After a number of years of cryptic teasing, rapper-producer Travis Scott –– a number one trendsetter within the music trade –– has lastly launched his fourth studio album, “UTOPIA.”
Whereas Scott’s fanbase and the hip-hop neighborhood as an entire have overestimated the discharge of “UTOPIA,” Scott stays a controversial determine. Scott was met with intense public scrutiny in November of 2021 after ten folks died throughout a crowd crush on the rapper’s Astroworld Pageant in Houston, Texas.
In June of this yr, Scott was formally cleared from dealing with prison fees referring to the Astroworld tragedy by a Houston grand jury.
Whereas some have sworn off Scott because the Astroworld tragedy, his perpetual recognition and affect inside popular culture have remained sturdy nonetheless and he nonetheless attracts prime expertise throughout the trade for collaborations.
Now, practically 5 years after the discharge of his third studio album, “ASTROWORLD,” Scott has returned with a 73-minute experimental hip-hop odyssey with a star-studded checklist of featured artists and producers.
Scott enlists options for “UTOPIA” starting from international mega-stars Unhealthy Bunny, Beyoncé and The Weeknd to rising artists KayCyy and Teezo Landing, in addition to modern-day rap titans Drake, Future, Child Cudi, Playboi Carti and Younger Thug.
“UTOPIA” opens with the loud, fierce monitor “HYAENA,” setting the tone for the album by using hypnotic, psychedelic manufacturing that’s unparalleled in present-day mainstream hip-hop. The opening monitor is backed with distorted, industrial boom-bap drums behind an ingeniously positioned pattern of an obscure French track from the Sixties, brilliantly setting the psychedelic soundscape of “UTOPIA” from the outset.
Scott continues to be an innovator within the style as a producer while conveying an audible ferocity and starvation in his vocal supply. Scott, whose albums all the time open extremely sturdy, has made his greatest album opener but with “HYAENA.”
Third within the tracklist comes “MODERN JAM,” standing out within the album with its synth-heavy and dance-y manufacturing from Man-Manuel de Homem-Christo, previously of Daft Punk. Daft Punk additionally collaborated with Kanye West on his 2013 industrial hip-hop album “Yeezus,” an album that helped jump-start Scott’s profession as a producer, as he’s credited on two tracks.
“MODERN JAM” is probably not essentially the most bombastic or experimental monitor on “UTOPIA,” however its danceable rhythm and “Yeezus”-esque manufacturing give it a variety of replay worth. The track is fairly humorous lyrically, too, that includes ridiculously cheeky traces like “I like a bi woman on a bi-cycle. Then I purchased a automotive, now she really feel entitled” and “means I hold thе data, suppose I’m Socrates.”
One of many riskiest songs on “UTOPIA” is definitely essentially the most inoffensive monitor musically, the fourth monitor titled “MY EYES.” A far cry from Scott’s “rager” picture, the monitor options manufacturing from Frank Ocean collaborator Vegyn as Scott will get sentimental and emotional whereas his voice is pitch-shifted in a means paying homage to the manufacturing of Ocean’s monumental 2016 monitor “Nikes,” a transparent direct affect.
On “MY EYES,” Scott makes his most direct reference to the Astroworld tragedy on the album with the lyrics, “I replay them nights, and proper by my facet, all I see is a sea of those who trip wit’ me. If they simply knew what Scotty would do to leap off the stage and save him a toddler.”
Probably the most talked-about songs on the album is “MELTDOWN.” That includes Drake, the monitor reignites the spark they discovered collectively on Scott’s chart-topping hit “Sicko Mode.”
The Toronto rapper seems to be reigniting his long-standing feud with rapper Pusha T as he delivers the monitor’s first verse, “Heard your new joint, it’s embarrassing, s—. You discuss to the cops on some therapist s—. You act such as you love this American shit. However, actually, the reality is you petrified of the 6.” Pusha T famously launched the scathing 2018 diss monitor “The Story of Adidon,” calling out Drake, and it seems Drake nonetheless feels sore about it 5 years later.
After “MELTDOWN” come two unbelievable tracks: “FE!N” that includes Playboi Carti and “DELRESTO (ECHOES)” that includes Beyoncé and Bon Iver. These tracks effortlessly embody the types of their respective featured artists whereas nonetheless becoming in with the established soundscape of “UTOPIA,” including much more dynamics to the 19-track album.
The most effective monitor on the latter half of the album is “CIRCUS MAXIMUS,” that includes The Weeknd. Sharing a title with the theatrically launched companion movie to the album, the monitor makes use of an progressive distinction of dissonance and melody with the distorted and loud sampled screams previous a phenomenal refrain from The Weeknd.
Amid comparisons to “Yeezus,” “CIRCUS MAXIMUS” is musically much like West’s monitor “Black Skinhead,” that includes comparable drum patterns and vocal supply.
Amidst all of the unbelievable peaks of high quality on “UTOPIA,” tracks like “I KNOW ?” and “TOPIA TWINS” are gratifying sufficient, however they don’t make the most of the experimental manufacturing that makes the standouts on Scott’s fourth LP so sturdy — they sound like they might have come out 5 years in the past.
“UTOPIA” is a comeback album of kinds, but Scott seems to have by no means misplaced his inventive capacity that shined so vibrant on his earlier blockbuster information like “Rodeo” and “ASTROWORLD.” “UTOPIA” proves to be properly definitely worth the wait and is a transformative murals that has set a brand new normal for hip-hop artists in 2023.