BUSINESS

Music Review: The future of hip hop is Travis Scott

Austin Genova
oxfordstories.net
apgenova@go.olemiss.edu

One of the most popular artists right now is Travis Scott, a hip/hop artist from Houston, Texas. He’s one of the reasons hip/hop surpassed rock as the most popular music genre in the entire world for the first time.

Scott released his third solo album Astroworld, the name of a former Six Flags theme part in Houston that closed in October of 2005. It did not disappoint.

Astroworld, 2018, sold the highest number of records in one week with more than 537,000 album sales in the United States alone, according to Nielson Music. Billboard reports that Astroworld has remained on their U.S. album charts for more than 152 days. it opened at Number 1 and continued to hold rein for almost two months.

His sound and voice has defined his career and allowed him stand out in an industry where so many artists sound alike. Scott started his music career behind the mixer making beats and helping produce songs for Kanye West and many others.

His sound is a heavy dose of Autotune, phasing, delays, and sculpted harmony that gives fans a dark melodic flow. His songs start with a rising beat, then there is a complete shift similar to a rollercoaster dropping after long suspenseful journey to the top.

Astroworld’s first song “Stargazing” creates a psychedelic dark mood that sets the tone for the remaining 16 songs. It creates an odd pleasure with one of Scott’s signature beat switch-ups in the middle of the song.

“Stargazing” also contains lyrics that give us insight to Scott’s thoughts about his daughter Stormie Webbster, 1. Scott sings, “I was hot as hell in the heat, then this storm came in to save my life. Meditate to the sky on my knees. Out of nowhere, you came in to stay the night.”

Scott uses the metaphor of a weather storm coming in to symbolize his daughter, whose name is Stormie, coming in out of nowhere and saving his life from poor decisions.

Astroworld’s best produced song features John Mayer and Thundercat playing guitar on “Astrothunder.” The track features a unique sound, a smooth piano with a faint electric guitar solo, while Scott’s Auto-tuned voice soothes your ears.

In “Stop Trying to Be God,” we get the most vocals out of Scott on the album with special guest features from a legend Stevie Wonder blessing fans with a perfect harmonica solo and perfectly timed piano keys to create a beautiful sound.


Sticker of Travis Scott’s vision of “Astroworld” being used as a planet

The biggest hit on the album was “Sicko Mode, personally not my favorite song on the album, but Sicko Mode took off. The song was even performed during the Super Bowl halftime show. The mega hit features superstar artist Drake, three different beats, and Swae Lee vocals the bridge of the song. “Sicko Mode” has a club anthem vibe, which is part of the reason it became so popular, and because it features Drake.

It may sound like I dislike the track, but that’s not true. It is probably my fourth favorite song on the album, but as a Travis Scott fan, I enjoy the songs with perfect production and soothing melodies rather than the star-studded features.

While Scott is very hands-on with all his albums, he surrounds himself with some of the best talents in music. One of his high school best friends, Chase B, is now his personal touring DJ. His song mixer and producer is legendary Mike Dean, and his brother-in-law is Kanye West.

Scott has also crossed genres and worked with John Mayer, who plays guitar in four of Scott’s tracks on Astroworld. Scott has worked with many popular artists, such as Swae Lee, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Future.

Scott’s ability to use his voice as an instrument puts him in his own category of hip/hop. While Astroworld was his best album, it also meant the most to him. In various interviews and Tweets, he made it clear that Astroworld was going to be the most personal album to date. While making the album, he became a father. You can feel it in his songs.

The album pays homage to Houston, his childhood home, and the local artists that helped shape him. His Astroworld tour sold out all 55 shows.

Sticker of “Astroworld” tour titled Wish You Were Here

This was his first solo headlining tour, selling over 485,000 tickets in the first 32 shows, according to Billboard. His last show was March 26 in Tulsa. With revenue from his second leg not yet announced, Billboard predicts Scott’s tour will gross over $55 million.

If these projections are accurate, that would put him in with names like Kanye West and Jay Z for recent tours grossing over $50 million. Keep in mind, this was his first solo headliner tour, and he is considered the new future of hip hop. If Scott can gross more than the “gods” of rap in his initial large city tour, who knows what young La Flame can conquer?

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