[THROWBACK REVIEW] Travis Scott combines styles to produce Rodeo

One of the most popular artists in the rap community today is Travis Scott.  In the summer of 2018, Scott released the highly anticipated Astroworld and even more recently, JACKBOYS.  However, Scott’s debut studio album, Rodeo, is his greatest studio production and is arguably one of the greatest trap albums of the 2010 decade. 

Scott released Rodeo on Sept. 4, 2015.  The debut studio album followed two prior mixtapes, Owl Pharaoh and Days Before RodeoRodeo has racked up numerous awards since its arrival: it debuted at number one on the US Rap Albums chart, was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and featured the single “Antidote” that peaked at number sixteen on the US Billboard Top 100.

Rodeo displays Scott using multiple styles: dark and eerie to ground shaking trap beats, light-hearted tales to gut-wrenching stories about his come up.  Scott is able to blend all of these styles together into one masterpiece of an album. Scott features multiple well-known artists, across multiple genres of modern music, including but not limited to, Future, Kayne West, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Justin Bieber, and The Weeknd.  The razor-sharp production is front lined by high profile producers such as Allen Ritter, Mike Dean, Metro Boomin, Frank Dukes, Sonny Digital, and WondaGurl.

  Some of Scott’s verses are choppy and without substance without guests, especially “I Can Tell,” which is undone without the substantial autotune.”

The best few songs out of multiple great songs on Rodeo are “90210” which features Kacy Hill and “Pray 4 Love” featuring The Weeknd.  “90210,” my personal favorite song on the album, is a five-minute thirty-nine-second piece.  The two-part song begins with a slow-paced beat with adlibs from Chantel Jeffries. Shortly after, Scott talks about a former relationship coupled with amazing vocals from Kacy Hill.  Halfway through the song, the beat transforms into an adventurous, happy, guitar-driven instrumental. Scott goes into amazing detail and his storytelling is top-notch. “Pray 4 Love,” featuring The Weeknd, closely follows as my number two.  The slow, dark, atmospherical, and menacing sounding beat is paired with The Weeknd’s gorgeous vocals and Scott’s verses about racial politics and social consensus topics. The hook and beautiful third verse are provided by The Weeknd, and are wonderful additions to Scott’s storytelling verses.

Scott is occasionally outperformed by the featured artists on Rodeo.  He’s easily outmaneuvered by the more experienced rappers, Future, Juicy J, Quavo, and 2 Chainz “Crib bigger than your imagination.”  Even Chief Keef and Tory y Moi outperform Scott, making their presence heavily felt on their songs where the Houston rapper is left to be found.  Some of Scott’s verses are choppy and without substance without guests, especially “I Can Tell,” which is undone without the substantial autotune. In comparison to Scott’s other studio albums, disregarding the more recent JACKBOYS, Rodeo is the superior work.  Although Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight takes the upper hand in singles, Rodeo’s features are better, the production is better, and overall has better songs.  The long-awaited Astroworld is a great album but did not necessarily live up to its extreme hype.

Rodeo is Travis Scott’s best studio album and is one of my favorite albums of all time.  Featuring three of my favorite Travis Scott songs, “90210,” “Pray 4 Love,” and “Maria I’m Drunk,” Rodeo is the culmination of Travis Scott’s ability to work with other artists while showcasing his storytelling ability.  This was a great debut album for Scott, as it displayed loads of potential fans are still waiting for him to tap back into, as his latest works, although very good, just do not live up to his inaugural album.  

Rating: ★★★★★

Rodeo be found on music platforms: Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and is searchable at Youtube.