Five hours with the wildest rap group in the world.

Quavo wears all clothing PRADA and skiing goggles FENDI available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.
Offset wears all clothing PRADA and skiing goggles GUCCI available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.
Takeoff wears all clothing PRADA and sunglasses vintage VERSACE available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.

Sometimes we all get carried away with an idea. I turn up to a London hotel armed with three pages of questions and as many days of research crackling in my brain. I’m three hours late, but when you’re interviewing rappers, I’ve learnt that’s like arriving early enough to rewrite your entire interrogation. I’m confident and ready to play hard ball with the Migos, the rappers who always seem to land on top no matter how many times they fall from grace.

Then, reality hits. Don’t you hate it when that happens? As predicted, the suite is still Migos-free three hours after call time and once I’ve said hello to the small army of people on set, I’m pulled into an adjoining conference room to negotiate which of my questions I’m actually allowed to pose. I’m telling you this not because I’m bitter about being short changed, although I was left with less than 10 of my meticulously planned digs for information, but because the plan was to uncover the past, present and future of Migos.

Made up of cousins, Offset and Quavo, and Quavo’s nephew, Takeoff, Migos have been making music together for so long they’ve gone through three group names already. There’s stories to be told in there, and secrets. But despite most of their lives being played out online (in part, thanks to the tabloids’ obsession with Cardi B, who’s engaged and pregnant with Offset) and renewed scandals almost weekly, you might be better off attempting to infiltrate the Mafia than trying to dissect the family unit’s history face to face.

(LEFT) Quavo wears coat and trousers LIAM HODGES, boots GIVENCHY, top CHRISTIAN DADA, belt JESSIE WESTERN, lasso rope VERSACE and hat ASTRID ANDERSEN.
(RIGHT) Quavo wears all clothing PRADA and skiing goggles FENDI available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.

The Atlanta collective behind number one albums 2017’s Culture and January 2018’s Culture II, how far back you want to go into the Migos heritage depends just how much of a hip hop head you are. Let’s settle on their 2013 single “Versace” from the Y.R.N. mixtape, as the release that won them widespread global recognition. You know the one: Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace. Repeat. Largely attributed with starting “the dab” — what a gift — at least in part, in 2015 they became even more inescapable with “Look At My Dab”. By the time 2016’s “Bad and Boujee” landed, the collective was immortalised in Instagram captions the world over.

I’m not allowed to travel that far back though. I’m not allowed to ask why they left 300 Entertainment in 2015, just after they released their debut album, Yung Rich Nation. I’m definitely not allowed to ask about Offset’s period spent incarcerated around the same time. Any of their problematic lyrics are a no-go zone, even though they’ve been cause for the trio to be called out by the public, demanding explanations and apologies that have most often, I’m sorry to say, fallen flat. I’ll leave you to decide if they ever redeemed themselves.

My pass permits questions about the present and future only. What I am allowed to do is wait for the Migos and while I do, I drink no less than seven coffees and I stew, planning my best aim for throwing in some curveballs. Somewhere, two floors above us, the three are sleeping after a studio allnighter. As the fashion industry is stereotypically inclined to do, the room starts buzzing with gossip in the interim. I hear they flew in on a private jet, brimming with cash and weed. They apparently hire a guy to carry the aforementioned necessities within a reachable distance at all times and supposedly a private chef won a coveted spot on the chartered flight, bringing them into town for a headline set at Brixton Academy; a show they were late for as they were allegedly perusing Selfridges. I don’t believe any of it, until slowly they start filtering downstairs. Yawning and glinting in the late afternoon light, you smell the Migos before you see them.

Quavo wears jacket and trousers GIVENCHY, top JULIEN MACDONALD and sunglasses OLIVER’S ARCHIVE.
Offset wears coat BLOOD BROTHER, jumper NEIL BARRETT and sunglasses OLIVER’S ARCHIVE.
Takeoff wears jacket JULIEN MACDONALD, trousers HAIDER ACKERMANN.

Offset is the first to make the journey to us, wafting a fragrant cloud of weed smoke with him that’s more Amsterdam designer strain than £20 bag skunk. Quavo follows maybe half an hour later. They’re both dripping in jewels and wads of $100 bills secured in money clips poke out from their pockets. If you asked a child to draw a rapper, they’d offer up picture perfect portraits of them both. Two bodyguards flank them like the American Mitchell brothers if they ate gravel for breakfast washed down with cement. As for that rumoured private chef? He floats in, carrying burgers above his head.

