Reviewed by Thomas Herron
La Flame is known for his ability to master the sound of a song, almost never making a track that’s less than 100% pleasing to the ear through his ability to master hooks over an original sounding signature style of production, sprinkled with adlibs.
ASTROWORLD is no different from the rest of his work in this way, with songs like “STARGAZING” and “CAROUSEL” providing Travis Scott’s own subgenre of music in melodic bangers that give a feel of his soul through sound.
What ASTROWORLD does different from Huncho Jack’s previous work is revolutionary in regards to his career. La Flame was never known as a lyricist, and he seems to attack that perception of his music on this album offering more traditionally structured songs with rap verses while maintaining his own free sound to show he can spit for sixteen with anybody.
Never before had Scott really been one of the rappers that was known to be lyrically clever enough to offer bars that go over people’s heads. This album completely changes that such as on the Drake assisted “SICKO MODE,” with La Flame spitting lines like “was off the Remy, had to Papoose.” If you’re one of the people whose head that went over, Scott references Remy Ma, who is married to rapper Papoose.
On “NO BYSTANDERS,” Travis continues his focus on bars that show complete growth in regards to his ability to put together complex and lyrical verses, opening with lines like “Bicentennial man, put the city on slam,” with a new flow that’s nothing less than fire.
Scott also pays homage to industry greats like Uncle Luke and Biggie on “SICKO MODE” through references of the writers songs, “I Wanna Rock” and “Gimme the Loot” respectively.
The Houston native also does a lot to put on for his hometown, more so than we’ve seen on his recent work through songs like “R.I.P. SCREW” and “HOUSTONFORNICATION,” the prior paying homage to Houston native and revolutionary DJ, DJ Screw, and the latter being a play on Californication, changed to create a loving vibe for his own hometown.
Travis shows a side of himself listeners are yet to see, and lays himself down on “COFFEE BEAN” to close out the album, a slow song detailing some of the problems between him and his partner Kylie Jenner. The song perfectly sums up the album as Scott masters some of his perceived weaknesses through combining an extremely personal melodic track with his own lyrical ability.
The Cactus Jack records executive also did a great job in choosing who features on the album, with artists like Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Juice WRLD, and Swae Lee to compliment his own melodic yet rap-oriented sound with their own.
Also adding features from legends like Stevie Wonder and James Blake help to complete Travis’s melodic sound while also providing features from artists like 21 Savage and Gunna to stay true to Travis’s trap roots.
ASTROWORLD feels like a combination of soul, trap, Cudi-esque melodies, Houston’s chopped and screwed sub-genre, and Travis’s own progressive sound to make for a holistic and varying yet cohesive album with little to no-flaws.
Scott somehow evolved on this album, attacking the belief that he lacked top-tier lyrical ability, while paying homage to the greats, mastering all aspects of his sound and giving the listener a deeper personal feel than expected, while also maintaining expectations of his signatures, a well mastered and holistic sound fit for listening in absolutely any situation.