ALBUM REVIEW: Travis Scott - Rodeo

Monday, September 14, 2015

Travis Scott is a southern rapper/producer who has been carried under Kanye West’s wings early from his career. He worked on his Yeezus album and straight away after the original hype he released a mixtape Owl Pharaoh. I didn’t really enjoy this mixtape, it was pretty dull and I only enjoyed one or two songs. Then he dropped Days Before Rodeo, and I enjoyed this teaser mixtape a lot. I loved the experimental trap beats and Travis’s own aggressive flow. 

Travis is in the same vain as Future, Young Thug, Migos and Og Maco with trap beats, druggy lyrics and hedonism.  However this album separates him from these other artists, he is able to be influenced by these artists but take it into a new direction. He is able to make some great singles but also extend this into a great album, unlike some of his counterparts. 

For this album Travis has picked up a numerous number of great producers and features. With production from the likes of Mike Dean, Pharrell, Wondagurl and DJ Dahi. It makes the album have this great and unified sound that takes the trap synths and high hats into a new darker area. While the production is very melodic it still has a certain element of grittiness to it and really makes this album unique. Songs like ‘Impossible’ and ‘Maria I’m Drunk’ have some great intros and outros that help the album have a nice and constant flow. Some great beat changes are on show here in the songs ‘Oh My/ Dis Side’ and ‘Ok/Alright’, the thing I loved about these beat changes it that they felt lush and flowed so well. They never felt forced, it seems like a natural progression. All the songs on this album have this dark atmosphere to them, surrounded in a dark hedonistic fog. The whole album is taking the sounds of southern rappers and smoothing it out more, making it more melodic and lush. On the feature side of things we have Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Future, Juicy J, The Weeknd and many more who all pulled some great features.  None felt out of place or lacking. Travis was able to slot these features into songs that worked well with their own unique style; a great example of this is ‘Flying High’ with Toro Y Moi and the absolutely beautiful and angelic vocals by Kacy Hill on ‘90210’. Even Justin Beiber’s verse on ‘Maria I’m Drunk’ isn’t that bad, it isn’t good, but it isn’t bad and that says a lot, and he honestly blends well with Yung Thug whose signing on this track is unique and I always find myself being drawn towards it. 

One thing that disappointed me on this album, but was to be expected, was the lack of any lyrical substance. Travis, and the features on this album, goes through hedonistic imagery and tries to avoid being emotional at every moment. Travis never seems to say anything of impact for the most part. The way the album is produced just seems like Travis might have something to say about his life or his surroundings but he never really does. And maybe that’s the point. He is highlighting the street life of money, drugs, and girls. It is a dark and gritty street album and Travis seems to encapsulate this feeling of darkness through his un-emotional and hedonistic lyrics. So I feel myself stuck between two states of mind, one being that Travis should rap about things with more substance and the other side that says he shouldn’t. The hooks are catchy and the verses have some great quotable lyrics and honestly that’s all I can ask for.

His flow is also something to be appreciated. He can have a slow, chuggy, hazy flow on one part of the song the turn it around and spit a fast verse and he sounds great in both of the states. This is best shown in the song ‘Antidote’. Another great example of some catchy hooks, I’ve been singing “Don't you open up that window/Don't you let out that antidote/Poppin' pills is all we know/In the hills is all we know/Don't go through the front door/ It's lowkey at the night show/ So don't you open up that window/Don't you let out that antidote” since the song released and it still hasn’t lost its impact on me.  

Overall this album feels a lot more cohesive and fleshed out that Travis’ past projects. It has a dark, gritty, and druggy haze over it and the great production and features really help to push it to another level. It is mostly enjoyable from beginning to end with some great stand out tracks. It was a great cohesive album and I am really enjoying it.

This album will stand as the pinnacle of the new southern hip hop sound for a while. 

Straight up. 

Written by Rhys Prka

Rating: 9/10
Fav Tracks: Oh My Dis Side, 3500, Wasted, 90210, Nightcrawler, Piss On Your Grave, Antidote, Maria I’m Drunk
Least Fav: Pray 4 Love
Release Date: Sep 4
Grand Hustle/Epic