Story by Sam Aaron, photo from Brian Szetela

As rap music continues to dominate pop culture, various figures, such as Kanye West and Drake, have become household names. But Houston-born rapper Travis Scott (Jacques Webster) seems to fly under the radar to me, consistently producing catchy beats, smooth lyrics, and solid features.

Scott’s first mixtape, “Owl Pharaoh,” was released in May 2013 with help from his mentor Kanye West.  The tape wasn’t as successful as anticipated, however, Scott’s next single “Upper Echelon” was his first true hit, featuring Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz. The single drew attention from magazines such as XXL, Complex and many other music pop culture publications. Scott’s second mixtape, “Days Before Rodeo,” was largely successful, featuring talents such as the 1975 and Big Sean. The mixtape featured one of Scott’s biggest hits, “Don’t Play.”

In September of 2015, Scott released his second studio album, “Rodeo.” The album had several renowned producers including Kanye West and Metro Boomin, and featured some of the biggest and best names in hip hop, including Quavo, Juicy J, Kanye West, The Weeknd, Swae Lee, Chief Keef, Young Thug and even Justin Bieber.

Travis Scott’s newest work of art, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight (BITTSM),” released September 2, 2016.  The album received mostly positive reviews. It collected a four out of 5 from XXL, a 7.2 out of 10 from Pitchfork, a B+ from Vice, and Complex placed the album at number 5 on their “50 Best Albums of 2016.” The album peaked at number one on US Billboard 200. Scott combined the futuristic sounds of new era hip hop with some classical style beats, creating a unique and appealing sound.  

BITTSM was also packed with significant artists, including André 3000, James Blake, Kid Cudi, Swizz Beatz, Blac Youngsta, Nav, Cassie, 21 Savage, Kendrick Lamar, Bryson Tiller, Quavo, Starrah, K. Forest and The Weeknd.  All of these artists, combined with the production quality of Kanye West and Metro Boomin, led to a terrific album.

After an extremely busy 2016, Scott has already begun work on his third studio album, tweeting on December 30th, “this year I’m making more beats.”  Scott has hinted at the album, titled Astroworld, in another tweet saying “birds went #1 very proud tour soon thank you to fans Astroworld 2017.” 2017 will be a big year for Scott, including another album, a worldwide tour, as well as many features on other albums. Scott already has a spot on the Migos album “Culture” (Kelly Price) which is one of the most anticipated albums of the new year.

On top of the tour, Astroworld, and other features, “Trav and the G.O.O.D. Music team will be dropping their compilation album Cruel Winter in the first quarter. Back in September, the Rodeo rapper revealed that he will be executive producing the project,” XXL journalist C. Vernon Coleman II said.

“I’m putting the press on everybody. I’m saying [it will be released in] February,” Scott said. “I would say we have a lot of songs done. How many songs I’ll pick? I’ll only say like a handful,” he added. “We have a lot of songs done, but we just gotta sit down and lock in all the way.”

Coleman added “Kanye West’s hospitalization might have put a dent in the plans for his music label, but West has reportedly hit the ground running since coming home from the hospital, and has been recording new music on a regular basis as he fully recovers.”
With new music and a world tour on the way, Travis Scott looks to build on a successful 2016 and take over the rap scene. If Scott can make 2017 half as good as he made 2016, it will be a wonderful time.

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