RANKED is a series of articles in which The College Tribune looks at the discography of an artist and places them from worst to best. This edition features one of the most recognisable faces of not only rap but music from the last couple of years, Houston native, Travis Scott.
The JACKBOYS album is a collaborative effort from Travis and his label-mates from ‘Cactus Jack Records’ and other rap stars. While Travis admitted the album was a collection of songs from himself and the likes of Don Toliver, Sheck Wes and Young Thug just having fun in the studio, it did reach number 1 in the U.S. Unfortunately, the album was mostly forgettable, aside from ‘Out West’ featuring Young Thug that went viral on ‘tiktok’ and ‘GATTI’ with the late Pop Smoke. Unlike the acclaimed ‘Cosy Tapes’ from the ASAP Mob collective, it didn’t strike a chord with fans and fell flat after its late 2019 release.
While Owl Pharaoh (OP) was Travis first Mixtape, there is no doubt that it broadcast the potential that Travis was showing in 2013. The track ‘Upper Echelon’ featuring T.I and 2chainz is still a fan favourite that Travis drops at shows almost 7 years on. The mixtape has a strong Kid Cudi influence, almost to the point that one could argue Travis had not broken his own mould as an artist. Despite some patchy performances and an overall lack of direction or personality on OP, it is still nice to see the beginnings of Travis Scott’s energetic and psychedelic rapping style.
Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho
This is where the list transitions from ‘mid’ to ‘very good’. Huncho Jack was another collaborative tape, this time Travis linked up with Quavo, 1/3 of ‘Migos’. When this dropped in December 2017, Quavo was arguably the hottest rapper at that time. Tracks such as ‘Dubai Shit’, ‘Motorcycle Patches’ and ‘Modern Slavery’ encompassed the world of trap in 2017: braggadocious, effortless, but brilliant. The production on this tape epitomises trap-rap. The reason why Huncho Jack falls down on this list, is it didn’t stand the test of time, and the artistic direction doesn’t hold weight. Regardless, it will always serve as a nostalgic nod to the arguable peak of trap.
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight (Birds)
‘Birds’ was initially meant to serve as filler for fans before the release of ‘Astroworld’, but instead ended up being a highly regarded album. While it didn’t hold a storyline, it did everything that a trap fan wanted when it released in 2016. Star-studded features, a mix of wavy psychedelic – melodic tracks, and hard-hitting bangers. Travis Scott flaunted his party-filled fame on ‘Birds’ but exposed a vulnerable side for brief moments, which kept fans intrigued, and separated him from the pack at the time. ‘Goosebumps’ ‘Pick up the phone’ and ‘Biebs in the trap’ remain and trap-rap classics.
Days Before Rodeo
Days Before Rodeo (DBR) was the precursor to ‘Rodeo’, Travis’ first studio album. DBR is chalk-full of moody, psyched out tracks. It was revolutionary in the sense that Travis found himself at his moody best on the tape. It’s his most raw and exposed piece of work. ‘Drugs you should try it’ is arguably his best ever track among his current discographies. With the aid of Young Thug on ‘Mamacita’ and The 1975 on ‘Don’t Play’, Travis staked his claim for the best mixtape release of the 2010s.
Rodeo has been described as the quintessential trap album by many critics. Travis Scott’s debut album encompasses what trap music is. Narrated by T.I, ‘Rodeo’ is laden with A-list features, the production is multi-dimensional, ranging from psyched out beats to club stompers and everything in between. It even features Justin Bieber testing has rap skills against Young Thug & Travis on ‘Maria, I’m Drunk’. The lead single ‘Antidote’ truly propelled Travis Scott to the consciousness of the mainstream. Many will argue ‘Rodeo’ to be Travis’ greatest piece to date, but it falls just short of the number 1.
Astroworld was not just an album, it was a movement. The massive merchandising followed by two festivals, aptly branded ‘Astrofest’ and an American tour featuring surprise guests, LeBron James on stage with Drake and Travis, and a rollercoaster being built into every venue. However, the music itself was Travis Scott truly living up to the album tagline, going ‘out of this world’. The album is near flawless. The seamless transitions where travis pays homage to the ‘chopped and screwed’ beat style, invented in his hometown of Houston, Texas. The album shows Travis in his ultimate form. With bangers such as ‘SICKO MODE’, ‘STARGAZING’ ranging too mellowed out tracks such as ‘R.I.P Screw’ and ‘YOSEMITE’. Travis doesn’t hold back on what is his genuine Magnum-Opus.
Luke Murphy, Co-Editor