Travis Scott – Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight
Released: 2 September 2016
Travis’s ear for beats/drums and his unique feature selection reminds me of a Hip-Hop DJ’s compilation album (like Khaled) and how they tailor fit features together for their album and match the perfect beats for said features.
There’s a good mix of different drums and tempos on this album that gives every song a fresh feeling – it makes the album easier to get through without becoming tiresome despite some derivative content subject-wise.
The feature on “outside (feat 21 Savage)” is a good example of Travis tailoring his songs for his features. It’s a talent that I think Travis gets overlooked for – nearly every feature on this album, from trap-styled 21 Savage to R&B serenado The Weeknd, feels comfortably at home. The way Travis builds “outside” to climax at 21 Savage’s verse is almost magical. The steady build-up and segway into 21 Savage’s verse makes it feel like the entire song’s purpose was to climax at 21’s verse, and it makes 21’s verse feel better than it actually is (no shade to 21). Not to mention they both sound completely at home over the track.
On “Pick Up The Phone (feat Young Thug & Quavo)“, Travis’s song structuring abilities as well as a jingling beat from Vinylz/Frank Dukes allows Thug to sound as free and fresh as ever as he glides over the bouncy instrumental. And on “wonderful“, Travis and The Weeknd sound like their musical stylings were made for each other as they provide memorable melodies over the dark, up-tempo instro.
Throughout BITTSM, Travis treats us to numerous memorable vocal performances such as the hooks on “way back” and “lose“. On these hooks, Travis spits some original flows that standout on an album drowned in prototype autotune and typical contemporary drug rap. Travis’ gift is in the way his songs are written and structured, they sound like they are radio-ready – he writes like a hitmaker. Almost every song sounds like it can be a hit. On the flip side, he rarely gets personal on his songs (outside of his drug use), which can be a drawback for some listeners and makes some stretches of songs feel artificial.
BITTSM is not without its drawbacks. The album is full of derivative content like on “beibs in the trap” where Travis spits some forgettable lyrics that go something like…”white bitch blah blah molly blah blah black bitch blah blah coke…” And at times, it feels like Travis is rhyming just to rhyme, a lot of what he is saying does not sound believable, like on “way back” where he lazily rhymes:
“I can’t get no rest/
I fall asleep with a tec/”
With that being said, that doesn’t make the song any less of a banger and one of my favorites on the album.
At times, I can’t help but feel like Travis is holding himself back artistically with the same ol’ drug talk. Upon hearing “sweet sweet” I thought we were going to be treated with some lyrical creativity as Travis sweeps into the beat with a high-pitched swoon…but no, it’s just another song about cocaine.
Also, I can’t help but feel like the dancehall-inspired “guidance” is missing a Rihanna feature. That song and “coordinate” sound incomplete.
Travis Scott executed well on BITTSM. It’s an album that gets better as it goes along because of the variety of sounds and tempos, and as a vocal performer, Travis is very interesting because his creativity allows him to jump outside of the box and experiment with a lot of different sounds. I just hope his creativity guides him to talk about different subjects. His constant drug talk is tiring and his lack of subject matter makes some of his music feel artificial.
“through the late night (feat Kid CuDi)“
“pick up the phone (feat Young Thug & Quavo)“
“goosebumps (feat Kendrick Lamar)“
Sidenote: yikes at Travis recently signing his entire music catalogue over to Universal Music Group, including this album.