- 20 Aug 18
Rap superstar mixes the great and the good
Travis Scott's latest opus is shaping up to be the most commercially successful of his career. Less than a week after its release, the American rapper's third studio album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The name comes from a Six Flags amusement park in Houston, Texas that was converted into a rodeo (the name of Scott's 2015 album) when it closed. Perhaps the evolution of album titles reflects the transition in the rapper's career from a life-or-death gamble to a wild, thrilling ride. Sorry.
A rainbow's worth of impressive "feature" guests appear in the album credits, including Frank Ocean, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, Migos and Thundercat. There's phenomenal production values throughout, with deadly bass and high-hats, plus psychedelic electronic beats.
Aside from the previously released 'Butterfly Effect', 'Sicko' is the champion banger on the album. It begins with a soft trance beat and surprise melodic-rapping from Drake. But the track does a 180° shift as Scott starts spitting bars. He and Drake swap verses hyping each other with ad-libs. It's a real moment.
In 'Coffee Bean' Scott ditches the autotune and proves he's equally talented without electronic assistance. Over a chill, funky instrumental, he digs into lost love and explores self-doubt and sadness. The big flaw is the monotonous tone of some of his trap tracks. Songs that rely too heavily on autotune, ad-libs, and hard beats fail to distinguish Scott from a hundred other rappers. That said, Astroworld is a solid addition to Scott's already successful oeuvre.