ASTROWORLD and its Impact on the Trap Genre

ASTROWORLD by Travis Scott

ASTROWORLD by Travis Scott

Matéo Hunter, Reporter

The renowned rapper, Travis Scott, is always in the spotlight. Whether you hear about him because of Kylie Jenner or his clever ways of promoting albums, he is always in pop culture news. Though he has a well-respected discography and even revealed that his album titled Utopia will be released soon, I offer that his best album is ASTROWORLD. It is not only his highest-selling album, but it became an important fusion of trap music and the mainstream.

The introduction of the album starts off with an ethereal-sounding synthesizer over a classic trap beat. The title “STARGAZING” is perfect for the feeling that this song brings out when listening. The chorus describes an otherworldly feeling of freedom before completely switching beats and flow. The beat switch features another trap high hat and synthetic snare, though the 808s featured to change the mood into a more hard and gritty song. In this second part of the song, Travis Scott talks about the challenges of growing in the music industry and the new problems that you face. He describes this in a few bars of the verse. “Got new money, got new problems, got new enemies / When you make it to the top, that’s the amenities.”

A feature with Drake seems to always be a hit, though this song takes it to another level. The most important song on the album for trap music is “SICKO MODE.” This song is produced by the well-known Tay Keith, who sampled the song “Gimme the Loot” by The Notorious B.I.G. As suggested by the name, Biggie Smalls is a notorious rapper and often named among the greatest of all time list. The sample and what he did with it make this song already very important for the rap industry. The starting beat consists of a robotic, heavy sound before switching again to a more hype, trap song. This part of the song helped it reach major streaming platforms and even radio stations’ top charts. A Drake and Travis Scott collaboration became something fans of both flocked to and it shows through the 1.79 billion plays on Spotify alone. Mainstream radio rarely features trap music though with how well the song was doing at the time, big networks started to play it as well.

“SKELETONS” is a personal favorite of mine for its production. It starts with a guitar playing chords that remind you of a cowboy showdown scene from Jango. Then it hits you with a simple, slow, and perfect drum and bass. The chords of the guitar with intentional staccato articulation give the song the intentional creepy feeling of skeletons. The lyrics of this song describe the expectations of gender roles in relationships when he says, “We just rocked Coachella, I gave her half of the check.”

Another one of the more popular songs on the album describes the issues that celebrities deal with regarding their privacy. A constant invasion of privacy seems to increase the more of a pop culture icon you become. He describes his paranoia in the chorus saying, “I think it’s someone out there watching me” and “Who’s that creeping through my window.” This song is titled “5% TINT” for previously stated privacy references.

“ASTROTHUNDER” brings back the 16th-note high hats and synthetic snare drum with the feature of the bassist Thundercat. The track is a psychedelic but uplifting song that talks about the person he wants to be, how to escape his sins, and the blessings he is thankful for. The album finishes off fairly strong though the last song that is iconic for returning to the ethereal trap feeling of “STARGAZING” is “BUTTERFLY EFFECT.” It is the perfect name for the song as he describes how a small change, his starting to rap, created the butterfly effect of all he has accomplished. He also refers to the doors of his Lamborghini, also describing his lavish lifestyle, creating a double entendre.

Overall, this entire album changed the genre of the trap as we commonly know it today. It paved the way for many prominent artists now with not only autotune but psychedelic rap. It is one of the best albums of 2018 and from it came the 7x Platinum award song “SICKO MODE.”