The New Rockstar

Hip hop and its culture today have certainly come a long way and much like the culture we love so much, the sound has followed suit. From bars, lyricism, and boom bap beats to 808’s and trap melodies, we have witnessed the newer generation of artists stand on the shoulders of the pioneers before them and grab the national spotlight. With that a reality there is one newer and younger act who has clearly emerged and set himself apart: Travis scott. In the larger context of this landscape Travis has managed to reach stardom even though he was under Kanye West's wing. In essence, Travis, unlike partynextdoor, has managed to do the hard part which is free himself from the unthinkably successful parent artist and blaze his own path. The career trajectory for Scott is truly the moon should he make all the correct moves but the reason we are all here and tuned in for sure is his music. Travis has redefined that Houston sound and we are seeing artists grow from it, most notably his extremely talented ‘jackboys’ labelmates Don Toliver and Chase B.

Travis popped onto my radar in high school, with his very first tape Days Before Rodeo introduced to me through a friend. Notably I lived with this mixtape through the back half of 2018 and what caught my ear the most was the production value on a mixtape at that time. Unlike a lot of Soundcloud artists at that time Travis did not attempt to sell me on the cookie cutter beats and flows of that era, what he had in that mixtape was a refreshing new take on hip hop that resonated with my age group at that time. It was a wonderful mesh of rock, mood music, hip hop beats and chords but more important than anything, it sounded original. At the time Travis sounded like an act who genuinely cared about making quality music that represented the city he’s from in the best fashion. He is a rockstar who made rap/ambiance music much like playboi carti and Lil Uzi Vert, the other two younger acts who do exactly that.

Since Days Before Rodeo’s release we have seen Travis create projects on three separate occasions with Rodeo, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, and my personal favorite Travis project as well as his most commercially successful, ASTROWORLD. While the other projects in Travis’s catalog carry their own weight in spectacular fashion; Astro sets itself apart. In addition to some of the best production Travis has appeared on, it also features a star studded lineup of features from Frank Ocean, Drake, Don Toliver, Swae Lee, Kid Cudi, the late great Juice Wrld etc. This incredible piece of music is what we get when we have an artist unafraid to transcend not only the sound of his own but the sound of his city and those who originate from it. What makes me hopeful that Travis will turn this into international superstardom much like the man from Canada has is that he is not only in tune with the culture and those he makes music for but he pushes it forward. His business deals and endorsements plaster his name and face everywhere from Fortnite to Playstation to Nike, he has built a brand that will last and carry him as one of our biggest stars in this culture.

Written by Giovanni Nicolas