November 30, 2023

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Quavo / Takeoff: Only Built for Infinity Links Album Review

In 2018, Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff reached the point where the only thing more impressive than succeeding together would be dominating apart. Eager to divide and conquer, each member of the Migos released a solo album. Every record had its moments, but none—not Quavo’s QUAVO HUNCHO or Takeoff’s The Last Rocket from 2018, nor Offset’s Father of 4 from 2019—came close to the best Migos material, if only because the trio work so much better as a unit. Takeoff benefited most from charting his own path outside the group’s gravitational pull. Beyond the flexes, it was the little anecdotes that beefed up The Last Rocket: being forced to move drugs during the winter, grappling with stage fright as a superstar. Quavo’s solo outing did the opposite, indulging his worst habits. “If I went a little personal,” he later admitted to GQ, “I think my album would’ve been a little bit better.”

Only Built for Infinity Links, the new collaboration from Quavo and Takeoff sans Offset, functions like a Migos album with lower stakes and without a consistent third voice. It succumbs to the same monotony and bloat that plagued the last two Migos albums, yet stands as proof that young rich niggas bring out the best in each other. Allegedly approved by Raekwon and named after his 1995 mafioso-rap epic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Infinity Links’ similarities to the Wu-Tang classic don’t stop at the title. Both albums are steeped in the paranoia and excess of the drug trade, using it to emphasize the platonic bonds at their centers: friends Raekwon and Ghostface on Cuban Linx and uncle Quavo and nephew Takeoff on Infinity Links. But the mood on Infinity Links is less insular and more celebratory. After its hokey intro, opener “Two Infinity Links” turns into an intense baton-passing session over producer Buddah Bless’ rousing 808s. It’s exhilarating to hear the duo switch flows and drop ad-libs as they recall their early days; “Two Infinity Links” deserves to demolish car subwoofers and concert venue floors the same way “T-Shirt” and “What the Price” did back in 2017.

As a pair, Quavo and Takeoff follow one another’s lead. If one comes to the track with malleable flows, the other holds it down with something sturdier. Sometimes, they take the same approach but play with syllable count and timing. On “See Bout It,” Quavo’s strip club-ready rhymes sputter and stop unexpectedly while Takeoff’s verse anchors the song. On “To the Bone,” they trade roles: Takeoff bends time and crams syllables into tight spaces, while Quavo’s sing-songy raps adhere to the rhythm like a roller coaster car to the track.

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