in between a barrage of blockbuster performances.
GRAMMY winner Jamie Foxx served as host of the festivities and opened the show by joining Jay Rock for a revved-up performance of Rock's new single, "Win." Foxx then delivered his monologue and invited Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan to the stage to recite some of the most powerful lines from the film.
DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller took home the night's first award for Best Collaboration for "Wild Thoughts" from Khaled's 2017 album Grateful. Khaled brought his son Asahd to the stage to help him accept the award, and gave him a shoutout in his speech.
SZA received the Best New Artist award, further solidifying her arrival as one of her generation's sharpest talents. The singer expressed gratitude and encouragement in her acceptance speech, saying, "Believe in yourself, 'cause I didn't even believe in myself, and things like this happen to me, so it this can happen to anybody. God bless everyone."
The show's lineup of performances was full of surprises. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, delivered an impromptu snippet of "This Is America." Meek Mill premiered a new song called "Stay Woke" featuring Miguel, and Migos recreated their "Soultrain"-inspired music video for "Walk It Talk It," with Foxx helping out in the roll of TV show host.
YG, 2 Chainz and Big Sean joined Nicki Minaj for a run of three songs, including "Chun-Li," "Rich Sex" and the crew's newly released single, "Big Bank." H.E.R., real name Gabi Wilson, made a splash with performances of "Focus" and, calling upon Daniel Caesar for help, the sweet and soulful love song, "Best Part." Janelle Monaé performed "Jango Jane" from her latest album, Dirty Computers, and turned heads on the red carpet with her vibrant rainbow pride dress.
Rapper J. Cole chose to perform the lead-off cut from his latest album, KOD. His rendition of "Friends" featured cameos from Wale and Caesar as well as a dynamic performance from Cole, dramatic lighting and even a memorable dance sequence from a group of children. Snoop Dogg closed the show with a set of his classics mixed in with tunes from his new gospel project.
Additional notable awards went to Beyoncé for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Kendrick Lamar for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Cardi B for Best Female Hip Hop Artist, and Lecrae and Tori Kelly for the Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award for their duet "I'll Find You." BET also honored two legends in their own right as GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Anita Baker and the company's influential president Debra Lee each received a lifetime achievement award.
With a captivating mix of bold social statements, reverent award presentations, lively and heartfelt performances, up-and-coming stars, and musical icons, the 2018 BET Awards honored the best-of-the-best from both today and the past while also providing illuminating insight into the future of music.
Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
2021 In Review: 8 Trends That Defined Rap
From TikTok challenges to a rise of the Dirty South, revisit some of the biggest trends that rap's rising stars and heavy hitters brought in 2021
After a social injustice-battling, pandemic-stricken 2020, rap returned this year with a much-needed dose of bangers and star power.
This year was mostly dominated by extravagant albums released by rap's elite, as well as impressive entries from promising up-and-comers. As fans inched toward a place of somewhat-normalcy, rap once again provided the backdrop to our collective moments at concerts, music festivals and get-togethers.
While it may have been easy to get lost in the year's rapid-fire releases, there were a few artists whose songs and albums either started new trends or advanced old ones. Below, find eight lyrical, sonic and cultural trends that appeared in rap this year — and may just continue in 2022.
Florida rappers Yungeen Ace, FastMoney Goon, Spinabenz and Whoppa Wit Da Choppa got fans’ attention with "Who I Smoke." The ruthless diss track went viral for its head-turning sample, Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles," as well as its golf-inspired music video.
The quintessential 2001 pop song and sunny golf course video are a stark contrast to the song's graphic lyrics, which shed light on longstanding gang beef and gun violence in the rappers' Jacksonville community. Shock value is nothing new to hip-hop, but the song's disruptive juxtaposition, anchored by an admittedly infectious beat, opened new doors.
Foolio, one of the single's targets, continued the trend in his response track, "When I See You," which samples Fantasia's song of the same name. While sampling an R&B hit is a classic rap maneuver, the 2006 song’s contrast with Foolio’s particularly vicious lines made "When I See You" another unexpected offering.
Beginning as a forceful subgenre in Chicago, New York City and U.K. rap scenes, drill has been steadily creeping its way into the mainstream since the 2010’s.
Polo G, a Windy City native known for his somber, auto-tuned bars, carried drill further into the mainstream this year with his third studio album, Hall of Fame. Unlike its volatile predecessor, Polo uses a more melodic form of drill to wear his heart on his sleeve, making the sound more accessible to mainstream audiences.
Of course, the 22-year-old isn't the only rapper to capitalize on the growing trend. G Herbo's 25 and Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow's Still Sleep? also furthered drill this year, with Migos even dabbling in the subgenre on Culture III.
"Beat Box" by SpotemGottem was already picking up steam in 2020 with a remix by Pooh Shiesty — but in 2021, remixing the bass-heavy track became a full-on trend.
Rappers have long put their own spin on another artist's song, but "Beat Box" snowballed into a frenzy of derivatives like rap fans haven't seen in a while. After its first 2021 remix by DaBaby, "Beat Box 3," the song got new life with versions by Latto, Polo G, Renni Rucci, Lil Yachty, Calboy, Deante' Hitchcock, Dreezy, NLE Choppa and more.
The remix sensation shone a light on up-and-comer SpotemGottem, also giving hip-hop's competitive nature and borrowing culture an opportunity to thrive.
Pop-rap crossovers enjoyed chart-topping success this year, one prime example being Lizzo and Cardi B's "Rumors." The larger-than-life collaboration — which arrived with an equally extravagant video — peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Songs Chart, proving pop-rap collisions are a trend that is here to stay.
Rap and pop were this year's most popular genres on the app, a trend that doesn't seem to be slowing down going into 2022. Beginning with Erica Banks’ "Buss It" and continuing with fiery tracks like "I Am" by Baby Tate and Flo Milli, rap music once again dominated viral dances and challenges on TikTok.
One artist whose music has become a comfortable fixture on the app is Coi Leray, whose song "TWINNEM" elevated the #MeganKneesChallenge. Though the challenge was initially inspired by Mouse On Tha Track's "Knees Like Megan" (an homage to Megan Thee Stallion's indisputable twerking skills), the pulsing beat of "TWINNEM" helped the tune become the second soundtrack to the challenge.
Old Classics, New Hits
Recycling old classics into new hits is a typical win-win in hip hop, and it proved to be a successful formula again this year. Several 2021 rap hits were powered by nostalgic samples, such as Polo G's "Bad Man (Smooth Criminal)," borrowing Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal"; Drake and Young Thug's "Way 2 Sexy," sampling Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy"; and Moneybagg Yo's "Wockesha," using DeBarge's 1983 track "Stay With Me" — a song famously sampled “Foolish” by Ashanti, who was featured on a remix of "Wockesha."
While City Girls' "Twerkulator" first reached fans as a viral TikTok leak, the Afrika Bambaataa-nodding track emerged as one of the best sampling rap songs this year. Plagued by clearance issues, the song — which samples Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and interpolates lyrics from Cajmere's "Percolator" — didn't appear on City Girls' 2020 album, City on Lock. However, its official release in May of 2021, along with a Missy Elliott-directed music video, gave the twerkable anthem potential and served as the Miami duo's comeback hit following the release of their album.
While Atlanta and Houston have often stolen rap's southern spotlight, Kentucky and Tennessee-born players came through in a major way this year. Gritty street tales told with southern swagger resulted in albums like Moneybagg Yo’s A Gangster's Pain, EST Gee's Bigger Than Life Or Death, Pooh Shiesty's Shiesty Season and more.
A Gangster's Pain by Moneybagg Yo was a particular win for the southeastern region, earning the Memphis native his first-ever platinum-certified and Billboard 200 No. 1 album.
Women-powered collaborations have been a hip-hop mainstay for decades, but they arguably hit their commercial stride last year with the viral successes of songs like Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé's "Savage (Remix)" and Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP."
As female rappers continue to stake out more of their deserved territory in the genre, the trend continued this year, whether through raunchy raps or friendship-celebrating singles. One of these releases was BIA's "Whole Lotta Money (Remix)" featuring Nicki Minaj. Peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, the collaboration showed the potential for when a female rap veteran offers a helping hand to a burgeoning star.
Honorable Mention: Posthumous Albums
Though posthumous albums are not a flash-in-the-pan hip-hop trend, they were once again a somber necessity this year after the loss of several genre pillars. Always a bittersweet listen, posthumous efforts like Juice WRLD's Fighting Demons, Pop Smoke's Faith and MF DOOM's Super What? were a way for fans to hear what artists were working on and enjoy what they wanted us to enjoy.
One posthumous album that perfectly accomplished this was DMX's Exodus. While some posthumous works have been criticized for lacking completion and content, listeners could tell that Exodus was DMX's vision.
All but one collaboration, "Money Money Money" featuring Moneybagg Yo, were recorded prior to Dark Man X's passing, and the body of work he was so excited to release was pushed forward by his longtime friend and collaborator Swizz Beatz. With Exodus, a truly genre-shaking death was honored by a fitting and respectful tribute, which could influence future posthumous efforts for years to come.
Up Close & Personal: David Guetta On “Let’s Love” Ft. Sia, Creating in The COVID-19 Era & More
The GRAMMY-winning producer also chats about the soul music that inspires him, the benefits of working within limitations and more
GRAMMY-winning producer David Guetta is not content to rest on his success. In fact, he's taken the opportunity of being stuck at home during the current pandemic to experiment and explore new sounds.
In the latest episode of Up Close & Personal, the superstar chats with GRAMMY.com Editor-in-Chief Justin Dwayne Joseph about his new single “Let’s Love” featuring Sia, creating music in the COVID-19 era, and the soul music that inspires him.
Guetta talks about the amazing transformation "Let's Love" made from the slower ballad it was in the demo to the energetic dance record with an '80s vibe it became. He also goes deeper into the influence of soul music on house music and remembers back to his early days of discovering his love for funk and disco, tracing the way he developed his personal style from combining early electronic music with funk and boogie.
"That combination," he said, "became what I've done as a producer many years late, having a dark instrumental with a soulful vocal full of hope, and making feel-good music."
Find out more about what the two-time GRAMMY winner has been up to, how he views working within limitations and more in the video above.