Travis Scott’s second album has everyone singing Brian McKnight
Houston rapper releases his second studio album to the delight of his fans
Album: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight
Artist: Travis Scott
Label: Grand Hustle Records
Release date: Sept. 2
Travis Scott’s new album has his fans singing and trapping to his infectious sound. His second studio album was released on Sept. 2, almost exactly a year after his first album Rodeo. With Scott headlining Fall Fest on Sept. 10, this album drop was perfect timing for UB students.
Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight is Apple Music exclusive, so only those who pay for the service can listen to it for now.
The features on this record are heavy, but very diverse. It incorporates legends from the distant past, popular artists from recent years, current big name artists and future stars in the hip-hop scene.
Twelve out of Scott’s 14 new tracks include featured artists. While it can be argued that Scott has taken the back seat on his most recent album, his selection of artists does not disappoint.
The album’s first song “The Ends” has a verse by hip-hop legend Andre 3000. The second song “Way Back” features one of Scott’s mentors Kid Cudi. However, the third song “Coordinate” features one of the more obscure features on the album by a little-known but buzzing artist Blac Youngsta.
Cassie, Swizz Beatz, Nav, 21 Savage, Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, Quavo (of the group Migos), Bryson Tiller, K. Forest and The Weeknd round out all the features on this 14-track album.
Similar to his most influential mentor Kanye West, Scott tends to flex his producer muscles by blending his trademark melodic raps and ominous beats with the sounds of other artists.
This leaves much to be desired for some of Scott’s fans. Some listeners might be happy that all these big names lent a hand to Scott’s second album because it shows how diverse he is in combining sounds with some of the best.
To those who want a Travis Scott song that is high adrenaline and reckless like “Backyard Freestyle” from his second mixtape Days Before Rodeo, his most recent drop may be disappointing.
This album highlights Travis Scott’s growth as an artist and is very similar to some of Kanye West’s material on Yeezus, which he helped produce.
His abundance of features also compares to another one of Kanye’s albums, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The two albums compare favorably because both Scott and West invite artists into their sound and their ability to blend different sounds is a major highlight of both projects.
Unfortunately, the same highlights of these albums have the same lowlights as Scott and West appear to have supporting roles in their own songs.
The use of auto-tune by both artists can be a blessing and a curse. Some songs benefit from the tune-ups, while it sounds awkward or unnecessary on others.
“First Take” featuring Bryson Tiller is the best example of Scott being a guest on his own track. The subject matter of love and its slow pace fit Tiller more than Scott. Scott’s contributions to this song seem to completely support Tiller’s verse instead of the other way around.
That being said, there are very few low points on the album, so it’s hard to determine which songs stand out more than the others. It’s also difficult to determine which of the songs are suitable for Scott to perform because so many songs off the new album rely heavily on the features of other artists.
Because of this, it’s unclear which songs Travis Scott will perform live, especially as the album was released so close to the scheduled performance for Fall Fest.
Overall, Travis Scott’s ability to incorporate other artists into his sound is something that only he and Kanye West can do with major success. It is to be applauded. But sometimes he loses the balance between inviting other artists into his sound and letting them completely take over his song.
Jamal C. Allard is the arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalubspectrum