Turn Up Friday 16/9 - Artist Spotlight: Travi$ Scott
Celebrate Scott's new number one album by taking it all the way back to where it all began.
In the last twelve months, Houston-bred talent Travi$ Scott has emerged as one of hip hop's premier talents, with debut studio album Rodeo releasing to great success last year and finally culminating earlier this week with the news that the 24 year old’s latest album - Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight - has landed him at Number 1 on the Billboard charts.
But, of course, Scott’s break into the mainstream has been a long time coming, as many of the genre’s biggest fans will attest. In celebration of Scott’s newly minted Number 1 album, as well as his upcoming appearances at 2016’s Listen Out later this month, the G.O.O.D. Music affiliated talent is the natural choice for the latest Artist Spotlight of Turn Up Friday, taking things back to where they began.
You can also watch Travi$ Scott’s new behind the scenes documentary, LA FLAME, below.
Sin City — Travi$ Scott, Teyana Taylor, John Legend, Cyhi the Prince
Before he saw his eventual success as a solo artist, Travi$ Scott cut his teeth as a producer, even popping up on the G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer with this collaboration track, in which, though Scott’s vocals appear, his moody production well and truly takes the spotlight. Critical and popular opinion on Cruel Summer was as divided as on just about any other project then G.O.O.D. Music head Kanye West has been involved in, but Sin City’s position both as one of the album standouts and extraordinary introduction to the talents of Travi$ Scott cannot be understated. While this may not have been the true beginning for Scott, it is certainly true that Sin City got the ball rolling better than anything else. For many, the lightbulb flicked on, and Scott's superstar potential truly appeared.
Blocka — Pusha T, Travi$ Scott, Popcaan
As hard as it is to believe, there was once a time when G.O.O.D. Music’s newest leader Pusha T was still to announce himself as a solo artist, despite having been one half of successful hip hop duo Clipse. Sure enough, however, dial the clock back only three years to 2013, and Pusha T was releasing only his second mixtape and the prelude to his debut album, with the eleven track tape Wrath of Caine - led by lead single Blocka featuring none other than Travi$ Scott’s talents on the hook. So instrumental was this in Scott’s rise, that the rapper would later reuse the beat and concept for his own rendition Blocka La Flame, finding its home on Scott’s own debut mixtape Owl Pharaoh, released later that same year.
Quintana — Travi$ Scott x Wale
Of course, there is no more obvious launchpoint for Travi$ Scott than where it truly began for him as a solo artist, on debut mixtape Owl Pharaoh, which spawned two breakout singles for the Houston artist. The first featured Maybach Music’s Wale, and evolved into the rapper’s first visual release, embracing the same moody, dark aesthetics that have persevered throughout his career to this point (though omitting Wale’s guest appearance, hence its lack of inclusion here). Though the track itself sounds somewhat unrefined comparative to later releases from the man himself, it exists still as a terrific indication of what was to come for Scott, and served as a brilliant way to lead Owl Pharaoh’s release in, not to mention justify his placement on XXL's 2013 Freshman list for those who still doubted.
Upper Echelon — Travi$ Scott x T.I. x 2 Chainz
Unbeknownst to many, as well as being affiliated with G.O.O.D. Music (also signed to their production label as a producer), Travi$ Scott was announced as a signee to T.I.’s Grand Hustle, and swiftly flaunted his connections with this second single from Owl Pharaoh. The true introduction of Travi$ Scott on the hip hop scene as a solo artist, Upper Echelon grabs T.I. and 2 Chainz for a party-starting jam accompanied by an exquisitely gothic and picturesque visual. On Upper Echelon, Travi$ Scott showed precisely why Owl Pharaoh had been hotly anticipated by attentive hip hop fans, affirming Scott’s status as a somewhat ‘second coming’ of the Goth and Punk sub-cultures/sub-genres that abounded music in the 1980s, only reimagined through Scott’s moody charisma and in a unique Trap lens.
Don’t Play — Travi$ Scott x Big Sean x The 1975
One of Travi$ Scott’s greatest talents as an artist is how well he is able to perfectly compliment and work with his collaborators, no matter how obscure or high-profile they might be, and this talent was put on full display for his second mixtape Days Before Rodeo, released in 2014. With lead single Don’t Play (flaunting pop rock band The 1975 and G.O.O.D. Music rapper Big Sean as featured guests) as a prime example, Travi$ Scott announced Days Before Rodeo as an unbelievably immense positive progression from Owl Pharaoh. Best yet, the rapper continued to cash in on all of the promise and potential he had shown even before Owl Pharaoh saw its release.
Mamacita — Travi$ Scott x Rich Homie Quan x Young Thug
Scott also has a knack for creating, and building around, an infectious hook, and does so multiple times throughout Days Before Rodeo - however, nowhere more so than on Mamacita featuring Rich Homie Quan and frequent collaborator Young Thug. Viewing Travi$ Scott’s career as a story in and of itself, Mamacita and its accompanying video was as perfect a continuation as the entirety of Days Before Rodeo would prove itself to be. Artists such as Travi$ Scott (and, indeed, Young Thug along with him) have proved to be rare throughout music’s history. Divisive as they are unique, true groundbreakers soon show themselves standing head and shoulders above their competitors, as Scott began to do with Days Before Rodeo. As the mixtape sunk its teeth into listeners, it slowly began to dawn on them all that, indeed, Travi$ Scott is a once in a lifetime artist; rare as he is valuable.
Antidote — Travi$ Scott
And as Scott’s debut studio album Rodeo arrived just over one year ago, after a considerable time being hotly anticipated, so too did the artist’s first certified 'mainstream' hit — in Antidote. Having since become anthemic, the lead single for Rodeo may be the best reflection of Scott’s considerable appeal. Energetic, rebellious, infectious, and best yet, the song breathes with the same spirit that makes Scott’s live shows legendary. As shown by the below performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a Travi$ Scott live performance is something to behold, but even that is nothing to say of the artist himself.
For the original Travi$ Scott fans, who waited patiently on the release of Owl Pharaoh after several delays (originally announced in 2011 before hitting the internet two years later), the latest developments have been sweet reward for their faith in the Houston hero. And for all of the new fans, they are all now a part of the Travi$ Scott experience and, in being so, a part of history.
Travi$ Scott is just that sort of artist.