Even before Travis Scott’s previous album ‘Rodeo’ dropped he had made quite a name for himself. His collection of mixtapes caught the eye of Kanye West - who took him under his wing as his latest protégée and helped mould Travi$ into the rising star that he is today.
The album is peppered with A-list artists - including the illustrious Andre 3000 - who helps open the album with additional vocals from James Blake on ‘the ends’.
3000’s verse creeps up after some impressive lyrics from Scott, who has been very vocal in the past about his relaxed approach to lyricism. The track sets the tone for the album, with a heavy use of auto-tune and trap drums.
What’s distinct about this record is that the percussion remains very similar in each track. Variation is provided by an impressive roster of producers, including frequent collaborator Mike Dean whose gritty production skills suit Scott down to a tee.
As a long-time friend and producer for Kanye West, there are noticeable similarities between the work Dean has done on albums like Yeezus and what he brings to the table for Travis’ work.
Another of Scott’s influences is Kid Cudi who appears on ‘Through the late night’ - which sees Travis rapping some lines of Cudi’s earworm track ‘Day ‘N’ Night’. The 24-year-old has mentioned several times in the past about his enthusiasm for Cudi’s music and the two complement each other well.
A few tracks later sees Kendrick Lamar doing what he does best, laying down a lyrically blinding verse on ‘Goosebumps’.
There are two tracks which stand out and provide a change of pace. The soulful ‘First Take’ featuring Bryson Tiller slows things down while ‘Guidance’ again switches up the tempo with Toronto’s own K Forest.
'Pick up the phone’ featuring frequent collaborator Young Thug and Migos’ Quavo and ‘Wonderful’ showcasing The Weeknd also diverts the album from the dark trap sound we have become accustomed to - but as they were released in early June and December they have somewhat lost their momentum.
Despite the album being pushed back week after week, due to various complications, the excitement surrounding the release remained the same.
Travis knows exactly what his fans want and expect from him and with that in mind Birds sees a new, more lyrical side of La Flame with the grittiness we all know and love.