About Quality Control
The coasts aren’t what they used to be, at least for hip-hop music. There’s a strong argument to be made that in the 2000s, the genre’s center of gravity shifted to Georgia’s capital. And in the 2010s, the focal point of Atlanta rap moved to the studios of the label collective Quality Control. Founders Coach K (born Kevin Lee in Indianapolis in 1970) and Pee (born Pierre Thomas in Atlanta in 1981) launched the enterprise in 2013 as a vehicle for the one-of-a-kind trio Migos, whose triplet flow and effortless ad-libs would promptly redefine the sound of hip-hop music worldwide. Heirs to the legacy of rapping royalty like Outkast, T.I., Ludacris, and Gucci Mane, Quality Control took the city’s trunk-rattling 808 kicks and skeletal hi-hats and, aided by producers like Zaytoven and Metro Boomin, blew them up to larger-than-life proportions. At the same time, they took Southern trap’s hard-boiled lyricism and whittled it down to the bare minimum. In a song like “We the Ones,” from the crew’s 2017 debut compilation, Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 1, a three-syllable hook might convey as much as a dozen bars from a more traditional rapper (augmented, of course, by a well-timed “skrrt” or “brrt”). In ensuing years they’ve added rappers like Lil Yachty and Lil Baby to the roster, staying true to the streets and strip clubs of the ATL while maintaining an almost obsessive focus on—what else?—quality over quantity.