I don’t think Houston has had a better successor to follow Beyonce than Travis Scott. The release of Astroworld came with more hype than a number one NBA draft pick. When you look back at his discography, that hype accurately comes from the fact that this man has yet to miss, both album and mixtape wise. There is a rarity, especially in this state of music, of not oversaturating with constant releases. But Travis was taking so long that listeners were starting to become damn near hopeless, as they eagerly awaited sound clearances and mastering. Finally, and believe me when I say finally, Astroworld dropped and it certainly has us speculating if it was worth the wait.
Let’s take it back a little. Astroworld was supposed to drop over a year ago, but was heavily delayed. With constant social media updates over the past year, Travis has been seamlessly killing features rather than his own music, as most notable in platinum tracks “4 AM” by 2 Chainz along with “Skywalker” by Miguel, and “Dark Knight Dummo” by Ohio rapper, Trippie Redd. His collaborative album Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho dropped back in December of 2017 and was arguably saved by Travis himself. His ability to incomparably use auto-tune has done the opposite of what we’ve come to expect in the 2010s. Auto-tune is like a snare drum nowadays; it seems as if it comes with the track, no matter what type it is. But Travis has learned to use auto-tune like T-Pain & Lil Wayne, the right way. So when it came to Astroworld, we expected that raw, gritty content that was pleasantly met with synthesized chords, trap beats, and auto-tune that seems to match his plated teeth and tight braids accurately. Along with his own distinctiveness, Astroworld features the likes of The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Drake, Sheck Wes, and Gunna.
One more thing we’ve come to expect was that the production was going to be one hundred percent thrilling. Back in 2012, Travis signed a production deal with Ye’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint, Very G.O.O.D. beats, along with Mike Dean, No I.D., and Kanye himself. So we knew that production was certain to blow each track out of the water if anything did. Astroworld features production from a long list of beat first listening favorites such as wondaGURL, Pharrell, FKi 1st, Sonny Digital, and Tay Keith. With an all-star supporting cast on both production and vocals, there’s no way this album shouldn’t have lived up to the hype. Two weeks after its release, and plenty of album spins for digestion, here are the standout tracks from Travis’ third studio album Astroworld:
Stargazing: Astroworld feels like one eight hour psychedelic trip. As the first track on the album, “Stargazing” is an emphasized combination of trap-like production, and heavy auto-tune that allowed Travis to float on the beat like a sponge on water. Different from his last two projects, Birds In the Trap Sing McKnight & Rodeo, Astroworld is that trip Travis has done quite the job rapping about. “Stargazing” is a testament to that.
Sicko Mode ft. Drake: Even though Scorpion just dropped, we still got a little excited when we heard Drake creep up into this one. With four different beat switches, “Sicko Mode” is just as hot as their last track “Company” was. These two, clearly don’t miss.
Wake Up ft. The Weeknd: Speaking of collaborations, the Travis’ features always seem to be heavily calculated, and musically fit like puzzle pieces. The growing relationship between Travis Scott & The Weeknd has led to two damn near flawless hits in “Wonderful” & “Pray 4 Love”. Well, they’ve got another one as well. “Wake Up” sounds like an acoustic cypher, if that makes any sense: both traditional and rowdy.
NC-17 ft. 21 Savage: 21 just might have the best feature on this album. “NC-17” slaps harder than the belt during a whooping. We live in a time where singing can be just as hard, if not harder than actual rapping. Travis got in touch with his soprano vocal range and gave 21 the perfect set up to come in and take the song over.
Yosemite ft. Gunna & Nav: The first version of this song was released with low vocals from Nav, but after that Gunna chorus, it didn’t even matter because it was clear that this was one of the best songs on the album. The guitar presence on this song provides a dark, calm tone, which is greeted with bar after bar from both Travis & Gunna. This is also the only song on the album that could have fit on any of Travis’ other projects. It’s classic a La Flame expectation.
Who? What! Ft. Quavo & Takeoff: This is what the whole Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho should’ve sounded like. Although Travis and Quavo have proven their dominance together, Takeoff was the real MVP on this one. He crept up on this beat like bills in adulthood.
Coffee Bean: “Coffee Bean” is definitely “30 Hours” vibes. Whether he was intentionally sending shots at Ye in “Stop Trying To Be God” & “Sicko Mode”, he was certainly tapping into his inner Kanye West with this one. The beat is nothing short of basic, allowing more room for the bars to speak for themselves, and that they did…
In its second week of sales, Astroworld has already been RIAA certified gold, moving over 270,000 units in pure sales, and over half a million album equivalent units. This album could have been the one to elevate Travis to the top tier of artists in hip-hop today, passing the mid-major level he recently resided at. Only time will tell the true effects of this album, but one thing is certain; it was well needed this summer. Dropping alongside YG’s Stay Dangerous and Mac Miller’s Swimming, fans were bumping Astroworld more than they were even thinking about other projects. He requested our attention for the release of this album, and through the production and features, he gained our curiosity. Astroworld has seemed to be all people have been listening to, and a few listens may answer why. Stream the full album here.
By K. High