Rodeo Album Review
Released September 4, 2015
Genre: Hip Hop
The past few years of hip-hop have been marked by a seemingly competitive series of co-signs from Kanye West, Drake, and other powerful taste-makers. Rodeo, the debut album from T.I.-tested, Ye-approved rapper, Travi$ Scott, is a whirlwind of club bangers, Cudi-style conceptualism, and good old-fashioned hedonism. While today’s rendition of southern hip-hop has succeeded in producing a slew of excellent singles, from artists such as Future and Young Thug, the movement has arguably not yet managed to come out with a strong complete album. Travis Scott struggled to break this streak earlier in his career, but with Rodeo, he seems to have found the formula.
While the trends in southern hip-hop have been marked by an emphasis on the short game, it is clear from the get-go that Travis took a different approach on Rodeo. On the first cut, “Pornography,” T.I. reveals that Scott’s mantra is “let your ambition carry you,” which is clear when one notes that the lead single, “3500”, pushes 8 minutes. However, sometimes the breadth of the album threatens to be its downfall. Boasting a lineup of features possibly only rivaled by A$AP Rocky’s latest release, the album is filled with highlight performances, and it’s often easy for Scott to fade out of view. That isn’t to say Webster fails to spit on this record. Tracks like “Piss on Your Grave” and “Antidote” showcase the Houston native’s raw, untrained aptitude for wordplay. But the fact remains, that Travis Scott’s new release seems to be lacking an important element: Travis Scott.
It’s undeniable that rappers are the rock stars of the modern era, and charisma is arguably more vital to success than flow and lyricism. So how, as part of the hip-hop community, do we respond to an artist who seems better suited as the conductor than the soloist? The legacy of Rodeo within the canon of rap music, and music in general, depends on the world recognizing Scott’s ability to orchestrate a “kitchen sink” pool of resources into a cohesive narrative. Travis Scott may not be the most commanding presence in music, but he does know how to produce a cohesive body of work.
Also, it fucking slaps.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: 90210, Antidote, Maria, I’m Drunk
LEAST FAV TRACK: NONE