INTERVIEW: NYU Student Tells Us What He Learned In Migos' Culture Class
By Isha Thorpe
January 29, 2017
On Saturday (Jan. 28), Migos hosted a Culture course at New York University and from the way it was trending on social media, it sounded lit.
Fans of the rap group first got wind of the trap-styled educational experience earlier this week. On their social media, Migos announced that they would be hosting the course at NYU’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center. Unsurprisingly, as soon as this was revealed, tickets for the event sold out almost immediately. Students of NYU, as well as non-students who are just fans of the rap group, copped seats and were ready to be taught a thing or two from the group's Takeoff and Quavo (Offset couldn’t make it).
This course was all in support of Migos’ newly released Culture album, which was released on Friday (Jan. 27). So, not only did the group gift their fans with new music. But, they dropped some science about their personal style and influences, too. Word, Migos? Two gifts at the same time? We're feeling how you blessed your fans Dat Way.
Wanting to get the 411 on the hip hop lesson, iHeartRadio decided to interview attendee of the class and former NYU student, Maxalan Vickers. Laptops, drop tops and all, class was in session!
Check out iHeartRadio’s interview with the Migos’ Culture student below.
Give me some background on yourself. Are you a NYU student? Are you a fan of Migos, and rap in general?
I'm 25 years old and was born and raised in Perry, Georgia. I attended Morehouse from 2009-2013 and NYU from 2013-2015 for my Master's in Financial Engineering. I'm a devout trap music fan and happened to go to school in Atlanta during the prime trap era of artists like Gucci Mane, Future, and Migos.
What were NYU students’ reactions when they first found out that Migos was going to be teaching a class there? Do you know how that event came to happen?
I have no idea how it came to fruition. But my younger NYU friends who are still there were very excited about it. Migos has finally become fully mainstream…thanks to “Bad And Boujee” and Childish Gambino's shoutout at the Golden Globes.
What were all the things Migos spoke about?
They spoke about everything from clothes and jewelry to their newfound influence on global pop culture and their musical influences such as Outkast, Gucci Mane, T.I. etc. They also talked about sticking to their own ways of creating music, and how they just go in the booth and make tracks in less than a few hours.
Did Migos' make any good points? Did they say any things that stuck with you?
Quavo, who spoke the most, made a lot of good points about staying true to yourself. He mentioned how he mixed and mastered all of Culture and directed the 'T-Shirt' video and it felt good to have full control of their product, rather than hiring outside mixers or video directors. ‘It feels great to see something of your own at the top of the charts,’ [he said] in reference to the Culture album.
Was there anything that shocked you in the class?
Quavo and Takeoff actually came onstage with stacks of money in their pockets. During one question about money, they pulled out stacks that had to be upwards $100,000 and just had it sitting on stage under them at one point.
Did they describe their personal style or influences? How so?
They described their influences [from] Atlanta artists such as Outkast, Gucci Mane, and T.I. Quavo mentioned Gucci was the one who first gave the Migos a chance and Gucci was his favorite rapper. They also mentioned [that] when they lay tracks, they don't leave the booth until [they’re] fully done. Takeoff said it [might] take them 30 seconds to come up with a hook after hearing the beat.
Walking in there, what did you expect to learn from the class?
I'm not sure what I expected. I think I just expected them to be as honest as they could be about the trajectory their careers were taking with the newfound global fame (the video from their concert in Nigeria was wild). Maybe [speak] of the effects of Atlanta on black culture in general?
What did you actually learn from the class?
I learned how much money Migos was really making. Quavo talked about his $100,000 watch he was wearing and also [said] that he bought a $2.1 million house. But, I did appreciate hearing them speak about how much they appreciate Atlanta DJs and Atlanta radio. They mentioned how a lot of music debuts in Atlanta first and it takes a while to reach the rest of the country. They went from paying DJs to play their music to now having the #1 album and song in the country.
What was the overall message the group taught?
I think the overall message was to just find your lane in doing something you love and with the right timing, anyone can make it big. Quavo said it never feels like a job to go into the studio and make music because it's what he loves, and he loves working on his craft for the fans. Takeoff talked about how no matter his emotions; angry, happy, sad, etc., he takes that into the booth and expresses it there. That's his outlet.
Is there anything else about the course that you want to add?
My favorite parts of the event -- besides Migos speaking -- included receiving a pencil and notepad as we walked in, which gave the real feeling of going to a class. Also, the Culture album was played over speakers while we waited and we frequently sang along to the lyrics in our seats. Migos took every opportunity to drop their ad-libs in their answers like 'Dat Way,' 'Mama,' 'Skrt-Skrt,' etc. The crowd and myself really loved how they stayed true to themselves. [Also] after being asked ‘Which non hip hop artist would you all like to work with?’ Quavo said Lady Gaga. (laughs)
Photo: Getty Images