Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: Epic
While Lady Gaga was working the avant side of pop, hip-hop was doing the same thing without a true figurehead. Artists from Kid Cudi to A$AP Mob were coming at the genre from all sorts of new angles, but with their feet firmly in the rap camp; then producer Travis Scott came along, sounding like Chief Keef but with a much broader brush, offering an attractive version of acid rap that landed him on Kanye West's GOOD Music label with a debut album that's so 2015 it features the ultra-hip trifecta of Future, the Weeknd, and Justin Bieber. Make those three a Venn diagram and Scott is the man in the middle, wonderfully weird and as stylish-sounding as the first two, and yet with a slick appeal that crosses over like Bieber, which is the biggest problem for detractors: it's all for show with no filling.
Travis Scott :: RodeoGrand Hustle/Epic RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonIt looks like Travis dropped the Travi$ spelling of his first name a couple of years ago, shortly after he was named as part of XXL's Freshman Class for 2013. I had gotten so used to typing the $ in his name I had to purposefully go back and omit it several times from this review. The irony is that Travis is definitely MONEY right now.
“I am everything except a rapper.” That’s a good, honest plea to cop coming from rapper/producer/but mostly awesome curator Travi$ La Flame Scott on the outro to his debut album. It’s also redundant, as the previous 13 and a half tracks have made that perfectly clear. You don’t come to a Travi$ Scott project looking to be blown away lyrically.
`Since being discovered, the Houston emcee/producer Travi$ Scott has been a purveyor of the trap hop sound that combines elements of gangsta rap lyrical pacing with experimental production and of course that Houston chopped and screwed influence gravy. On his first album, the 23-year-old knows where his bread is buttered, and keeps that sound close by whilst going further off the map than he has in the past. Be it increased confidence, clout or just spending more time with generation defining musicians, he has found a way to stay true to his sound while all along exploring newfound sonic and musical territory.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The great Travi$ Scott debate has pit rap fans against each other since the dawn of internet memes, the concluding factor after months of fervent argument being that there is no sort of Switzerland when it comes to Travi$ Scott - You either love him or love to hate him, since it's been impossible to ignore him. For the past few years, the Houston rapper has been synonymous with the current wave of haunting adrenaline-induced rap bangers, steeped with blunted bass, howling synths and auto-tune ad-libs as La Flame has tactically involved himself with everyone riding the specific popular sonic wave from Rihanna's 'BBHMM' to Kanye West's 'All Day'.
There are few emerging artists more polarizing than Travis Scott, he of the dual deals (Grand Hustle as a rapper and G.O.O.D. Music as a producer) and the punk rock antics, a Kanye West progeny who is continuously changing shape. One minute he’s Kid Cudi, the next he’s Young Thug. The rager has made a living parlaying aesthetics into musical capital, but there’s value in his ability to repackage styles and sounds into something that requires little to no unpacking.
Kanye West has called himself the greatest living rock star, and his latest pupil seems to be taking that idea as gospel. On his major-label debut, Travis Scott — a 23-year-old from Houston who's usually shirtless if he isn't wearing all-black – doesn't rap so much as scream, moan and yelp like he's fronting an Eighties hardcore band. Not the straight-edge kind, though: "Popping pills is all we know," he tells us on his single "Antidote." Scott has a flair for roping far-flung guests into his punk underworld.
A rodeo is a series of endurance tests: bronco riding, barrel racing, calf roping, and, of course, bull-riding (“the longest eight seconds in sports”), and the events most synonymous with the term are timed feats of skill and endurance. Travis Scott’s Rodeo also plays like an endurance test, a 75-minute game of “spot the influence” that is sporadically rewarding, yet feels like the longest rap album in months. The main issue with the 23-year-old Houston rapper’s proper debut LP is that his motives are impossible to read.
In 2005, the Houston rap scene was at the peak of mainstream hip-hop. Acts like Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, UGK and Chamillionaire dominated the airwaves with their signature style of flows and chopped and screwed sound. Helping bring attention to the city, the boost in Houston rap at the time showcased the city’s immense talent that was well-received by worldwide audiences.
It’s hard to pinpoint one single area in which Travis Scott excels — which, in today’s hip-hop climate, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On “Rodeo,” his studio debut, Scott sings, raps, harmonizes, and occasionally shouts over robust, polished instrumentals from Metro Boomin’, 808 Mafia, and other purveyors of psychedelic trap. But his versatility, combined with a high-profile guest list, conspires against him; among 14 tracks, Scott conjures just a handful of moments that hint at untapped reserves of talent.
Travis Scott's debut studio album opens with a spoken-word intro that positions the Houston rapper as a rebellious outsider. But what follows is an album by an artist who seems more like the consummate insider, thanks to its enviable roster of A-list producers and guest MCs. He's part of a group of rappers more concerned with texture and atmosphere than lyrical invention.
Last summer Travis Scott released Days Before Rodeo, a free mixtape that wouldn't just serve as the unofficial countdown for his debut album, but give listeners a sense of what the rapper/producer is working with sonically. Pounding, acerbic drums, thick, hazy atmospheres, and a confrontational predisposition would establish Scott as a fearless rising star in rap music. And although the tape was a welcome shift from the amateurish shlock that plagued his debut tape Owl Pharaoh, it also did very little to invite the listener into Scott's world.