If you’ve been anything past a casual fan of hip-hop since 2014, you’ve probably heard, or have at least heard of Travis Scott. Maybe it was Drake‘s “Company” from If You’re Reading This, You’re Too Late or “Tourist” from the feature-fest otherwise known as DJ Khaled‘s Major Key. Maybe you remember him from Cruel Summer‘s “Sin City”. But in all honesty, this might be the biggest moment for Scott to hit it big. With his second LP Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, we find Scott further tuning his craft to the tune of a concoction mixing trap and R&B – hitting some highs and lows along the way.
Barely a year removed at this point from his debut record Rodeo, Scott echoes a vibe similar to Future – his rhymes are soaked in vocal filters and laced with trap-influenced beats and lyrics very much following suit. It is difficult to say Scott is doing much to ascend his contemporaries, but it is much more likely to consider he knows what he does well – and Birds magnifies such a sentiment with purposed production and a reasonable amount of patchiness to boot. “pick up the phone” slices through reggae-fused melodies and a heavy dose of bass to create a playground for Scott and Young Thug to slather their constantly fluxing vocal styles, while the minimally produced “beibs in the trap” focuses more on Scott’s lyrical delivery and his seemingly effortless flow. Scott’s delivery, and his inclusion of complementary guest spots from Kid Cudi (“through the late night”), The Weeknd (“wonderful”) and Andre 3000 (“the ends”) bolster the direction of what Scott has worked to create on this record.
While it is easy to point out the strengths of Birds with such broad strokes, it is almost just as easy to acknowledge where the album falls short. For one, Scott’s lyricism is not exactly aimed at the masses, but his storytelling is often borderline rambling at times (“lose”) or simply just flat out excessive seemingly for excess’ sake (“sdp interlude”). I guess for a record of this nature, it could be chalked up to just coming with the territory, but Scott’s creativity and subtlety wavers at times to leave us empty on whatever vibe this record aims to create. Likewise, some of the record just seems like filler – I’m looking at you “sdp interlude” in particular – and ends up causing the work as a whole to suffer. To be perfectly blunt, there are times when it is incredibly difficult not to get lost in this record, but it is easy to question how memorable Birds will be in the long run.
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight is surely a step in the right direction for Travis Scott as he seeks to continue to build his legacy as an artist, building on his eye for accentuating beats through solid vocal structuring. While there is still room for growth, it would still be difficult to consider this record to be a failure, as it seems to hit in all the right places for rap fans and curious casuals alike.
Hip-hop/Trap | Grand Hustle/Epic Records