Travis Scott is a rapper from Houston, Texas and is currently signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label. After his breakout album ‘Rodeo’ in 2015, Travis has soared to monumental heights in the rap industry and is now one of the most sought after artists in the genre. With his unique style and unbridled ability to make hooks that are catchier than anyone else’s (Antidote, Champions, 3500) Travis Scott has become a household name and now he’s back with another album. ‘Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight’ was released off the back of a couple of very strong single releases in ‘Wonderful’ featuring The Weeknd, and the more recent ‘Pick Up The Phone’ featuring fellow up and comer Young Thug, both of which were welcomed as some of Travis’ best work. Let’s see if this album puts Travis “straight up” to the top of the modern hip hop scene or if he remains in the trap.
the ends (feat. Andre 3000 & James Blake) – 9/10
After looking up the features on this song I got more excited than you could ever imagine, seeing one of the world’s best even rappers in Andre 3000 and such a poetic soul as James Blake alongside Travis on the same song is enough to give anyone a buzz, and let me tell you the song doesn’t disappoint. Moody and electronic in the vocals, the autotune is even more wobbly than it usually is with Travis but it works an absolute treat on this. His verse is hot as well and goes alongside one of the coolest beats I’ve heard in a while. I just absolutely the love the way this song switches up so regularly and cuts from an autotuned hook to a hard rap. Andre 3000’s verse is seriously good as well but when does he ever drop off? There’s another shot at Drake here as he talks about “a label with recruitment people” of course referring to his OVO label and getting them to do work for him. I wonder if Drake will respond at some point? Either way it’s a huge opener to the album and it bumps very hard.
way back (feat. Kid Cudi & Swizz Beats) – 9.5/10
Once again, the features are a huge drawing point, as we hear one of the best producers in the game in Swizz Beats and also the hook King himself Kid Cudi, as long as he doesn’t try and be punk rock in this we will be ok. That hook is fantastic, Travis delivers once again and really puts a hype song out there once again. One thing that’s apparent on this one is his bars, he has really stepped it up recently and focuses on the rap side, especially considering he can’t get much better at making a hook. The chorus on this song is catchy as hell and just has an assortment of noise all around it, whether it be ad-libs or a hard underground bass track or Travis’ hook, I love it all. The switch up half way through is what I live for, beautiful transition into what sounds like a completely different song in its smooth beat which has high pitched synths and backing harmonies at the forefront. Kid Cudi’s part is as solid as it gets in terms of contributing to a bouncy and memorable hook and once his work is done you can see Travis bringing back his iconic “yeah” screeches on the ad-libs. The Swizz influence on the beat is massive too and he really moulded a colossal track here, arguably better than the intro. Start to finish it’s brilliant.
coordinate (feat. Blac Youngsta) – 8/10
This Blac Youngsta rapper has a big feature here and I believe it’s him at the start of the track talking about this album and wearing “rockstar jeans” which is just typical behaviour of people as rich as Travis Scott. He continues this in the hook when he raps about his “rockstar skinnys” and how he wears them to impress all these girls, it’s catchy and bouncy, I really like this hook. It does occasionally get a bit dull in the repetitive aspect but as it is about to annoy you it cuts out and moves back into a new direction and gives you a new sound. The verses are cool and quirky, they’re never going to touch you emotionally or be groundbreaking but for what they are, which is lyrics to suit a catchy banger, they work. The beat is modern and funky, it has a real underground sound to it and I really like that element of it, it’s something which Travis has used all the way through his career. This is another great song, even if it doesn’t hit the heights of the first two in the hooks or bars it certainly does with the beat.
through the late night (feat. Kid Cudi) – 8.5/10
Another Cudi feature and this is what he should stick to, hip-hop hooks. When he’s at his best, he delivers some of the best hooks going, such as the one on Kanye West’s Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 where he is untouchable and a real star. On this song, he takes over and really uses his influence to his advantage, it sounds like an old school Cudi hit and that’s such a great thing because there were worries that we’d never hear that again. Travis doesn’t show up on his own song until about 2 minutes in where he begins to recite Kid Cudi’s Day N Nite hit chorus before going in his own direction, I don’t know if I enjoyed that lyric or not but I know I did vibe to his verse. I particularly enjoyed the faint catchphrases of “it’s lit” and “yeah” in the background which gave Travis control of his own song back. The beat is cool and has some really bumpy snares on it which give it a sharpness and poignance that stands out above all. The song is first half Cudi, second half Travis which is good but I would have liked to have seen a bit of integration between the pair of them rather than taking it in turns, the fusion of the pair of them would’ve been very interesting indeed. Either way it’s another hype track with a filthy beat and a stupidly catchy hook.
