Collaborative, chameleonic Houston rapper goes solo on arena tour
“Psychedelics got me goin' crazy,” Travis Scott repeats at the onset of his 2018 album, Astroworld, an endearingly odd effort that finds the Houston MC rapping about drugs, relationships and his myriad personal demons in equal measure.
Scott nods to his Texas roots throughout, shouting out local hip-hop legends even as he swallows their sonic contributions into his omnivorous sound, which remains a dizzying mish-mash, piling on jazz-rap side treks, chopped-and screwed verses, Kayne West-inspired art-rap, shadowy horror-film production, drugged-out cloud rap and more. (For good measure, Scott even includes a harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder on “Stop Trying to Be God,” a song that also features appearances from Kid Cudi and James Blake.)
As a rapper, though, Scott remains a chameleon, reflecting and mirroring his many contributors rather than driving the action, and there are times on Astroworld where he appears to exist as more of a sideman even within his own universe. Witness breakout song “Sicko Mode,” which finds Scott sticking to the background amid a pair of guest verses from Canadian rapper Drake and song-shaping contributions from a trio of producers: Hit-Boy, CuBeatz and Tay Keith. It'll be interesting to see how the rapper holds up on this solo arena stop, where he'll perform minus his deep, A-list safety net. (Safe Bet)