DAR Reviews: Travis Scott's Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight

By @_N8te

1. the ends
2. way back 
3. coordinate
4. through the late night 
5. beibs in the trap 
6. sdp interlude 
7. sweet sweet
8. outside
9. goosebumps 
10. first take 
11. pick up the phone 
12. lose
13. guidance 
14. wonderful 

Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight is Travis Scott's sophomore album and it has sent a wave of excitement through the game right now. A lot of people are still digesting this album through multiple listens and paying attention to other reviewers. It’s time to dive into this new project as the usual questions come to the table. Does Travis continue his same sound? What tracks are the fan favorites? Is it worth the hype and is it an album of the year contender? The G.O.O.D Music rapper from Houston set the world on fire with his 2015 debut album ,“Rodeo”. His debut was solid, especially with standout single “Antidote”. I’m all ears to hear Travis Scott as a neutral person on the artist’s musical style. Enough pondering about the album, let’s move together track by track!!

We unravel into the idiosyncratic life of Scott with the opening track “the ends” which connects to the end of “Rodeo”. Travis lyrically discusses about his position in the game and other topics like realizing he can’t spot his competitors, along playing girls like hobbies, and pulling up on others. Andre 3000 surprises the listener as every hip hop fan got excited once they heard the vocal shift. As mentioned through a Billboard interview, Travis did mention to the media that Andre would narrate the entire album, but ended up with a surprise. Andre puts a verse on this project, and we heard a new sound in Andre. Andre has been popping in and out of this year with appearances on tracks like "30 Hours" on TLOP, “Solo (Reprise)” on Blonde, and here on Travis’s project. 3 Stacks doesn’t seem to lose a bit of momentum this year with a thought-provoking verse discussing the child murders in ATL, how he gave up on religious leaders, and the scarring moments in his childhood. The way Andre sounds on this album is different from what we have all heard. It’s modern, it’s trap-esque as it’s not traditional Outkast. Leaving “the ends”, we enter into “way back” which involves Kid Cudi, who’s also making noise in 2016 with his contagious verse in TLOP. Travis delivers lyrically with droning autotune that can be bland at times, but here it seems to work perfectly. Travis isn’t here to lyrically provoke our minds with some political expression or make us question reality. His delivery and energy is what makes him so great. His songs are worth learning the lyrics to because he will have you playing these tracks in the car with the homies. Watch out for Travis because when he’s feeling himself, I feel that no one could match his energy and delivery.

After rising off a high in the previous track so early on, we regreess with “coordinate”. The hook is hypnotic as Travis slurs his way as if he’s on cloud nine. Travis' vocals on this track are solid, and the beat is one of my early favorites on this album. Fan favorite “through the late night” now starts to play through your minds and Cudi fans rejoiced to hear Cudi splash with a verse on this track. His verse lyrically was average at best, and of course he delivered it to sonically sound one with Travis. This song is one of the best songs on the album. It’s menacing beat with the autotune of both artists delivering late night party vibes will for sure be on many people’s playlists in the latter half of the year. Of course, every one lost their shit with Travis singing “Day N’ Nite”. The vibe that was in this track progresses to the next, “biebs in the trap”. The cocaine-themed track involves NAV, and he put in some serious work on the hook and verse. Nav’s hook is a bright spot on this joint as he references cocaine and how the girl he’s with always wants more.

“I just poured a 8 in a liter/ 
Got a white bitch sniffing’ on Bieber/” 

“Now she’s touching her toes/She got Anna Nicole all in her nose/” 

It’s not jaw-dropping but it jabs at white celebrities, as we nickname cocaine after them, a common occurrence in hip hop, like Future when he did said  “serving Katy Perry”. Travis definitely held back on this track, but his feature absolutely delivered on this. This track is average at best, so let’s move on to the “sdp interlude”. This interlude is absolutely psychedelic. Nothing huge is on this interlude except the repetition of smoking one, drinking one, pop one times infinity.

We reach the halfway mark of the album. The first seven songs in, we are seeing a cohesive project that’s crossing expectations in the positive direction. We now tune into “sweet sweet”. I absolutely love the beat on this track. It’s gritty bass with the groovy synths and hi-hats all over the track will force you to bop your head to the beat. The hook connects with "biebs in the trap” as he describes his woman in an interesting way:

“Cause you’re sweet like cocoa/ 
But all you wanna do is the coco/ 
Hanging out with you is a no go/” 

The beat continues to hypnotize you when we reach the track “outside”. Travis lyrics are simple, but the way how he says it with the autotune, I can imagine if he tours with this album, everyone will be losing their mind on this track. Travis opens up with how he hopes everyone had a mattress when they slept on him, and how all of his A-Team is never going to stop. The way that "sweet sweet" leaves you in a restful mood is a contrast to this song, because once this track comes on, the hype within you awakens at the heat Travis puts on this track.

