Migos has never been shy about getting straight to the cash. But the Atlanta-based trio has ascended to rockstar status in the #BlackLivesMatter era, and audiences will be looking for every reason to read closer into the lyrics of their new music video for “What’s The Price” (off their 2017 album C U L T U R E). In the video, head “Huncho” Quavo hops around a junkyard with an electric guitar, a drug deal goes awry in a biker bar, and producer Zaytoven makes a cameo with a Keytar.
In 2017 alone, Migos has ambitiously released five music videos for tracks featured on C U L T U R E, with backdrops ranging from an orchestral amphitheater (“Deadz” ft. 2Chainz) to a snow-packed alpine mountain range (“T-Shirt”). Still, “What’s The Price” is their most thought-provoking video project this year, if not for the outlandish outfit design, then for the racial binary that seems to charge the loose narrative. The namesake lines, dripped in auto-tune over a mournful Zaytoven melody, makes us wonder: what’s the price of what? The easy answer is drugs, which has always been one of the groups’ favorite talking points, or it could refer to the sacrifices and spoils of fame; Quavo left high-school early to pursue his music career, Offset served an eight month prison sentence in 2015. However, as the video seems to suggest, the price that we all pay is the gulf between cultures, which we see resulting in violence and hostility.
Entering a biker bar swagged out in their own patch-studded leather jackets, the trio turns heads as they take stools at the bar. Bearded white brutes crack their knuckles before the first drink is poured, and when a white skinhead doesn’t deliver on the dough (or the “Mona Lisa”), a brawl ignites. In the final shot Migos leaves the bar with the modelesque bartender, their biker foes scattered across the floor after a few bottles to the head.
Migos has never been a political act, having instead gravitated towards meme-ready party bangers such as “Versace” (2013),”Fight Night” (2014), and “Look at my Dab” (2015). But the music video for their chart topping “Bad and Boujee” was a melange of “high” and “low” culture, as the rap trio courted models to a fast food joint, and drank Armand de Brignac Champagne next to buckets of fried chicken and Chanel take-out boxes. In “What’s The Price” the group uses themselves as the contrast material: far from the streets of ATL, they’ve infiltrated the milieu of “white trash” and, in the end, leave victorious, regardless of the suspect circumstances. As Quavo raps in the video, “You can read between the lines.”
Written by John Lawson