Las Vegas has been making noise in the music world in recent years thanks to an update of its entertainment model. The Strip’s resident headliners have gotten younger and more relevant, with several different pop artists proving you don’t have to be a legacy act to fill a big theater throughout the year. Gwen Stefani just debuted at Zappos Theater, and Lady Gaga will do the same at Park Theater in December.
But there’s a different type of headliner that’s being overlooked—chart-topping artists who typically don’t get categorized with their fellow Strip stars. They’re selling out a smaller but still big entertainment venue, and they’re as musically relevant as the others—quite cutting-edge, in fact. These are the residents at Drai’s Nightclub and no, they’re not DJs. They’re the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B, and they’re performing full concerts on a weekly basis.
At the moment, there’s no name bigger than Migos. Even among Drai’s stellar resident roster of rappers (Big Sean, Future, G-Eazy, Rae Sremmurd, T.I., Wiz Khalifa and newest additions Pusha T and Meek Mill), the ubiquitous Georgia trio of Offset, Takeoff and Quavo stands out. Migos didn’t just take over hip-hop with viral single “Bad and Boujee” in late 2016. As Pitchfork put it, Migos “infiltrated the mainstream without going pop; instead, pop had gone Migos.” The group reached a new level of cultural saturation in May, when Donald Glover, Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd portrayed them in a riotous Saturday Night Live sketch called “Friendos.” If you missed it, hit YouTube immediately.
In the past week alone, Migos won the Best Group Award (and performed current hit singles “Stir Fry” and “Walk It Talk It”) at the BET Awards and snagged the Vanguard Award at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards gala. Sprawling January album Culture II—its 24 tracks clock in around 105 minutes—has been hailed as an experimental evolution of the Migos sound, and if that isn’t enough output for you, there’s also a constant stream of guest appearances. Two of the year’s most epic hip-hop tracks contain direct Migos contributions and even more influence: Glover’s “This Is America” (as Childish Gambino) and “Apesh*t,” the lead single from Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s surprise album, Everything Is Love.
Next month, Migos will kick off a combo tour with Drake that promises to be one of the hottest music events in the country throughout the summer and fall, even though it’s a more expensive ticket ($189 vs. $178) than the Beyoncé-Jay On the Run II tour, according to a recently released TickPick list.
That demand makes Migos’ shows at Drai’s an even more significant experience. After all, isn’t the current Vegas headliner model based on the opportunity to see favorite artists who can sell out arena-sized facilities in a more intimate and exclusive environment?
MIGOS June 30, 10:30 p.m., $60-$85. Drai’s Nightclub, 702-777-3800.