Travis Scott Has His Moments On ‘Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight’
Alternative rapper Travis Scott returns with ambitious, sophomore album, ‘Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight’, featured a star-studded cast.
Alternative hip-hop artist Travis Scott returns with his surprise sophomore album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. The album is as quirky as its title, finding the MC all over the place. Scott’s debut album, Rodeo, wasn’t for everyone – yours truly included. The same could be said of Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, at least to an extent. Scott is difficult to follow and some songs overindulge into sound and vibe with little substance.
Opener “The Ends” is the first indication that the album is…bizarre. After an autotune laden intro, Scott begins to rap on the first verse, complemented with a production shift. While “The Ends” is disjointed, it benefits from a verse from André 3000. “Way Back” is a bit more straightforward, featuring a strong hook. Still, it meanders, keeping the listener both interested and puzzled.
“Coordinate” is one of the better-produced tracks, thanks to the synths in particular. As for the lyricism, it’s not deep, but the hook is irresistible:
“Coordinate the tan with the beans in my Rockstar skinnies / I’m a need some more, need some more if I really wanna feel it…”
It’s truly a shame that the hook is catchy considering its filled with drug references…
“Through the Late Night” features Kid Cudi. Even when Cudi isn’t rapping, Scott references his hit “Day ‘n’ Nite” liberally during his verse. The vibe is “party central,” confirmed by the hook:
“Sleep through day, then we play all through the late night.”
“Beibs in the Trap” is NOT about Justin Bieber – at least in the traditional sense. It’s about cocaine. While the name is clever, it wouldn’t be the first time a rapper has used Bieber as a reference to drugs. Meek Mill did this on “Believe It” from his 2012 debut album, Dreams and Nightmares. The lack of substance – or overindulgence into substance – continues on pointless interlude, “sdp interlude.”
“Sweet Sweet” ends up being one of the better songs off of Birds. “Sweet Sweet” isn’t the second coming – nor potentially a “hit” – but it has more commercial appeal than most tracks. The main rub is, haven’t we heard this before? “Outside” keeps the momentum going strong. Dark, yet alluring, Scott puts together a respectable flow over a tight beat. 21 Savage guests on the third verse.
The crème de la crème is clearly “Goosebumps.” “Goosebumps” has balance – just the right amount of eccentricity and accessibility. The hook isn’t “hook of the year,” but among the best of the LP.
“I get those goosebumps every time, yeah, you come around, yeah / you ease my mind, you make everything feel fine / worry about those condoms / I’m way too numb, yeah, it’s way too dumb, yeah.”
The production is awesome, no questions asked. As great as Scott is, he’s out-rapped by the ever awe-inspiring Kendrick Lamar. “Goosebumps” = No. 1 song off Birds.
“First Take” isn’t too shabby, but nor is it a magnum opus. Scott showing some emotion is a pro, while the length and slow, grinding tempo is a drawback. Bryson Tiller guests, providing a sound contrast to Scott.
“Pick Up the Phone,” featuring Young Thug and Quavo is enjoyable, referencing a girl and lean. “Lose” (featuring Cassie) is okay, but not innovative or brand new. “Guidance” (featuring K. Forest) is…ambitious. Lately, there have been several records like “Guidance” – Drake and PartyNextDoor come to mind. “Wonderful,” featuring The Weeknd concludes Birds.
Ultimately, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight is a respectable album. For those who are fans of Travis Scott, this will instantly unveil its magic. For those more confounded, Birds will likely confuse as much as Rodeo. The best way to digest Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight is after multiple listens. Give it a chance, some of the magic is unleashed. Still, Scott has work to do to establish himself as a hip-hop heavyweight.
Gems: “Coordinate,” “Sweet Sweet,” “Outside,” “Goosebumps” & “Pick Up the Phone”
Travis Scott • Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight • Epic • Release: 9.2.16
Photo Credit: Epic