Since the release of Rodeo, Travis Scott's last album, there has been a smattering of leaks and singles from the Houston, Texas native, building up to this long awaited album Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Even on the same day as Birds dropped, two Travis Scott guest appearances surfaced on Gucci Mane and Ty Dolla $ign singles, Travis is clearly working hard to put content out.
The album opens with an epic sounding track The Ends, featuring a progressing beat and surprising feature from veteran André 3000, which leads directly into Way Back, featuring Kid Cudi. Travis wears his influences on his sleeve, interpolating lyrics from Cudi’s hit Day ’n’ Night on the Cudi featuring track Through the Late Night, and drawing heavily from the new ATL sound across a large span of the album.
Surely Kanye must have seen something of himself in Travis when he first cosigned him in 2012 before helping Travis sculpt 2013’s Owl Pharaoh. Transforming from a low key producer, into a self-producing artist, into attempting to be a monolith of style in both music and fashion are facets of both Travis’ and Kanye’s career. However, Travis’ accomplished production chops are absent from most of the album, to its detriment.
"...La Flame seems to have settled into one sonic flavour for almost the whole album."
The styles on Birds are nowhere near as diverse as those on Rodeo, and La Flame seems to have settled into one sonic flavour for almost the whole album. It’s fair to say that although there are tracks on Birds more authentic to Travis Scott’s natural sound than on Rodeo, there are no tracks as catchy or potentially popular as tracks like Antidote, or Drunk, from Rodeo. One of the exceptions to this is Pick up the Phone, a steel drum infused trappy banger & the standout track of the album featuring perfect verses from new ATL titans Young Thug, and Quavo (of Migos). Travis’ foray into Dancehall on the track Guidance is definitely a love it or hate it moment, however.
Another ear-grabbing moment is the static filled, glitchy track Outside, a dark cut featuring 21 Savage, and some moody vocals from Travis. There are many features on the record, including a killer verse from Kendrick Lamar on Goosebumps, bodying Travis on his own track, with some insane falsetto vocals from K-Dot. The variety of features certainly makes the album more interesting, and gives it more chart appeal, evidenced by the record’s entry as No.1 on the Billboard 200, but does water down the focus on Travis as a rapper in his own right.
If you are a Travis Scott fan, prepare to be slightly disappointed with the lack of progression from Rodeo, although you will generally enjoy the atmosphere and the content.
If not, try it out, but first certainly watch the Pick up the Phone video below: