There are not many artists who can announce an album a week before it’s release and create the amount of hype that Travis Scott has. A true original, and modern day rockstar, the nocturnal, dark and highly expressive sounds of his 2 solo albums are both contagious and transporting. Much like the teaser trailers Travis produces, his LP’s have been gripping and intricate. I enjoyed both of these records, especially Rodeo, way more than I thought I would, so I went into this album with high expectations.
Named after a Heuston amusement park, where the 26 year old is from, Astroworld is an album where the stakes are high. Unlike other big name rap releases this summer, like Kanye West’s ‘Ye’ and J. Cole’s ‘K.O.D’, it feels as if this is a career defining moment for Travis Scott, and one that needs to fulfil his credentials as well as please the fans.
Travis Scott is unwilling to hold back on the opener ‘Stargazing’. The track includes one of his famous beat switches, giving you 2 songs for the price of one. Previously, this has been an element of Travis’ game that has been heavily criticised, but here it works promisingly, diverting your mind to another part of this multi-textured galaxy Scott aims to soundscape.
The album has an incredibly impressive feature and production list too, the variation of artists makes for an eclectic and fluctuating set of beats, which works more often than not. From Kevin Parker, to Thundercat, and even James Blake, Scott opts for an unconventional mix of musicians to work on the album. Their influences manufacture and evolve this psychedelic trap sound Travis wanted to master on his previous two albums.
‘No Bystanders’ has a distinctive influence of Three 6 Mafia, but Travis gentrifies this early 2000s hip hop and R&B sound by adding Sheck Wes’ ‘Bitch’ adlibs and the Heuston rapper’s universal auto tuned vocals. It is one of the harder songs on the record, and will only add to the energy of his world famous live show. All of the tracks on here are so diverse, but so succinct at the same time. The transition from ‘Wake Up’, an acoustic ode to Tame Impala, to ‘5% Tint’ works hideously well, and is one of the best examples of the richness the LP has to offer.
As always with Travis Scott, it is his lyricism that weakens the album. This therefore makes the record rely on its heavy feature list to back up the elegant, enlightening and enigmatic beats. Don’t get me wrong, this does sound like a Travis LP, but it could have just done with a little more of him. ‘Who? What?’ Is one of my favourite tracks on the record, the purity of his Texan connection with producer Mike Dean sparkling, but creating a devilish, ghastly and beautifully horrifying transition into lead single ‘Butterfly Effect’.
The attention to detail on this album is undeniable. Travis has worked hard to take you to a new world; one that is so different, so devastating and so delicate compared to what any rapper has done this year. A 17 track record is often both boring and daunting for listeners, especially as people are increasingly confining themselves to one dimensional Soundcloud rap tracks that barely reach 2 minutes. However, Travis is an artist who has been heard and will certainly continue to be so after this album. He has consolidated a new aesthetic and set himself apart from the rest, invest some time into this album and you will love it.