Despite three projects already under his belt, Travis Scott’s “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” is yet another album showing that he still hasn’t found his own style.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to highlight who your influences are from time to time, but when this is all an artist does they tend to lose grip of themselves and stop progressing musically. The influences of Kanye West, Kid Cudi and popular Atlanta trap artists such as Future and Young Thug are more than noticeable—each song on this record sounds like less-listenable attempts to mimic them.
From a production standpoint, this project offers some nice trap-inspired beats from producers Mike Dean, Cardo and Vinylz. These beats are the project’s strongest suit, often overshadowing Scott. Guest features also add some excitement as the project flows.
“The Ends” and “Goosebumps” are the album’s highlights, each one showcases an appearance from Andre 3000 and Kendrick Lamar. Both emcees come through with rapid verses that seem full of energy and passion. Even Scott himself manages to hold his own with decent verses and bars.
“First Take” is one of a few tracks that happen to show some subject matter. Here, Scott and young singer Bryson Tiller deliver a solid track discussing past relationships with women who were only with them for the wealth and stardom. “Through the Late Night” is one of the album’s potential party bangers. In it, Scott and one of his influences, Kid Cudi, deliver a track about living for the nightlife. In the beginning we are met with Cudi’s iconic humming sound which later blends into the hook and a verse creating one of the album’s more notable and entertaining moments.
Apart from the tracks previously discussed, many of the other cuts on the project either suffer from poor performances or uninteresting trap tracks that sound very unoriginal. In “Biebs in the trap” we get a boring and sedated delivery from both Scott and Canadian rapper NAV as they rap about partying and drug use. Scott himself seems to struggle tremendously on “guidance” — a track with a dancehall-inspired beat that was made popular recently through borrowing Jamaican-styled themes.
Overall, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” is a mess that sells itself on the current popularity of trap music. But the album and Scott do offer a few positives worth giving some merit for. In the end, the biggest question remains — “Who is Travis Scott?”