Headphones: The Birds Are Singing McKnight

Two weeks ago, when the original drop date for Travis Scott’s much anticipated sequel failed to yield results, producer Mike Dean tweeted a message to fans. “Trust me kids he's wild He's a lunatic for y'all. It's almost here.” Well folks, it’s here.  On Friday, while the southeast was waking up to damage from Hurricane Hermine, Travis Scott debuted The Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight on his new radio show .Wav, and boy was it everything we could have hoped for.  Prior to actually debuting the music, Scott gave a bit of an explanation for the fans as to what took so long.  He walked through the in depth production process, and all the star power he had in house.  The already known delay was producer Mike Dean’s acute attention for detail.  He was outspoken on twitter about “not letting Travis drop it” until he was finished.  If you recall back in January, we had a similar situation with Chance The Rapper and The Life of Pablo.  While fans were promised an album release after the debut of Kanye’s Yeezy Season 3, they were made to wait until the following Sunday because of Chance wanting the extra time to perfect the song Waves.  In the end, as Chance put it, “the world was a better place for it.”  The same could be said for Birds, as the production level from the opening minute are, in layman’s terms, epic (more on the music breakdown in this week’s Album of the Week.)  Travis also took the time to detail some of his most memorable moments during the production, like working with inspiration Kid Cudi.  According to Travis, Cudi was his biggest inspiration in music growing up, going so far as to say he “saved his life.”  The two met when Travis first came into the studio to put in work on Kanye’s label GOOD Music.  On Birds, the two join for a dream collaboration on the song Through the Late Night.  Cudi seemingly knights Scott when he briefly covers the main hook from Cudi’s breakout hit Day N’ Nite.  From track to track, it’s almost amazing how mastered the album sounds, especially when you consider that Scott says it was finished on the road with Kanye as they rehearse for the Saint Pablo Tour.  Another interesting note came from that point in the interview, when he discussed his thoughts on being an opener on the road.  Travis Scott has really come into his own as an artist, and he needs more roomk for his vision to grow.  The last 3 years, he has opened for The Weeknd, Rihanna and now Kanye West.  Scott says that after this tour, he will no longer be playing second fiddle. With that, back to this soon to be headliner’s album.

Critically and commercially, the album has been viewed as a huge triumph.  Travis Scott has now climbed the ladder to the top of the artistic rap game.  We are truly blessed to be living in an era where we have the likes of Kanye, A$AP, Kendrick, and up and comers like Travis Scott all creating at the same time.  Cudos for Travis Scott for mastering his craft in such a short time.

Album of the Week: The Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight: From the opening, which is run in by a reverberated hum, this album has a sound that is undeniably Travis.  Sure, it definitely calls to mind a few of his idols.  On almost every song, when he moans and growls over his bass heavy beats, you can be sure that Kid Cudi had some sort of influence.  His keen ability as a producer has almost certainly been aided by his close relationship with Kanye West, whom he has toured with, shared the booth with, and collaborated with numerous times over the years.  The opening track has legend Andre 3000 on it, which is always a sure fire way to increase the credence of your work. 

Sonically, this album is more mature than his last, Rodeo. On that album, Travis showed promise as both producer and hit maker, but more so of the latter.  The album produced hit songs Antidote, 3005, and Pray 4 Love, among others.  This album at first glance doesn’t have the same number of stadium bangers, but simply put it’s better music. 

Music Videos

Country: Florida Georgia Line Feat. Tim McGraw – May We All: Country's new favorite duo show their acting ability, where they play around with one of country's all time greats, Tim McGraw.

EDM: Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris – Hype: Fresh off winning Male Video of the Year at the VMA's, Calvin Harris teams with Dizzee Rascal for another solid single.  The breakup with Taylor Swift doesn't seem to have slowed him down.  

Hip/Hop: Travis Scott – Pick Up the Phone: Possibly the rap song of the year, Pick Up The Phone is the lead single off of Birds in the Trap.  The video again showcases the artistic talent of La Flame.

Pop: Martin Garrix & Beba Rexha – In the Name of Love: After having slowed his roll since dropping EDM songof the summer in Animals a few years ago, Martin Garrix recruits Bebe Rexha on vocals to possibly rekindle some of that steam. 

Noteworthy: Childish Gambino is Back… On T.V. While fans must wait until later this month for more music from Donald Glover, better know by his rap name Childish Gambino, we are teased with his presence on the new FX show Atlanta, which debuted on Tuesday night.  The teasers, which have been popping up on network television, have been cryptic so far, not giving too much away as far as plot, but this isn’t Gambino’s first time on T.V. He starred more recently in thi cult hit comedy series Community, where he played fan favorite Troy.  The show was a pop culture spoof depicting a group of people going through community college.  There he showed his wittiness and acting ability, proving himself to be a triple threat.  With a comedy special under his belt as well, Gambino has quite the resume in show business.  His last two albums, Because of the Internet and Kauai were critical successes as well.  So whose to say his new endeavor wont be too?  Now that the show is out, we now have a better idea of what it depicts.  Gambino plays a down on his luck Atlanta native, who finds out his cousin has just dropped an underground mixtape.  Upon hearing it and discovering it was good, he reaches out to his estranged cousin to be his manager.  The show has a comical take on the struggles of growing up in impoverished Atlanta.  It will provide a great way to pass the time until we get his next album. 

HeadphonesLJ Hilberath