Travis Scott Finally Delivers A Solid Follow Up To Rodeo
By Eric Moen
Travis Scott with the Delay Homie Way Back
Back in January, just four short months after Travis Scott’s debut album Rodeo had been released, the Houston born rapper announced that a new project was coming via Snapchat. Later that week he tweeted that the project was going to be titled Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. What exactly does that mean you ask? In March, Scott explained in an interview with Billboard that the ‘trap’ is
“about all my friends and growing up here (Missouri City). I'm not saying that it's a trap, we not in the fucking projects, but it's like a social trap. It's a social connection trap from what you want to do and how you want to express yourself. I feel like everyone just gets constricted by their parents or just life.”
Up to this point in his career, I thought Rodeo was Scott’s best work. On the project he sounded focused with his lyrics, his hooks were catchy, and overall he really branched out with the record and made a really solid debut album.
The album was a commercial success spawning two major hits, "3500" and "Antidote," and boasted a-list features with names like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Future, Young Thug and 2 Chainz. So it was safe to say that the pressure was on Travis from fellow hip-hop heads and I to deliver a good follow up.
The Boy Who Called Wolf
After the Billboard interview, it was nearly three months, May 22nd before any news on BITTSM dropped. Scott stated via Twitter “I’m dropping my album in a couple days.” 13 days later, Travis released the single "Pick Up the Phone." Confused and frustrated, fans had to wait until the end of the month for another update. “My album is coming in a week,” he tweeted on June 28th. After another swing and miss, it wasn’t until August 12th on Scott’s .WAV Radio show on Beats 1 that we got the next update. BITTSM was coming on August 26th. Guess what, it didn’t come out on August 26th.
To have internet hype, miss a nonspecific or rumored date, and have journalists and fans guess when you’re going to drop your project, —see Kanye West and Frank Ocean, is one thing. But Travis “La Flame” Scott personally gave us dates and missed on all of them. I understand things can get delayed with record labels, and artists want to build anticipation among fans, but was posting dates and missing them apart of the marketing strategy?
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight Is Finally Here
On Friday, September 2nd, BITTSM debuted on Travis Scott's .WAV Radio show. After the show he released the album on Apple Music. After giving the album multiple run throughs, the beats, production and transitions on the album really stood out to me. Production on this album included Mike Dean (who mastered it), Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, Tm88, Wondagurl, and more.
Other than the slowed down R&B track "First Take" with Bryson Tiller, every song will have you at the very least tapping your foot along with the beat. I have always found this to be the strongest point in Scott’s music. I feel Scott is trying to mimic that southern trap Atlanta sound you’re hearing today from artists such as Migos, Future and Young Thug. All the while trying to put his own unique spin on the style. Relying on heavy ever changing beats, switching up the sound of his voice, and catchy ad libs to perfect the style, Travis has always had a sound of his own.
Despite the beats, production and overall sound being solid on this album, Scott's lyrics are lacking. Rodeo was filled with well-crafted verses and Scott's story. Travis Scott’s life up until that point was a ‘Rodeo,’ his rise to fame, groupies, lost lovers, and missing family captured the essences of a great debut album.
On BITTSM I hear less storytelling and more of Travis kind of just floating through some of his verses with lackluster bars. The two best verses on the entire album don't come from Travis Scott (Andre 3000 and Kendrick Lamar). I know it’s a bit unfair to compare him to two of the greatest lyricists of all time, however Travis definitely could have stepped it up lyrically. Cheap punchlines like, “Play no games like the NBA, throwin' checks like NBA, takin shots like the NRA,” are all over BITTSM.
The Ends (Feat. Andre 3000): Scott’s opens the track nicely and then comes in over a hard beat with some of his best bars "Fuckin' up my room, I've been rackin' up incidentals
Cookin' on a tune, I been cheffin' up instrumentals” The beat sets a great tone for the overall sound of the album. Andre’s verse isn’t as legendary as his recent verse on Frank Ocean’s Blonde, however it is still a classic 3000 verse.
Way Back (Feat. Kid Cudi): Cudi’s background vocals are awesome on this track. Mike Dean and Hit-Boy on the beat. Scott’s bars are decent and the chorus is fun and upbeat.
Through the Late Night (Feat. Kid Cudi): I know Travis is a huge Cudi fan, so it was really cool to see Cudi on not one, but two songs. “All I wanted was acceptance from Kid Cudi, I don’t care about nothing else! Than man saved my life,” Scott stated in a Rolling Stone article. Despite the NBA/NBA/NRA line, I do really like both Cudi’s and Scott’s verse, especially when Travis sampled Day N’ Nite. I bet he was geeked to do that. Also the chorus from Cudi is great.
Goosebumps (Feat. Kendrick Lamar): This is my personal favorite on the album. I love the fiery upbeat production and Travis’ hook. Kendrick delivers the best verse on the album which features a funny but witty falsetto breakdown. One K.Dot's best feature verses of 2016.