The anticipation surrounding Travis Scott's third studio album, Astroworld, has been almost too much to bear. Since he leaked the title back in 2016, and more recently dropped giant, golden head installations around L.A, New York and Houston, fans have been anxiously awaiting the album's arrival with child-like glee.
Astroworld finally hit the Earth like a meteor, and it's an epic ride for the senses riddled with illustrious features, heavyweight production and is the most polished Travis Scott has ever been. The album title pays tribute to the former Houston amusement park that was torn down nearly a decade ago to build space for apartments. "'99 took AstroWorld, it had to relocate. Told the dogs I'd bring it back, it was a seal of faith" Scott's Auto-Tuned voice rings on the opening track "Stargazing" as he rides a psychedelic wave that abruptly switches to a sobering bass-heavy contrast.
Scott spares no expense when it comes to precisely selected features and producer pairings. The Hit-Boy produced "Carousel" is a brain-melting face punch that rolls in like a thunderstorm. Frank Ocean enters the track creating a collision of electricity between the unlikely pair that seamlessly transitions into the multidimensional, Drake-assisted "Sicko Mode." Lethargically easing down the vibe with an appropriate homage to a Houston legend, "rest in peace to Screw, tonight we take it slowly" Scott intros "R.I.P Screw" with backup vocals from Swae Lee.
Mike Dean's production shines on the harmonic "Stop Trying to Be God" with heavenly features from Stevie Wonder and James Blake, and added hums from Kid Cudi. The bouncy Mike Dean, wondaGURL and Gezin produced "No Bystanders" has Scott at his most lyrically fit with Cactus Jack Records signee Sheck Wes providing a euthanizing "fuck the club up" hook and a melodic injection from industry newcomer Juice Wrld.
By the time you reach the halfway mark, it's hard not to give Astroworld the cliché label of being a modern classic. Each track is more impressive than the last, while the Weeknd, 21 Savage, Gunna and Nav make appearances on the second half of the album along with 2/3 of the Migos showing up on "Who? What?" featuring Quavo and Takeoff. This is Huncho Jack 2.0 and is possibly one of their hardest collaborations to date.
The lead single "Butterfly Effect" makes its way to Astroworld, although the previously released "Watch" featuring Kanye and Lil Uzi is nowhere to be found. To be honest, it isn't lacking without. This is already everything you want from a Cactus Jack album and much more than was to be expected. Astroworld shows the evolution of Travis Scott as an artist and is his most refined, imaginative, and rage-worthy project yet. (Grand Hustle/Epic)