beibs in the trap (feat. Nav) – 7.5/10
A bit more psychedelic and stuttered with the beat but it’s a really nice switch up from those underground vibes we’ve heard previously. The feature of Nav is red hot, he really takes off at the beginning and carries on building momentum from there with a smooth hook and chorus to fit, he’s probably a contender for the best feature on the album to be honest as it’s hard to fault his performance in any way. Once Travis appears this psychedelic trippy style backing track gets louder and is joined with a harder beat and louder bass, almost as like a warning of his arrival. Travis’ verse is strong, there’s not much else to say on it really as he goes off about drugs, sex and money, the three main things in Travis’ life alongside looking like a Mortal Kombat character on his album cover. It’s a good song with yet another banging beat but I do feel like it drags slightly towards the end. Top feature showing from Nav too.
sdp interlude (feat. Cassie) – 8.5/10
Not much of an interlude this one, standing at over 3 minutes long but I won’t complain if there’s more time listening to this so far fantastic project. The beat starts off steady and progressively picks up lore unique sounds along the way before going quite stop/start and varied. The hook is wobbly and trippy at times but it can also be a bit boring. I have to say that this is a really cool song and an incredibly interesting new direction as he shows no verses or even anything in the way of structure, but with the help of the elegant backing vocals of Cassie, he creates a rhythmic and melodic sound while also keeping it in check as a certified banger. Brilliant once again.
sweet sweet – 6.5/10
A very distorted and kind of oriental sounding beat which you’re not going to hear from many other artists because it’s just too strange. It’s an instrumental which fits into the style of Travis’ vocals perfectly, whether it be his iconic ad-libs, his verses or even the high notes he hits in the chorus, the whole thing just fits. Despite this, the lyrics themselves are just brainless and bizarre, the verses aren’t particularly impressive and I do feel he’s put a lot of attention on trying to make the track sound like an experimental banger rather than an actually top quality song. I do like the way the song goes psychedelic at the end however and I feel it salvages some form of credibility at the very death. It’s a good song but it’s not going to be groundbreaking and it won’t be played outside of a full album listen.
outside (feat. 21 Savage) – 7.5/10
Recently inducted XXL freshman class rapper 21 Savage adds a decent twist to this song but does fall short in comparison to Travis’ performance on this song which I have to say is one of his best showings on the album. It’s a catchy anthem with a bouncy beat and a very rhythmic flow. The song’s dynamic completely changes when Savage starts rapping as we have an even more distorted sound with a lot of fuzzy audio disturbance on the instrumental. The song does pass you by quite quickly unfortunately as I would have liked perhaps one more verse from Travis but the song itself is bouncy and catchy.
goosebumps (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – 9/10
This is the one we are waiting for. As soon as the feature list was released the whole internet was bursting with excitement to hear Kendrick Lamar with a Travis Scott hook, it’s a combination which is enough to resort any modern hip hop fan to an extreme case of fangirling. This hook doesn’t disappoint as its over another snare heavy beat which also has those synth fades which have almost become a Travis Scott trademark. Travis’ verse is very long but there’s no complaints from me as it just seems to get better and better as it goes on. Kendrick’s verse is just trippy and bizarre but it’s fantastic, he changes vocally in his tone and pace so many times and it’s just great, when he hits the latter stages and hits those constant rhymes, that’s why he’s the best rapper in the world at the moment. Brilliant song.
