Travis Scott fails to use momentum from debut
By Matthew Gozzip Athletics Editor
Travis Scott may have wings on the cover of his latest album, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight,” but his music never takes off to new heights.
A dark prince in the growing trap industry, Scott held tremendous momentum coming off the release of his first album, “Rodeo,” a project that garnered critical acclaim as well as mainstream appeal.
Scott’s eccentric personality, prodigal prowess in production, and list of features comprised of trap music royalty (Future, Chief Keef, Young Thug, Swae Lee) rocketed the Houston artist to near the top of the industry.
Scott was poised to take the next step into the upper echelon of rap artists with “Birds,” a quick follow-up to Rodeo that would cement his legacy as the future of the game.
A year later and Scott’s “Birds” seems to be humming the same tunes.
The first half of the album contains minimal highlights. An Andre 3000 feature on the opening track “The Ends” can’t save the song from being more than verses saying almost nothing. “Way Back” and “Coordinate” mesh so well together that they could be the same song. That’s a bad thing.
The fan favorite, “Through the Late Night,” is an ode to the feature, Kid Cudi, and his own first song, “Day and Night.” I have to admit, the nostalgia almost overtook me with this one but I was able to resist.
Cudi’s mumbles can be misconstrued for a lullaby if played at a low enough volume. Scott tries to play off the hook of the original Cudi song “Day and Night,” but it’s similar to his other songs. “Guidance” is a disaster, a terrible play off the current dancehall song trend.
A few songs off “Birds” show that original promise from Scott. The Kendrick Lamar feature, “Goosebumps,” captures the deep darkness of anguish. It was the first time on the album I was compelled to listen to Scott’s verses. It’s a Halloween jam for sure. Kendrick, the king of the features for the summer, adds to the creep with his usual attention to atmospheric detail.
The beats thump and the hooks are easy to follow, but nothing really stands out to make Scott’s sophomore record discernible from “Rodeo.”
Scott meanders through the tracks with mad libs fill-ins (ex: “relieve my heart of malice, hit my palace, stroke my cactus”) while also lacking the creative moxie that made his first album so good.
“Birds” lacks the fleshed out storytelling that is common in most trap songs. The R&B aspects of trap music never fully materialize. It’s drugs, debauchery and self-loathing without the desire of exploring the reasons why and the sensation behind each.
One can argue that trap thrives better when the lyrics and progression are simple, but that’s just lack of innovation and experimentation. Scott’s southern trap cohort, Young Thug, proved on his latest album, “Jeffrey,” that within the trap genre, much more can be explored with genre blending.
Thug’s lyrical simplicity is similar to Travis’ but he is able to blend different genres to further convey his feelings. Scott gets stuck on the same sound for a long period of time.
This album is extremely enjoyable if you are trying to get hyped off feelings. Scott does a great job at exciting people. His concerts are legendary for the way he can provoke the crowd up to near riot-like behavior.
However, trap is more than just this superficial sound and shallow narrative. Instead of flying with the success, Travis Scott is limping with a clipped wing.