Takeoff is missing and remains that way until 7pm, but we’re so relieved to have two thirds of the group we crack on. Fittings last 10 minutes and every look is inaugurated and celebrated with a thick, pungent blunt. Someone from team Migos runs upstairs to retrieve a three storey chest of diamond goodies like glittering pick ‘n’ mix, except this selection would turn your teeth into crunchy pop rocks dust. Offset slips on his “trap house” chain, complete with a functioning door that hides a bag of bejewelled cash behind it. Someone leaves a money clip of hundreds on the marble countertop. Someone else watching slips it into a Louis Vuitton pouch for safekeeping. The scent in the room gets heavier and Quavo is jumping around the place, dazzling under fluorescent lights, singing like a jester dressed in the crown jewels. We listen to their own music all day, a decision I’m unsure who made. If it was them; ballsy. If it was our team; bit cringe. “Walk It Talk It” — their undeniably catchy collaboration with Drake, that’s led to the “Aubrey and The Three Amigos Tour” across North America this June — whirls on a loop. Watching them rap their own words in real time makes normal life feel very far away.

When cut is called on the shoot and it’s time for us to talk, any hope I had of shoehorning in extra enquiries is evaporated. You don’t move the Migos once you have all of them in one room and we’re speaking in front of an audience of 20. It’s almost a blessing in disguise I wasn’t allowed to grapple any of the big questions. I’m high as hell. Sorry, Mum.

I’m sat bleary-eyed opposite the biggest rap group in the world. I can string a sentence together, but only because they’ve been pre-prepared. Maybe it’s the second hand smoke softening me, but as they answer my questions like a frenetic choir, each with their allotted solo, it seems maybe the walls guarding Migos are designed to leave the past as just that.

(LEFT) Offset wears all clothing PRADA and skiing goggles GUCCI available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.
(RIGHT) Takeoff wears jacket JULIEN MACDONALD, trousers HAIDER ACKERMANN, belt WOLFE CHAINZ and sunglasses vintage VERSACE available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.

Quavo: Come on in closer baby, come closer. Long day?

For you maybe, not for me!

Q: You gotta keep you a blunt on reserve.

I’m gonna be so high when this is over…

Q: It’s new Amsterdam.

Amsterdam ruined me so good luck, if I don’t make sense anymore just say. So how was the show?

Offset: LIT.
Q: The show was crazy. Every time we come to London, it’s fun-don.
Takeoff: Brixton Academy? Yeah it was wild. It was crazy, they showed major love.
O: Yes sir, we in the… What they call the clock?

Big Ben?

Q: Yeah the Big Ben way.

So guys, it’s a family business, did you take it seriously from day one? I know you started rapping when you were basically kids…

(All of Migos break into a impromptu rendition of their track “Since Day 1”.)
Q: Since the very first day, you know what I’m saying? We had other avenues and lanes and we switching, you dig? But we always knew this lane will be the best lane and change, we changed the game.
T: It’s always been clear, other lanes had traffic in it, this, this lane was traffic free.
Q: I got scoliosis ‘cause I swerved the lane.

How about the first time you felt like you could do this as a job, do you remember that?

T: First person ever told us who could do it is this man right here (Quavo).
Q: And our Mommas.

You guys have been doing this for a while now. How do you think you’ve changed since you started out?

Q: Ain’t nuttin’ changed but a lil’ change, a little pocket change.
O: Only thing we changed, we changed the culture of everything, everything we touch, we put out our hands to, get turnin’ into robots (robot noises).
Q: We more humble, we graduated, you know what I’m saying? We elevated, we’re blessed, continue to be blessed.
T: We’re smarter.
Q: With a lil’ bit of change.
T: More creativity.
O: More brain smart.
Q: Last but not least, more music.

You’re at the top of the game now but your lyrics are very aspirational. Where are you getting inspiration from?

Q: We dig deep into the timeless, timeless, timeless music that’s been brought upon us before. We listen and analyse that. We grew up listening to that so it’s already instilled in our head to be great leaders and musicians; leaders of the new culture and the new sound.

Has there ever been a time, before you were successful, when you thought about doing something else?

O: There’s three of us, so there’s always someone to catch you when you tryna fall and pick you back up, so we never give up. I got two brothers.

Did you ever let yourselves imagine you were gonna get to this level, if quitting was never an option?

O: You know you imagine it and you keep imagining it, there’s no point of limitations, so you keep just going and going.
Q: But you gotta picture me rollin’.
T: Picture me rollin’.

Takeoff wears jumper BLOOD BROTHER, jacket MARTINE ROSE, trousers LIAM HODGES, boots GIVENCHY and belt VERSACE.
Offset wears trousers and jacket DANIEL W. FLETCHER, jumper CHIN MENS, boots GIVENCHY and sunglasses vintage VERSACE available at THE VINTAGE TRAP.

When you guys were starting, what was Atlanta like, did you feel supported?

Q: You know, coming from the north, they embraced us, we all represent the state of Georgia and we all from the south so we all support each other. Chest out ready to roll.
O: (Sings) The south gon’ hold it down.

I’ve read in your earlier days, your show at Beer and Tacos in ATL was a turning point, why was that?

