When Rodeo dropped, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was sonically different than what Travis Scott had come with before, and I loved how his auto-tuned yelps and menacing verses floated over the cinematic, grandiose production. I listened to
When Rodeo dropped, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was sonically different than what Travis Scott had come with before, and I loved how his auto-tuned yelps and menacing verses floated over the cinematic, grandiose production. I listened to the album so many times, and still have records like “90210,” “Oh My Dis Side” and “Maria, I’m Drunk” in rotation.
It’s safe to say that I had high expectations for Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight, and for good reason. Rodeo was Travis’ most complete and mature project yet, and it marked a turning point in his career. His riotous style and rebellious nature had overlapped into his music, and given it a sort of punk rock filter—his performances are absolutely wild, and he doesn’t give a fuck about coloring inside any lines when it comes to his music.
— HipHopVideoWorld (@HHVideoWorld) September 5, 2016
Not to mention the legend Mike Dean’s mitts were gonna be all over it, and he’s obviously played a major role in so many classics before. Plus, given that there were so many push backs with the album due to Dean’s perfectionism, I was inherently giddy, waiting anxiously for it to pop up on Apple Music.
The new fresh songs @trvisXX is cooking is worth the extra wait. I want Classic. Not a rush job.
— MIKE DEAN! #MWA (@therealmikedean) August 26, 2016
Well, the day came. Birds was finally out, and I couldn’t wait to spin it. I’m not afraid to admit I’m pretty particular when it comes to my first listen of albums I’d been intently waiting for, and so I had waited until my apartment was empty the next night. I had time, good speakers, a bunch of sour diesel and a pack of backwoods to myself, and so I let the birds spread their wings.
Right off the jump, the production was wild. The laundry list of producers Travis enlisted for this albums reads like a who’s-who of today’s top board slappers, with TM88, Wondagurl, Cubeatz and Dean himself, and they no doubt stretched the sonic boundaries of hip-hop to give Scott a menacing playground of grungy synths and futuristic-trap melodies, but it almost feels as if it was all in vain, as La Flame largely fizzles out into the background.
Don’t get me wrong there are definitely standout records—”Outside,” “Goosebumps” and “Pick Up The Phone” are favorites, but it overall falls kinda flat given the star-studded guest list of writers, collaborators and producers. He didn’t even write his parts on “Pick Up The Phone,” and that’s undoubtedly the most notable song on the project, as it’s already climbing up the Billboard Hot 100 chart (#73.)
If there’s one thing you need to make sure you do on your album (especially one that’s been teased this much), it’s not get out-shined by any features—yet Kendrick definitely washes him on “Goosebumps,” and hell, even 21 Savage’s verse on “Outside” was better than Scott’s. Travis’ entire part on “Outside” was a complete rip off of one of Drake’s signature flows, and it’s not the only time he does that on the album.
Not to mention that there are a number of points where his auto-tuned howls are drowned out by the massive set of production and get lost amongst the gang of sounds.
All in all, it wasn’t so much a step forward from Rodeo as it was a lateral move. Birds is a good album, but definitely not a great one overall. Now, the production was surely A1, but it seemed like Travis bit off more than he could chew and ultimately got lost in the sauce that was the booming set of instrumentals he curated for the album. Throw in the shades of plagiarism at various points throughout, and it just isn’t the game-changing project that Rodeo was.
Again, I don’t think it’s a bad album—it’s just disappointing given how good Rodeo was. He picked up right where he left off, but just didn’t go anywhere new with it.