The long-awaited album from the Houston rapper has finally arrived. To be honest, I really anticipated Travis Scott to push back the August 3rd release date, but he didn’t and delivered ASTROWORLD to the masses. This project has an all-star cast of features including Drake, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder, Frank Ocean, 21 Savage, and NAV to name a few. Now you can put legends on your album but it still can be trash (yes Drake…I am looking at you). Let’s take a deeper dive into Scott’s work and see how he did.
Travis isn’t a lyricist and he never really has been. Most of his past work has been built up using great production and beats. However, I feel that he did a pretty decent job with it on this project. A lot of his verses just hit right and at times it pulls you in more than the chorus or beat does. Plus, Travis brings in Swae Lee on two tracks, “SICKO MODE” and “R.I.P. SCREW”, which adds this nice contrast to the main artist’s more rough, auto-tuned sound. To be honest, the majority of the album’s features do really well. Kid Cudi and James Blake kill it on “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”, 21 Savage spits a good verse for “NC-17”, and The Weeknd is always good. However, ASTROWORLD loses it with features from Drake and Sheck Wes. The latter’s chorus just didn’t seem to fit the flow of “NO BYSTANDERS”. It wasn’t bad…just didn’t feel right. And don’t even get me started with Drake.
“I did half a Xan, thirteen hours ’til I land
Had me out like a light, ayy, yeah”
Look. I like Drake and all. But that line is just lame. His feature sounds more like he is trying to fit in with Travis’s drug-fueled behavior…even though he doesn’t really do that. But Travis turns it around and pulls the song together in the end.
The beats on this album allow you to listen to the whole thing without ever feeling bored. They are solid…plain and simple. Travis has this very unique flow, vibe, and style and they all fit that perfectly. While the back half lyrically felt like a big shoulder shrug, the beats still remained solid.”YELLOWSTONE” is so damn vibey. Scott’s producers also included some fun little samples to add some depth to the tracks. Using the Beasties Boys as a sample on “CAROUSEL” is pretty neat as well as John Mayer providing the guitar layer on “ASTROTHUNDER”. All and all…cool. Much of the project had these strong buildups in the beginnings that eventually fed into slow outros, similar to a ride at an amusement park. Sticking with the theme laid out in the title? I would say so.
This part of the project was almost perfect except for one thing. That one thing is the single “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” that went 2x platinum. OVER A YEAR AGO. Come on Travis and crew – there is no reason to include a single that old. Travis’s latest single “Watch” would have fit so much better. If we look past that though, the production on ASTROWORLD is well done. The transitions are smooth as butter and everything feels mixed well. Plus his use of “parts” on the tracks like “STARGAZING” and “SICKO MODE” is very well done. It adds depth to the album plus gives the listeners some really clean switch-ups.
The harmonica played by Stevie Wonder is the only thing you actually need to listen to on this album. In all seriousness though, check out “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”, “CAROUSEL”, and “5% TINT”.
Travis Scott put together a very good collection of songs with this work. Is it perfection…no. The Travis Scott fanboys may disagree but it definitely is no classic. With the number of good features, solid beats, and smooth production, Travis did a solid job with this project. ASTROWORLD gets a:
It isn’t a point anything. It dances on the line being a high seven or low eight so we are calling it soft…even though the beats hit hard.
P.S. We are all guilty of this but if you get the chance to see an artist perform a song before it releases…put your damn phone down and enjoy the moment.