 “goosebumps” is another fan favorite for both G.O.O.D and TDE fans. Travis literally puts goosebumps of fear and excitement into your ears with this trap-infused love song. Travis gets goosebumps everytime he’s attracted to a special lady he sees, but he delivers goosebumps with his chilling verse. Kendrick Lamar rises out of nowhere as his guest on this track since none of these tracks include the feature artist's name. Kendrick gives you his version of goosebumps. He excites the listener with a rapid fire yet suave verse discussing about love as well, as he explains he could justify his love for her, and give her anything she might desire.

“Peter piper, picked a pepper/ 
So I could pick your brain and put your heart together/” 

Extremely clever how he plays off the nursery rhyme everyone knows and uses it as an idiom. He applies it to show his girl he’ll stimulate her heart and mind.

“first take” is also a love song, but it leans more on the R&B side of the album. Travis teams up with Bryson Tiller and both artists deliver a lyrical ode to the women that they can not be without. Especially when that woman Travis eyes is playing with him and not investing time into him. On the other side of the story, Travis is willing to devote everything into her, especially with how he mentions her in the chorus:

“This life without yours/
Despite I was lost/
Despite you got flaws/
Just let our love play its course/” 

Tiller’s vocals are without a doubt smooth as the beat eerily reminds me of something I’ve heard on TrapSoul. He delivers a different avenue and texture to the focal point of the track, and it clearly benefits here. As he talks about how he took her out to Santa Monica, fucked her with no protection, how she was one of his blessings, and especially how he drops everything just to be with her. I have to give tons of credit Travis for sonically creating two tracks that literally could be two different halves of a love song. It’s genius and I’ve never been a huge fan on Travis, but this project so far is impressive.

“pick up the phone” is the single everyone has heard about and is the lead single for this project. The calypso/aquatic-trap combination is absolutely on my Apple Music right now. All three artists lyrically discuss how they have fallen for three different women who won’t show love in return, sounds familiar? Quavo, Thugger, and Flame stay persistent and wonder if she’ll pick up the phone, but she refuses to even pick it up. All three have different reasons why she won’t pick it up. Travis just wants to smash and enjoy his drugs, but she’s not about that. Thugger has all of the money and describes how he’s a baller, but she doesn’t want a baller. Quavo realizes his girl isn’t picking up because they had a fight and he realized he was wrong. Now he has to man up and realize he could lose the love in his life. A catchy song all together and my opinion remains the same still, it’s a great single and a good track that blends in the album.

“lose” features well-known artist Cassie and has some different  vibes in this track. I do not like the hook with both artists as it sounds like it wasn’t even mastered and I don’t know if that’s intentional, but it sounds off. I like Cassie’s vocals but I was expecting something crazy on this track, but it was nothing but filler, which this album doesn't have much of. “guidance” awakens the Caribbean with a brilliant dancehall vibe. Dancehall fans rejoice, especially with Travis and K.Forest as our tag team on this track. The beat is absolutely insane and is my favorite track on this beat out of the entire album. Travis shows to be a comedian again with lines like these:

“You silent, you quiet/ What happened to the loud talkin’? All that noise, you done?/ Are you finished? Or are you done?"

Put some respek on Travis name because his girl isn’t talking to him right now. Well any girl would be beyond pissed off probably if they heard the Birdman reference. The icing on the cake would be that she leaves Travis just like how Birdman left that Breakfast Club interview. Travis’s second verse shows even though she’s not talking to him, she has his attention, intentions, and they both know that their business remains behind closed doors. Excellent delivery throughout the whole track from both artists and this song should be hitting the radio in due time. This is a top three track for almost every reviewer, as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Dead End Hip Hop, theneedledrop, and Big Quint can all agree on this. “wonderful” closes us out for this album and we also heard this song before the album dropped, just like “pick up the phone”. I personally love this track, because of the Weeknd’s verse. Weeknd’s continues to break the vocal range possible from a human’s mouth with his smooth vocals. Travis fires up the rest of the track with his third verse and hooks throughout the track. What a way to conclude an excellent project.

Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight absolutely was worth the wait this year. Travis delivers a melodic and cohesive project that reveals the many shades of Travis. Experiencing his love side, baller side, and etc, I can assure Travis listened to his fans and gave them a project that will possess high replay value for months to come. This project is his most concise and cohesive project, staying committed to his sound that he’s displayed on his previous projects, but this time around, I felt a feeling of hunger in Travis’ vocals. It's as if he’s not satisfied with how he’s made a mark on the game, and he’s out for more somewhere. Right now, he’s flying with a pack of birds literally, but he proves his point that he will emerge as the leader of the pack. The features throughout all of the album were needed and it was an excellent lineup. AOTY contender? It’s possible, but there’s a possibility something can drop into the fourth quarter of this year that can turn the tables. Well done Travis, you’ve impressed a lot of people who don’t normally listen to you on this project.



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