Travis Scott makes a resounding return after his debut album Rodeo with his sophomore release Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Although Rodeo had its undeniable downfalls, it was a well-crafted albeit artful and experimental album from the Houston born hip-hop artist. When discussing Scott’s artistry, it seems that his content doesn’t quite go deeper than the surface-level-cool and the excitement of the sound. This was true for Rodeo, and it remains true for Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Scott’s music, although enjoyable, trippy, and at times thrilling, is ultimately a little hollow and too lofty.
Two songs that stand out are “Way Back” and “SDP Interlude.” Both feature fascinating sounds and create an almost psychedelic head space for the listener, something Scott excels at. “Way Back” is grounded in deep vocals that resound from the back, creating a slow, yet exciting sound that is fresh in comparison to the relatively derivative lyrics. “SDP Interlude” is more of an experiment. While it is unconventional, it is also painfully repetitive. The female voice is soothing and contrasts well with its vibrating, dizzying qualities, with Scott’s.
The track “Biebs in the Trap” is layered with metaphorical meaning, but stumbles lazily in conveying something deeper. The sound is again trippy and energetic, but it is overall a derivative song with little to offer the listener who wants more beyond the surface level drabble about the drug-filled, party lifestyle the Scott dwells on.
Young Thug has little to offer on “Pick up the Phone,” and the same goes for Kendrick Lamar’s presence on “Goosebumps.” Kendrick Lamar seems to fade in the spotlight of his own greatness as his verse on “Goosebumps” pales in comparison to his usual standards. The track, however, is one of the most entertaining on the album. Scott and Lamar flow and work well together, and the overall sound is pleasing and smooth. “Pick up the Phone” is equally fun and features a smooth sound with some apt vocal interjections from Young Thug. In his verse, lyrically speaking, Young Thug does not offer much to the piece other than his usual entertaining jumble of words. However, he and Scott flow exceptionally well. Young Thug’s scratchy sound balances well with Scott’s deeper tone, which helps the track achieve a suave sound.
“Sweet Sweet” is again derivative, and although it is a bouncing track, it has little energy to offer. “First Take” is a bit of an upgrade, but again falls a bit flat within Scott’s realm of heightened, trippy sounds. “Lose” offers the best of Scott’s kaleidoscope vision, and although the convoluting scratching noises can get annoying, Cassie adds some needed freshness to the vocals of the track.
Simply, Travis Scott presents a generally lazy effort at compiling an artful, layered trip of an album. The potential is certainly present, and tracks like “Lose” and “SDP Interludes” highlight what could have been. The instrumentals in both tracks are strong, but most importantly they stand out in a colorful way. Scott explores new territory in regards to sound with these pieces, and although all of it may not work, the artistic drive is apparent. In most of the rest of Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, however, Scott’s vision is not as far-reaching. It would be too harsh to say Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight does not have potential, but the overall content leaves the listener feeling that Scott’s process was either rushed or he was simply too lazy to dive deeper into his own artistic vision and sound.
Featured Image By Grand Hustle Records