Audacious, haphazard and absurd, Quavo Huncho is a debut solo album in name only. At its core, the project is a Quavo-curated playlist. Madonna inexplicably raps over a trap beat with Cardi B on “Champagne Rosé,” Drake continues to say nothing but sound effortlessly cool while doing it and Travis Scott outperforms his frequent collaborator on “Rerun” after years of getting washed. It’s nonsensical in the way most popular rap music is in the streaming age.
After years of mounting pressure from fans and the industry, Quavo’s first full-length foray into solo artistry has an ironic aftertaste. At the height of Quavo-mania in 2017, the Migos frontman commanded 11 percent of the Billboard Hot 100. No song was safe from his Auto-Tuned, slurred melodies. Every video beamed with his diamond-encrusted smile. What Lil Wayne was to the late aughts, Quavo was to a new generation. Instead of being a monument to one of pop’s leading voices, Quavo Huncho is a testament to how far his groupmates, contemporaries and pupils have come in closing the talent gap.
The most glaring theft of a song comes courtesy of Quality Control labelmate and spiritual successor, Lil Baby. On “Lose It,” Baby raps with an energetic determination that makes Quavo sound like he’s trapped in molasses. “Lime Lamborghini sittin’ pretty, that’s Cardi / Blue Lamborghini Diablo, gon’ Offset’s / Havin’ talks in the Wraith, ’bout to Takeoff,” might just be the best couplet of bars on the entire album. Similarly, Takeoff’s “Keep That Shit” verse continues to prove he’s the true North Star, artistically and skill-wise, of Migos.
Amusingly, Quavo also finds himself going toe-to-toe with another prolific hook maestro: Kid Cudi. Surprisingly, the Cleveland rapper decides to enter Quavo’s world on “Lost,” adopting a trap-inspired flow. The change of pace and flow suits Cudi, not to mention “hit the road for my sanity, this how it fuckin’ goes in my galaxy,” is an amazingly slick way to help close out an album.
Quavo Huncho is a charming and scattered affair, but Quavo seems alright with that fact. In a recent GQ interview, the Atlanta crooner shared that he hasn’t honed in on the “just Quavo” sound yet. “I’ll learn from my fans when I drop my album,” he explained. “I’ma just work hard, being the hardest working person on everything, leader, the Huncho, so that’s what you already know what you got coming. I need answers from my fans now. I can’t answer everything.”
Hopefully, the answer includes more Cudi and an extended and rejuvenating break.