Travis scott- rodeo
Even before signing with GOOD Music, Travis Scott had made a name for himself. He was a hit-maker for mainstream artists such as Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Big Sean, and Migos (although they weren’t nearly as mainstream as they are now). That was a sandbox in which he developed his own melange of hard-hitting and slow, grooving hip-hop. That's the sound that he debuted on 'Days Before Rodeo,' the prequel to his first studio album. And now, almost a year later, he's back with the follow-up, and the natural perfection of that sound.
Once again, Scott has demonstrated his ability to helm the sort of hit he used to make for others, as on the hit-single ‘Antidote,’ which peaked at 16 on the Billboard top 100 in 2015. On ‘Pornography,’ the first song of the album, TI introduces Scott as Scott would like to see himself: “...A young rebel against the system / Refusing to comply with authority / He chose the mood of “fuck this shit.” But is Scott really 'against the system?’ Is he really the self-proclaimed “misfit bastard” that can avoid the pitfalls of fame and operate outside the general trends of rap music? When Odd Future began, they could claim the same "refus[al] to comply with authority" — they were obscene skater kids who rapped about having “a chain with a fucking platinum plaque on it.” The difference is that their combination of punk and rap aesthetics gave the sense that they genuinely did not care. The same can not be said of Scott. He may claim an early-Odd Future kind of sensibility, but he owes too much to Kanye (one of his producers) to hold that outsider status.
Travis Scott’s music is not very innovative. He owes a lot to Kanye, and in particular, the middle portions of Yeezus (an album which he helped produce) that feature songs such as “Hold My Liquor,” “I’m In It,” and “Blood On The Leaves.” In fact, much of 'Rodeo' sounds like a more generic version of Kanye's sixth LP. Like 'Yeezus,' the sound is meant to be raw, abrasive, unfinished, and heavily autotuned. But 'Yeezus' was the sound of a renowned artist trying to break his own platinum sheen; 'Rodeo' is more the sound of an up-and-comer trying to cop a successful sound. Yet reviews from Pitchfork are too harsh on Travis Scott, claiming that he lacks any innovation at all and that the big name features from Future, Young Thug, Kanye, Justin Bieber, and many others make this album somewhat mediocre. However, Scott does break out at certain points of the album. His diptychs in “Oh My Dis Side” and “Ok Alright” merge two distinct tracks seamlessly so they speak to and build off each other. This is where Scott really distinguishes himself from the Yeezus version of Kanye. While his production and attitude recall Kanye circa 2013, Scott is a much more dynamic rapper — he can speed or slow his flow while maintaining that heavy, cutting vocal style. Scott marshals his flexible vocals to convey genuinely compelling stories. He's as strong lyrically as he is with his production, and 'Rodeo' becomes a gripping story of the chaotic, soul-stealing circus of his own rise to fame.
In the end, the album finds its texture in its muddled, heavy vocals, well done production, and wild features. Rodeo is able to overcome its shortcomings because of its Yeezus-like sonic aesthetics. Scott was a producer on Yeezus, and Kanye helped on this album. Together, on Rodeo, they made a nice derivative of the Kanye album. It just feels that Scott hasn’t broken any mold. Thus, Scott traps himself in a delusion. In his interludes, he speaks to breaking out from the system and escaping the perils of fame. Scott tries to frame himself as the classic iconoclastic. But Scott himself revokes the right to claim that status as soon as he allowed Kanye to influence him. Overall, the production paired with storytelling flows make Travis Scott’s debut studio album worth listening to (at least once).