Hip-hop has entered new dimensions since the hoary old west coast/east coast divide of the ’90s. Like fellow headliner Solange, Travis Scott is a native of Houston, and he and southern peers like Georgia’s Migos and Future are now in the vanguard of the genre.
It’s all thanks to the explosion in popularity of trap, the sub-genre defined by the duality of fast hi-hats and deep 808s, which emerged from the south in the last decade.
A Billboard reporter visited Scott’s LA home last year and remarked upon finding a 5ft sculpture of a demon head that Scott created, alongside twisted gargoyles and Black Sabbath rugs – it’s a touch of the gothic often found in trap, but Scott can really push the macabre to new levels. He first made his name as a producer, moving out of Houston to sleep on friends’ couches in New York and Los Angeles after college, working in-studio with Jay-Z producer Just Blaze. His beats caught the attention of Kanye collaborator Mike Dean, and they quickly signed him to their GOOD Music label and brought him onboard for the Yeezus sessions, where his gothic sensibilities were credited as a major influence.
Like Kanye, Scott couldn’t be held behind the mixing desk for long, collaborating with major names like The Weeknd and Quavo on debut album Rodeo. Last year he bagged the biggest opening slot in the world on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN tour, commanding arenas by performing atop a giant mechanical bird.
Scott’s shows have become known for their physicality, and he ain’t afraid to dive offstage and join in. Get ready for one high-octane performance at Longitude.
The Song: ‘Goosebumps’ – an essential mumble-rap anthem enlivened by a Kendrick Lamar feature.
The Controversy: Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy with their daughter Stormi was the world’s worst kept secret this year.
The Schtick: Gothic trap with major hooks and a touch of stage-diving.