Arts & Entertainment

“ASTROWORLD” Brings Travis Scott’s Career Full Circle

Courtesy of David Lachapelle55-year-old David Lachapelle photographed "ASTROWORLD's" dual album cover to represent aspects of night and day.

Signed under T.I. and Kanye West, respectively, for record deals as a recording artist and producer, Travis Scott was destined to achieve greatness and success in the music industry. 

Produced by Travis Scott and Mike Dean, “ASTROWORLD” is Scott’s most fluid project to date. Catering heavily to Scott’s affinity for collaborating and his newfound superstardom, he has more artists at his fingertips than ever before. 

In addition, Scott upped the ante with artists he’s worked with in the past. “ASTROWORLD” features various artists in its supporting cast including Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Drake, The Weeknd, John Mayer and more. Perhaps the most eye catching features within the album credits are Philip Bailey, Kid Cudi, Stevie Wonder and James Blake, whose talents assemble on the track “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD.”

As a metaphor to the two “ASTROWORLD” album covers — one representing day and the other night — Scott offers contrast and variety within the album, with more mellowed out tracks such as “R.I.P. SCREW” and “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” juxtaposing rager anthems, “CAROUSEL” and “NO BYSTANDERS.” 

The day and night theme is also present in the content matter and sonics of the tracks. Lighter songs such as “SKELETONS” and “YOSEMITE” contrast the sounds more dark in nature found in “NC-17” and “CAN’T SAY.”  

Like the majority of Scott’s music, “ASTROWORLD” primarily focuses on production/sonics, melodies and vibe creation over lyrical content. But the album also features some of Scott’s most ambitious rapping and lyrical content in songs such as “SICKO MODE” and “HOUSTONFORNICATION.” 

Some of the lyrical ambition Scott exhibits can be attributed to frequent Kanye West collaborator and songwriter, CyHi The Prynce. CyHi appears on the writing credits for  “STARGAZING,” “SICKO MODE,” “5% TINT” and “COFFEE BEAN.”

Initially announced at a concert in May 2016, “ASTROWORLD” draws heavy inspiration from Scott’s hometown and the now-defunct theme park, Six Flags AstroWorld. 

As a child, the Six Flags theme park was Scott’s go-to destination for fun. Once the park had closed in 2005, Scott proceeded to fill the void by making music. The land where Six Flags “ASTROWORLD” once stood was supposed to be used to develop apartments. For reasons unknown, nothing was ever built. Currently, the space is being used for extra parking for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo — uncoincidentally the title of Scott’s debut album. 

The night before releasing one of the most anticipated albums of recent years, Scott had a closing set at Lollapalooza. Scott’s set marked his return to the festival three years after an infamous performance that resulted in his arrest for disorderly conduct. Fortunately for Travis Scott and his fans, things were much different this time around with the artist giving the festival a worthy redemption. 

The setlist featured performances of pieces from mixtapes including “Mamacita” and “Skyfall,” as well as hit songs and multi-platinum singles “Antidote,” “goosebumps” and “Butterfly Effect.” Scott also previewed songs from the then-forthcoming “ASTROWORLD” such as “STARGAZING” and “5% TINT.”  

Shortly after Scott’s performance at Lollapalooza, he hosted a secret listening party within the festival grounds for friends and family, along with a select amount fans who attended the festival.

While it was Travis Scott’s mixtape releases, “Owl Pharaoh” and “Days Before Rodeo” that garnered his core fanbase, Scott’s debut studio album “Rodeo” launched him into the mainstream. His second studio album “Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight” utilized the success from “Rodeo” and pushed him toward the verge of superstardom. “ASTROWORLD” serves as the conclusion to the trilogy that began with “Days Before Rodeo” and was succeeded by “Rodeo.”

Following the release of his second album, the Houston native artist kept himself busy with several noteworthy ventures. Further developing his brand and presence within the music industry, Scott created his very own record label, Cactus Jack Records. With his newly-founded label, Scott signed artists Smokepurpp, Sheck Wes and Don Toliver. Scott’s first release under Cactus Records was a full-length collab album with Quavo, titled Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. 

No stranger to the fashion industry, Travis Scott landed collaborations with Nike and Jordan Brand for his own signature Air Force 1s and Jordan 4s. 

Scott’s personal life also saw some changes as he began a relationship with soon to be billionaire-cosmetics mogul, Kylie Jenner — resulting in the birth of their daughter, Stormi Webster. During the duration of these events, fans had been heavily anticipating the release of Travis Scott’s “ASTROWORLD.”

“ASTROWORLD” became Scott’s second album to debut No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 537,000 units sold. After the frustration Scott faced being snubbed from a Grammy Award for his album, “Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight,” all eyes are on the Recording Academy to see if “ASTROWORLD” will be nominated for (and win) any Grammys.

Scott will return to Chicago to perform at the United Center on Dec. 6 for the “ASTROWORLD: Wish You Were Here” Tour with support from Sheck Wes, Trippie Redd,  Gunna and Chicago native Virgil Abloh.

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