Travis Scott: A rager for a new generation
“‘99 took Astroworld, it had to relocate – Told the dogs I’d bring it back; it was a seal of faith,” proclaims Travis Scott on his track “Stargazing” off his album “Astroworld,” released in August. This is a testament to the monstrous image the 26-year-old Houston native has carved out for himself.
Known by many monikers, such as “La Flame” or “Cactus Jack,” Scott has accomplished a lot in his career. He has shattered records, kick-started his own recording label, dropped multiple billboard hits, shut down venues due to rioting, garnered an almost unstoppable fan base, and helped produced one of the biggest albums of the decade. It’s safe to say his investment into the culture comes off as undoubtedly successful.
With multiple chart songs under his belt — such as “pick up the phone,” ”Antidote,” ”Goosebumps,” ”Sicko Mode” and “3500” — Scott is a powerhouse, constantly churning out hit after hit and further solidifying his status as a household name.
With the long-awaited drop of Scott’s third full-length LP, “Astroworld” has cemented his name at the top of the industry, amongst names like Kanye West, Drake, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. He announced Astroworld in May 2016 during the midst of fervor and hype for his upcoming release of “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.” This announcement would fan the flames of a two-year-long hype-train, which his fans helped bolster in the form of internet memes and posts regarding Scott’s silence about the album, only replying with “soon” when asked about the release date.
“Astroworld” is his biggest success yet, debuting at No. 1 and selling more than 537,000 units in its first week alone, as reported by Billboard 200. A sharp contrast from his previous No. 1 spot with his second full-length release, “Birds in the Trap Sing Mcknight,” which debuted at 88,000 units, and his first album, “Rodeo,” at 85,000 at the No. 3 spot.
The release would dethrone Drake’s “Scorpion” after spending a consecutive five straight weeks at the No. 1 spot. That week marked the first time ever that hip-hop dominated the top 10, as eight were locked down for the genre.
The album adds to the large list of major artists Scott has worked with: Stevie Wonder, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and John Mayer are just a fraction of the big names Scott has worked with.
Ever since his signing with Epic Records in 2012 and his breakout hit in 2013, “Upper Echelon,” off his debut mixtape “Owl Pharaoh,” Scott is steadily growing, slowly influencing the scene around him and allowing his artistic intuition to be absorbed by the ethos of those he works with.
After he was taken under the wing of industry producer Mike Dean and Kanye West in 2012, he played a major role in the production of West’s 2013 album, “Yeezus,” helping produce hit tracks off the album such as “Guilt Trip,” “New Slaves” and “I Am A God.”
This yeezy-inspired touch has refined Scott’s sound with the same abrasive, gloomy, drugged-out, intoxicating and technical style he brings to the table on tracks such as “Maria I’m Drunk” and “Oh My Dis Side” off “Rodeo;” “Drugs You Should Try it” and “Skyfall” off “Days Before Rodeo;” “sdp interlude” and “sweet sweet” off “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight;” and “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” and “ASTROTHUNDER” off “Astroworld.”
In 2017, Scott announced the creation of Cactus Jack Records, a recording label run by himself, where he would help up-and-coming artists “launch their names, and to provide opportunities,” as he stated in an interview with Numero Magazine. Since then, he has signed Harlem-based rapper Sheck Wes and Miami-native Smokepurrp, both who have a wildly chaotic, energetic approach to their fast-paced style of trap music. Sheck Wes and Smokepurrp generated a lot of buzz as of late with hit songs, such as “Mo Bamba” and “Nephew,” going viral early this year.
The Houston-rapper doesn’t only have music and a record label to show for his immense influence. Being at the intersection of streetwear and high fashion, he has a long list of various fashion collaborations.
In 2016, he teamed up with Diamond Supply Co. for a line of “La Flame” hoodies and T-shirts, was featured on high-end fashion designer Alexander Wang’s SS17 campaign, modeled for Saint Laurent’s SS17 campaign film, and collaborated with Nike to release the Travis Scott custom AF-1s as well as the custom Jordan 4 “Cactus Jack” Retros. He has also been spotted attending Paris Fashion Week and most recently at the 2018 Met Gala, where he donned an Alexander Wang, Napoleon-era styled French general outfit. It’s evident that Cactus Jack is a seasoned veteran when it comes to his branding, fashion-related projects, and campaigns – Many people look up to him as an icon of aesthetics.
On top of everything, Scott’s relationship with Kylie Jenner should not be understated. Being with Jenner has helped push out Travis’s brand to larger reaches than ever before. While Scott has denied the influence that Jenner has had on his branding, it’s apparent nonetheless that being attached to the Kardashian name has major benefits. With the wholesome, loving, GQ Q&A video between the two racking up over 30 million views, it’s transparent that her name carries a lot of influence — bringing her makeup-savvy fans who might’ve never been interested in his music to check out what he has to offer.
Jenner also has been heavily involved in the promotion of “Astroworld,” with her showing up in the “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” music video as well as posting a picture of herself on Instagram wearing an “Astroworld” shirt, garnering more than six million likes.
With the birth of his daughter, Stormi Webster, with Jenner, his image and influence will only continue to surge at an exponential rate.
In a world where Scott will continue to innovate and further bless the industry with hit after hit, the ride at “Astroworld” never ends.