The hip-hop trio Migos first emerged in the game with their hit Zaytoven-produced single “Versace” when superstar rapper Drake remixed the track, providing a tremendous boost in recognition. Since then, the group has continued to find success and reached a career high with the release of their second studio album “Culture.” The success of the album was largely due to the popularity of the lead single “Bad and Boujee,” which featured rapper Lil Uzi Vert. While “Culture” propelled Migos to become the latest craze in hip-hop, the group failed to capitalize on their wave with follow-up project “Culture II.”
Within Migos, Takeoff always seemed to take a backseat as the group gained recognition. The rapper even became the butt of a joke when “Bad and Boujee” took off and he did not have a verse when featured artist Lil Uzi Vert did. The two other members of the group, Quavo and Offset, have generally found more success outside of the group in their solo efforts. In 2017, Offset released a collaborative album with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin. Quavo has always been considered the stand out in the group due to his frequent collaborations with a variety of artists. Finally getting the chance to shine outside of his role in Migos, Takeoff released his debut solo album “The Last Rocket” Nov. 2.
Rarely venturing outside of the group, fans were uncertain of what a solo Takeoff album would sound like. Prior to the release Takeoff had only two solo singles “Intruder” and “Last Memory,” the latter being the lead single for the album. The project opens on a high note with the track “Martian,” a DJ Durel-produced track that embraces the album title and the rapper’s stage name. The song features a dialogue reminiscent of preparation of a rocket ship taking off, which ultimately concludes with a countdown launching listeners into the album. Takeoff explodes into the track with a catchy hook over an 808 heavy minimalist beat which concludes with the line “Takeoff, I’m outta here, Marvin.” The simple but creative line utilizes a play on words related to his own name and the Looney Tunes character Marvin the Martian, tying back into the title of the track.
The album transitions seamlessly into the second track “She Gon Wink” as DJ Durel lends his production for another song. I could not help but roll my eyes when I first heard Quavo being featured on this track. “The Last Rocket” comes soon after Quavo’s extremely underwhelming debut solo album. While at first I was disappointed to hear the front man of Migos make an appearance on Takeoff’s opportunity to stand out, I was pleasantly surprised with his performance. Quavo comes through to do what he does best, providing an autotune infused hook and guest verse. With this appearance coming fresh off the release of his own solo album it displays the truth behind Quavo’s craft, he is best in small doses.
A creative and comical moment on the album comes on the track “None to Me.” The song features an audio clip from the FBE YouTube video “Elders React to Migos.” “The fame, the money, the cars, the sexual glory that goes with all of that apparently. It was represented in this,” Mark, a participant in the video, said in the clip.
Through the lyrical content in the song, it appears that Takeoff is fully embracing these comments as he openly explores similar themes. Another highlight on the album is the song “I Remember,” produced by prominent hip-hop beat maker Murda Beatz. Takeoff reflects on the drug dealing era in his life as he lyrically paints a picture of his life on the streets for the listeners.
The clear stand out on the album is “Infatuation,” a track that caught me by surprise. The song diverges from the trap style Takeoff usually associates with and embraces an ’80s and ’90s R&B feel. The song is produced by Masked Man and features vocalist Dayytona Fox whose performance evokes the nostalgic feel perfectly. This is a love song through and through, and it comes naturally to the traditionally trap MC. While it strays from his typical genre, Takeoff displays his versatility in his artistry on this pop and R&B influenced track.
In his first solo effort Takeoff delivered a cohesive and high quality album proving that he can stand on his own outside of the group. While he delivered consistent trap content with the lyrical flow that makes him the artist he is, he also experimented with his sound and displayed a more diverse musical ability than he has shown thus far. “The Last Rocket” ultimately displays what many have speculated for some time, that Takeoff is the best rapper in the popular hip-hop trio.