The road to perfecting his sound.
2018 was the biggest year yet for the H-town artist that is Travis Scott. He released his highly anticipated third studio album ASTROWORLD, lead a sold-out world tour, and landed his first number one hit. This, however, didn’t happen overnight. Travis Scott first came onto the scene in 2013 with the release of Owl Pharaoh a 14-track debut mixtape that boasted features from Hip-Hop heavyweights A$AP Ferg, Wale, & Meek Mill among others.
Releasing under T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint and Epic Records, Owl Pharaoh‘s sound had a heavy Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak and MBTDF influence infused with a steady dose of Kid Cudi. Tracks like “Bad Mood Shit On You”, “Hell of a Night” & “16 Chapels” exemplify that influence perfectly.
While Owl Pharaoh was the introduction into the creative mind of Travis Scott, the following Summer 2014 release Days Before Rodeo was able to bridge that creativity with Travis’s H-Town upbringing, which Travis explained on his interview with Sway In The Morning.
Days Before Rodeo
In August of 2014, Travis Scott released his second mixtape Days Before Rodeo with features from Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug, Big Sean, Migos, Peewee Longaway, and The 1975, the project gave us a glimpse into the chart-topping potential that Travis had.
Days Before Rodeo was 10 tracks deep and saw Travis tap into a new realm both lyrically and production-wise. Tracks like “Mamacita” and “Sloppy Toppy” saw Travis infuse more Trap sounds, then we have tracks like “Drugs You Should Try”, “Sky Fall” and “Quintana Pt. 2” which provide more of a dark, psychedelic vibe. Overall, Days Before Rodeo showed Travis just tipping the iceberg of his trajectory all the while experimenting with different sounds.
After the release of two critically acclaimed mixtapes, Travis Scott was ready to unleash his 2015 debut album Rodeo to his growing fan base. Rodeo was an extension of Days Before Rodeo, with a mix of tracks ranging from ragers like “Nightcrawler” to introspective tracks like “Impossible”, “Apple Pie”, and “90210”. Rodeo also produced Travis’s first billboard Hot 100 hit in “Antidote”. Travis proved on his debut that he had hit-making ability, which is vital for an artist’s ultimate success.
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight
After the release of a successful debut, Travis took no time off and released his second studio album the following summer, with 2016’s Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight. With the early release of tracks “Pick Up The Phone” featuring Young Thug & Quavo and “Wonderful” featuring featuring The Weeknd, the hype for Travis’s sophomore album was through the roof.
Travis didn’t let fans down either with a diverse range of features including Andre 3000, Blac Youngsta, Kendrick Lamar, Nav, Kid Cudi, and Bryson Tiller. Birds In The Trap was an emotional roller coaster that provided a soundtrack for the highest of tides and our darkest moments. The Kid Cudi influence was still heavy on Travis’s sophomore album, on “Through The Late Night”, Travis interpolated Kid Cudi’s hit record “Day & Night”.
Travis’s hit-making ability continued to be on display as “Goosebumps”, “Beibs In The Trap”, and “Pick Up The Phone” all landed on the Billboard Hot 100. Travis was now a certified star in Hip-Hop.
Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho
Travis Scott continued to keep his gas on the pedal with the release of Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho with Quavo that dropped in December of 2017. The 13-track project was solid, but ultimately fans were waiting for the next solo Travis effort.
In August of 2018, Travis blessed fans with yet another project ASTROWORLD. Similar to Rodeo & Birds, Travis released two singles “Butterfly Effect” and “Watch” which created an insane amount of hype for the actual release of the album, though fans sat with the former for over a year. ASTROWORLD was the perfection of Travis Scott’s experimental sound with features from Drake, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, Swae Lee, James Blake, Gunna, Nav, 21 Savage, Juice Wrld, Quavo, Takeoff, Don Toliver, Phillip Bailey, and Sheck Wes.
Although not a perfect album, Travis was able to perfect his sound and carve his own lane in Hip-Hop.
ASTROWORLD sounded like nothing we’ve heard in Hip-Hop, except Kanye West’s 2008 808 & Heartbreaks. Travis infused similar sounds that Ye’ used on that project on ASTROWORLD. Tracks like “Stop Trying To Be God”, “Astrothunder”, & “Skeletons” all beautifully mix pop, rock and Hip-Hop sounds.
These days it’s rare that year after year an artist can provide us with quality work, but Travis has done just that and I believe he will continue to do so in the future. Today take some time out and revisit the best Travis Scott project below.