A year (almost exactly) after dropping his last project, Travis Scott is back with his second LP Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight, although it’s not like he completely disappeared. The Houston artist has been in heavy demand ever since dropping his critically acclaimed debut album Rodeo, featured on projects ranging from DJ Khaled to Justin Bieber. His rise to rap’s elite can be surprsing or not, depending on how you look at it. Sure he had cosigns from hip hop legends Kanye West and T.I., but his style of rap – the druggy, auto-tuned tales of various debauchery – were anything but a sure thing. However, thanks to Scott’s natural affinity for all things lit, he broke through into the mainstream without sacrificing his original sound; something he continues on Birds.
The first thing to notice on Birds is the atmosphere it lives in. Just like Rodeo, Scott’s second LP is filled with eerie synths and left-field dark-trap production, giving the album a haunting vibe. Scott adds to it by either layering his voice or giving it the auto-tuned effect. First track “the ends” encapsulates all these styles perfectly, where they add to Scott and guest André 3000’s ominous verses regarding dangerous neighborhoods and inner-city violence. Boi-1da and Mike Dean flip a T-Minus-produced beat, first heard on Tinashe’s “In The Meantime,” and give it a spacey touch. Given the verses by Scott and The Weeknd are about their out-of-this-world 2015s, it couldn’t be more ideal.
Lyrically Scott is still mostly focused on one thing and one thing only; getting as lit as possible. Songs like “beibs in the trap,” “through the late night” and “outside” are odes to Scott’s nefarious, give-no-f*cks lifestyle, but the highlight among these types of tracks has to be “sdp interlude,” where Scott and Cassie urge us to “smoke some, drink some, pop one.” While the lyrics may be simple, the production is anything but. Ricci Riera takes a Washed Out sample and shoots it into the stratosphere; if you choose to partake in what the song suggests you do, the song is bound to make you feel some type of way. And even if turning up isn’t your forte (???), Scott’s got you covered. “goosebumps” is probably the most hype love song of all time, while “pick up the phone” is a song of the summer contender that has Scott, Young Thug and Quavo all pondering why their significant others aren’t answering their calls.
As with (nearly) every album, there are some flaws. Some of the features (Kendrick Lamar and 21 Savage on “goosebumps” and “outside,” respectively) either don’t belong or throw the whole song off. And yes, the album is sonically reminiscent of Rodeo. However, when the songs are this good it really doesn’t matter. It’s that rare album that can be played front-to-back at a party and people wouldn’t even be mad – because Travis Scott has perfected his sound.