Migos made their New York debut last night, headlining a live-streamed installment of Boiler Room’s Rap Life Player’s Ball series at Westway—a dank, unassuming waterside club on Manhattan’s West side. Having gained traction via catchy trap house anthem “Bando,” originally released last year, and recently received a national boost from Drake, who jumped onto the dizzying, boisterous single “Versace,” the Atlanta trio has been widely championed of late. Their infectious mixtape Young Rich Niggas made a big splash a few weeks ago with its urgent, unshakable hooks, and the event drew a mixed bunch of trendsetters: local rappers, producers, bloggers and a guy in a Marilyn Manson T-shirt were the first to arrive. The venue filled up as the evening went on, predominantly with dudes in bucket hats who came to party, and the majority of the night was filled with DJ sets, the most memorable among them from long-haired Canadian Tommy Kruise, whose seamlessly transitioned Yung Lean’s “Ginseng Strip” instrumental to Rich Homie Quan’s “Type of Way.”
With anticipation more than sufficiently built up, Quavo and TakeOff—currently operating as a duo while they await third member Offset’s release from jail—appeared, opening with Y.R.N.’s triumphant “Rich Then Famous.” Sporting sunglasses, gold chains and the same swaggy leather backpacks they toted to the FADER office this week, they looked more like they were en route to the airport than arriving at a momentous performance. Quavo and TakeOff are young and delightfully animated—they hopped along the catwalk, doling out daps and hollering “Free Offset.” They radiated energy as they rapped through high-voltage Y.R.N. tracks like “FEMA,” “Chinatown,” “Hannah Montana” and, of course, “Versace.” It was brief, but we got all the hits and no one seemed unsatisfied.
Migos are skillful rappers, and that translated onstage, but it’s likely that they could have stood around while their tracks played out and the crowd would have been just as inspired. The night wasn’t about evaluating their budding talent for performance, it was a chance to come within inches of the bourgeoning heavyweights behind the tracks stuck in our heads and looped on our laptops, to jump up and down shouting “Versace” over and over and add a nice little visual to the list of reasons we find Migos hard to resist.