By Opehli Garcia Lawler
If you are an absolutist who believes in only “good” and “bad” then Travis Scott’s album “Rodeo” is decidedly good. This is his debut solo album, and presents work that is normally present after a few solid LPs. Perhaps the cohesiveness and overall conceptual success of Rodeo is due to the fact that Travis Scott’s work can be found all over Yeezus, and that that work is how he features Future, The Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, Kanye West and many more of hip hop’s best artist right now. At 16 tracks, it is a little over 75 minutes long, a brave move for a first album. But the content and talent spread across 75 minutes keeps you drawn in until its final fading beats.
The album starts out with the track “Pornography” which takes the listener 9 light years away where a young rebel chooses to “fuck this shit.” The storytelling of Pornography serves as transportation to Travis Scott’s universe of partying and consequences, which is such a tumultuous experience it can be only compared to a… Rodeo.
Some of the best songs on the album come from features that allowed the guest artist to let their own stylistic influences. “Pray 4 Me” which features The Weeknd is definitely the song most likely to end up crossing genres attaining mainstream success. “Wasted” is the song where the reality begins to set in for his Rodeo, and delivers some deep cuts in like “I ain’t ordering, I can’t afford this shit / Go to war with this you overboard, I’m over bored with shit.” Scott doesn’t sell out to preaching though. It’s still a drinking game and only those who can keep up can play.
Songs like “Antidote” and “I Can Tell” exhibit Travis Scott’s individual talents and maximize a showcase of synthesized vocals and heavy production. “90210” is a song that throws in some smoother moments and Kacy Hill’s vocals sweeten the song and flesh out an album that was already full with diverse cuts and interesting takeaways. “Night Crawler” is the ultimate pump up song, with it’s dark synth making anyone who listens feel like they are in a all-or-nothing, high stakes entourage.
Perhaps the song that best showcased the talents of Travis Scott, was “Maria I’m Drunk” which had Justin Bieber rap, and Yung Thug sing; a surprising mix up that no one would support unless they heard this song. It was brilliant, and cements Rodeo as a debut album, but also as a debut as a new type of collaboration, one where featured artists don’t just drop their signature style on a track to give it some “umph” but a collaboration that not only showcases but expands an artist’s skillset. This is also a commentary on Travis Scott’s talent, and addresses some of the criticism of the album. Travis Scott is not the best as a rapper, but the best as a creative head who puts talent into new and previously unthought of situations.
The album ends with “Never Catch Me” which is an exit from Travis Scott’s Rodeo, which was a wild ride from start to finish, and leaves with a better understanding, even if only through the vibes of the beat, of the lifestyle of Travis Scott.
Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org