first take (feat. Bryson Tiller) – 8/10
From one fantastic feature to another, Bryson and Travis is sure to create sparks of supreme levels and when I saw them collaborating I for one couldn’t wait. It’s a very slow beat which has all sorts of sounds and backing vocals in its assistance, whether they be from Travis overlapping himself vocally or an autotuned high pitched harmony. It’s a really cool beat and suits the track’s meaning perfectly as he goes on about this girl who is seemingly perfect and he’s willing to give up everything for. It’s a rare occasion from Travis Scott in that we actually have the unraveling of a story within his lyrics in a song and it works brilliantly. As Bryson Tiller builds up for his part you hear his voice begin with authority before he’s even said a word and is just harmonising. His verse is catchy and for me, better than Travis’ as he does what he does best, singing about sex and how many people are after him. Groovy song and I think it’ll be added to playlists for quite a while, dead catchy.
pick up the phone (feat. Young Thug, Quavo & Starrah) – 10/10
This is one of my favourite songs of 2016, that’s all you need to know. One of the best hooks Travis has ever done, one of the catchiest beats he’s ever likely to do, some of the best verses from both Thugger and Travis as they go with serious pace and energy. There are just so many layers to the instrumental it’s amazing, from Caribbean drum sounds to heavy snares and Travis ad-libs. They are just two rappers who fit together perfectly and the sound they create together is so unique and modern. I also love the album title reference in Travis’ verse which he slows down before kicking straight back into life with a great verse. Just a huge hit and I’ll fight its corner against anyone who disagrees. Easily one of the picks of 2016 rap music for me.
lose (feat. Cassie) – 8/10
This is a song which takes a bit of a darker tone with the whole sound, from the heavy underground beat to the mysterious vocal of Travis on the hook. To me at least, it sounds a bit like an instrumental from The Weeknd’s discography in general until the snares are introduced and Travis really adds his own flavour to it. I really like the chorus on this song with the heavy autotune on the lyrics as well as the slight beat switch up. The second chorus changes massively as Cassie joins in with a hushed vocal and is twinned with a trippy overlapping excess noise on the beat. I think this is the most lyrically catchy song on the whole album other than maybe ‘Pick Up The Phone’ and I think it would be a standout if it hard a bit more of a hard banger style delivery as there are times in the song where it could be accused of being weak and feeble. It is still a good song, however with a strong beat and memorable lyrics with an intense hook.
guidance (feat. K. Forest) – 8/10
An upbeat and bouncy beat with a heavily autotuned hook even by Travis’ standards. It’s a really cool sound and something we haven’t heard that often from Travis Scott before so I’m welcoming this change in style to the usually dark underground beats. I also really enjoy the feature of K Forest who is a relatively unknown artist being given a big platform with this song and he uses his chance well for the limited time he has to demonstrate his talents. The song is clever with its structure in that we appear to unravel a strong narrative within it as Travis raps about this girl who is off the beaten track and “needs some guidance” in the form of him. As the song goes on it slows down and it slowly reduces aspects of the song before cutting into the next song. I really like this and it’s probably the most unique song he’s done on this album along with ‘Pick Up The Phone’.
wonderful (feat. The Weeknd) – 9/10
This is a song that anyone who follows Travis Scott will have already heard due to it now being released for about 8 months, it’s quite a surprise he’s put it on the album really and not just left it as a stand alone single. For those of you who haven’t already heard it, let me tell you this, it’s fantastic. The combination of The Weeknd’s voice and Travis’ quirky hype works an absolute treat as they both deliver brilliant elements of their own and bring them together to fuse this “wonderful” song. The Weeknd’s vocals are as crisp and on point as ever and Travis’ rap verses are some of the best bars he’s ever done in terms of flow and delivery. It’s a song which brags all about parties, girls, drugs and alcohol, it’s a huge hit and a song which I’ve loved for months on end. A great finale for a great album.
Overall – 8.5/10
I. LOVE. THIS. ALBUM. Travis came through with a hard hitting, trap influenced hip hop album which is, in my opinion, a top 3 of the year so far. From the first track to the very last I can’t pinpoint a single track I really disliked, there was just one which I will skip in future but other than that he’s knocked it out the park. The doubters thought he wouldn’t top Rodeo but I think he’s just done it and with this album he suddenly becomes a household name in the hip hop genre, a man to look out for without a doubt. He made me enjoy a song which had Young Thug on it and for that he’s a miracle worker.