Q: That’s one of the clubs we came in and startin’ up. Trinidad James was one of the first ones who pulled up on us, and rocked out with us. Shout out to Trinidad. Like I said, from the south we always linked in together and always representing and supporting each other.

Why that specific club, why was it so important to draw that crowd in?

Q: That crowd was like that hipster crowd. It was the new wave, the new wave of people making music poppin’. It was the streets but it wasn’t. It was all diverse, moving around and hanging out in the same spots but also hanging out with different races and different kinda kids. Now they found their own spots, it’s kind of like how the grime scene is, everyone hanging about in their own spots and we the ones who’s blown’ it up, so we all blew up together. The clubs, the community and that’s what we call the culture. There’s so many different feels and lanes but we all come together and listen to the same music.
O: You got the skateboard kids, the basketball players, it’s not like how it was back in the day, everybody is welcome. Everyone got that same feel and that’s that crowd you want.

What do you think it is about current rap, hip-hop and trap that’s so appealing to so many different kinds of people? You’re the new rockstars.

O: It’s another world that people are very interested in, they’ve never experienced it, they want to be a part of it and it’s fun.
Q: It was always like that. I feel like growing up, people had to listen to what their parents had to listen to. I think now parents can’t do nothing but accept, back then you could get whoopings and get your CDs taken, but now you don’t even get in trouble anymore. All the kids feeling whatever they wanna feel and they’re experiencing a new world and our music.

Is that what motivates you guys to make music, creating a world? What drives you?

T: We’ve got a family to feed.
O: Our feelings, because someone else can feel that same way.
Q: We get the fuel off the fans, we love dropping music and seein’ what the fans think.

(LEFT) Quavo wears jacket and trousers GIVENCHY, top JULIEN MACDONALD and sunglasses OLIVER’S ARCHIVE.
(RIGHT) Offset wears coat BLOOD BROTHER.

Do you remember the first time you realised you were famous and had fans?

O: Nah, we try not to get caught up in that, we try to work on our craft and our work. It’s obvious we don’t focus on it, we just focus on the music, if you get lost in that then you un-famous.

What does it mean to you guys to have number ones?

O: Trophies! It’s like goals, you know what I’m saying? It’s something to strive for, it’s like the championship. Like, you wanna win the championship? That championship team gotta have number ones, singles, albums, it’s everything.

“Walk It Talk It” is already a huge hit and that 70s soul train video is genius. The outfits! The roller skating! Where did the idea come from?

T: Membrane!
Q: Came from the brain, it came from the head. Ever since “T-shirt”, we’ve been hands on with our direction and especially me, myself and Daps, but I feel like we get together and collectively create. We try to create big videos, we grew up looking at videos and movies and people don’t put artists in movies no more, so we try to put movies and music together so they’re one. So when you hear a track, you see the movie at the same time, you see everybody try to copy the wave and do crazy videos, out they mind videos, out the box-type videos, but you won’t be doing it better than the Migos.

What kind of music videos do you remember leaving an impact?

O: Michael Jackson, a lot of MJ videos, he used to make his videos like movies. There would be a skit, acting in the video, and it’s like 12 minutes long. Cinematic.
Q: Yeah like they used to put their rap friends, their actor friends in the video. I like doing that. I like putting people that don’t rap in videos, like how we got Jamie Foxx in the video, we trying to bring the actors back to our field.

How did you get Jamie Foxx? Who made that call?

Q: That’s our boy, ya dig? Hit him on the phone, hit the Foxx.

You guys are taking a bigger role in the direction and you’re thinking, like you said, about films, right?

Q: Like I said our videos make us want to do movies, we’re ready to do roles, we’re just showing them in videos right now… Can’t let you know but watch HBO. There you go.

Finally, I have to ask, what do you want to be remembered for?

Q: Just the greatest group of all time. One of the greatest groups of all time, there’s a lot of GOATs. Kobe the greatest of all time, but when LeBron retires he’s the greatest of all time, like when Michael Jordan retires he’s the greatest of all time. It can be multiples, but we want to hold that position of like top five, top three, ya dig? That’s all. And bless the world, keep God first and a connection with the community, bless the youth, keep growing the youth and keep making good music — hot music — that’s all we do it for, we love the kids.
T: Ya dig?

Taken from the Summer 2018 Issue; out now and available to buy here.

Quavo wears jacket and trousers GIVENCHY, top JULIEN MACDONALD and sunglasses OLIVER’S ARCHIVE.
Offset wears coat BLOOD BROTHER, jumper NEIL BARRETT and sunglasses OLIVER’S ARCHIVE.
Takeoff wears jacket JULIEN MACDONALD, trousers HAIDER ACKERMANN.

Laura Marie Cieplik
Lily Walker
Joe Pickering using NARS Cosmetics
Photography assistants
Zuzanna Zuonly and Melody Berkery
Fashion assistants
Rosie Sykes, Celia Arias and Tesa Pavic
With thanks to
The Rosewood Hotel London