Travis Scott just released the best-made album of his career, Astroworld. A sprawling smorgasbord of astral drug raps, Astroworld is a watershed moment for Travis, who up until this album has had flashes of brilliance come and go. But albums this finely stitched don’t come from thin air, as Scott’s A&R Sickamore explained to Rolling Stone, it took a GRAMMY snub and a series of backhanded compliments to light his artist's fire.
“A real driver on this album too was when we got snubbed for the Grammys in 2016,” Sickamore began. “That was a real dark day for us. We felt like we really worked hard and we really made a great album with Birds and we just got snubbed. We were like, man, are they not respecting us? That’s when it was like, ‘no, y’all got it fucked up.’ We went back and wanted to make an album that was undeniable.”
Though it’s disappointing to hear an artist of Travis Scott’s superstar caliber still hung up over institutional awards, the reality of the team’s disappointment comes by way of a felt lack of respect.
“In the last album, we felt like Travis wasn’t getting respect from the rapper community, you know what I mean?” Sickamore continued. “Every time you read an article, there’s always a ton of backhanded compliments on him — ‘curator,’ they try to write him off as some person who’s just good for features. We got something for you guys. He’s rapping more than ever on this album.”
While there's nothing wrong with being regarded as an adept executive producer, on Astroworld, Travis Scott does more than curate or rap. He concocts an immersive experience that secures his place as one of today’s most transcendent artists. Across the interview, Sickamore paints the album-making process as a tireless and impassioned endeavor, with Scott at the helm to ensure the music impresses everyone without boxing himself in.
“Travis doesn’t really look at himself as a hip-hop artist,” Sickamore concluded. “He just looks at himself as an artist. Genre is something just for labels.”
With that in mind, Travis Scott does not need respect from any community, his impressive first-week projections and the glowing reviews of Astroworld speak for themselves.