Cactus Jack’s true sophomore album
by Marvin Poindexter, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Good things come to those who wait, and after two years, the wait was well worth it.
A project that essentially was announced back in 2016 alongside the announcement and release of Travis Scott’s sophomore album “Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight,” at long last “Astroworld” has been delivered.
In 2017 Scott did give the fans something to hold them over until the release of his third studio project, in the form of a collaboration album with Migos member Quavo, titled “Huncho Jack Jack Huncho.” Even with the release of “Huncho Jack,” some still weren’t satisfied with the collaborative effort, and were left hungered for what was to come.
“Astroworld” a project essentially two years in the making, is a project worth the wait. This album demonstrates what Scott intended to do. It feels like an amusement park, with each song being interpreted as a different section of the park.
The inspiration behind Scott’s third studio project, comes from his hometown of Houston, Texas. The main source of inspiration being from the old Six Flags Amusement Park that was called “Astroworld.” According to Scott in a 2017 interview with GQ, he capitalized on “Astroworld” and the park impacted the creation of his album. He stated that he wanted it to sound like something was being taken away from the children.
“That’s what it’s going to sound like, like taking an amusement park away from children. We want it back. We want the building back. That’s why I’m doing it. It took the fun out of the city.” Astroworld as a park was open from June 1, 1968, and closed Oct. 30, 2005.
The album starts off with the bass heavy assisted song titled Stargazing. In the song Scott describes what seems to be a psychedelic trip of sorts, while also containing his signature use of switch up delivery. Before its appearance on “Astroworld,” Stargazing has been performed multiple times in live concert, as well as being used in an album trailer four days before the release of the album. Stargazing is only the beginning of what can be called a psychedelic twisted roller-coaster ride. A ride filled with distorted vocals, heavy bass, unique melodies, constant beat switches, plus more.
The next track “Carousel” featuring Frank Ocean, according to Genius is a song about spending the day under the influence of drugs. This track also demonstrates or even reminds listeners of Ocean’s graceful voice with and without the use of auto tune. One of the biggest tracks off the album, “Sicko Mode,” boast features form Big Hawk, Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, and 6ix god himself, Drake. Aside from the song boasting big features, is also the production of the track. The track hosts a total of five features including up and coming producer Tay Keith, most notably for his work “Look Alive ft Bloc Boy Jb and Drake,” and his placement on “Scorpion” with “Nonstop.” “Sicko Mode” also features what Scott is known for in his music, being the switch ups. The track also showcases the work ethic that both La Flame and 6ix god stand for, especially on the third part of the song.
“Astroworld” boasts a total of 18 features, which all fit cohesively on the project. Some appearing twice, such as The Weekend being on “Skeletons” featuring Pharrell Williams, Phillip Bailey & the legendary Stevie Wonder, as well as “Wake Up.” Swae lee on “Sicko Mode” and “R.I.P. Screw no Bystanders” featuring Juice WRLD & Sheck Wes, (which can be considered the ragers anthem, for concert goers), and more.
Certain songs feel like rides with twist and turns in the form of distorted vocals, quality auto tune, hard hitting bass, and unique and at times creepy like sounds. This project also shows the influence of not only the Astroworld amusement park, but also the just the influence Texas has on Scott. Leading up to the release of this album, some fans were afraid that by Scott being with now girlfriend and mother Kylie Jenner that essentially the Kardashian curse would affect the creation and process of “Astroworld”. It is safe to say that wasn’t the case whatsoever. It could even be said that now since Scott is a father that it only inspires and makes him want to achieve even more throughout his career.
Even though fans have been rewarded for their patience, it only creates more curiosity to see, what the Houston rapper will do next. Compared to previous projects such as “Rodeo” and “Birds,” “Astroworld” feels what can be called an equivalent to Kanye West’s “Graduation” and can be literally called LaFlame’s “Graduation” album. An album that shows overall growth from Scott most earlier and notable project such as “Owl Pharaoh,” and “Days Before the Rodeo.”