This semester I went to a Travis Scott concert in Dallas which was a part of his Astroworld Tour. Astroworld is the name of Scott's third studio album and is undeniably his most successful to date. The album is rich in catchy beats and is a testament to excellent production. The album shows a refined Scott, still heavily using auto tune, utilizing featuring artists to help elevate his performance and music, rather than falling into the background short of his features.
Scott has been a very public figure ever since his rise to success in the early 2010s and has had to endure a lot of scrutiny. His first studio album, Rodeo, let a lot of fans down despite all the hype surrounding the album. Scott was too reliant on the featuring artists on the album and consequently was rather indistinguishable. Until the release of Astroworld, Scott has been rather shallow and predictable lyrically. However, that changed with the release of Astroworld, which featured songs with lyrics containing Scott's ideas on subjects such as the effect of wealth and fame on people.
Stop trying to be God, provides the most involved vocal track from Scott. With wistful harmonica lines, church organs and gorgeously spacey beats, switching and blurring seamlessly. The song has kind of a meditative feeling, curated by Kid Cudi's humming and then concluded by James Blake's beautiful vocals. The lyrics reflect on Scott's ideas that wealth, success and all the materialistic things that come with it are not a reliable source of happiness and don't come with love. The song also includes a clear warning to those at the top. Stop trying to be God / That's not who you are / That's not your job. Here Scott tells people not to think too highly of themselves. Perhaps he's also telling himself to stop pursuing his desire to be a God among the public, rather focus on his family and take care of them. Palm trees, oceans, fresh air that can break your heart, the comfort of wealthiness is not a reliable source of happiness, and the materialistic things that come with wealth can lead to your downfall.
Now, enough about Travis Scott, let's talk about me and my musical background. My parents have undeniably had the most influence on my taste in music. My father nurtured my interest in music by introducing me to a wide variety of artists and teaching me how to play guitar, then enrolling me in classical guitar classes when he had taught me everything he knew. In primary school I joined a garage band and played bass. The band mainly played covers, and rock songs were a requirement. We experimented with composing songs, so I know how rigorous and challenging the process of piecing together a successful song is. In my teens I started exploring other musical genres. I got really into R&B, Jazz, Soul, and a few other genres that share certain qualities with Rock and Roll. However, a genre that I had never really paid attention to and is different from Rock is Hip Hop and Rap. I started listening to it daily and it quickly became one of my favorite types of music to listen to. The artists I became fan of were artists such as Nas, Kanye West, Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar. Travis Scott, however had never been on my radar until he published Astroworld.
Prior to the Travis Scott's concert in Dallas I had never attended a concert of the same magnitude. However, my expectations for the concert were mixed. Musically, I was expecting mediocrity at best since Scott relies heavily on autotune. I knew, however, that Scott's concerts are considered to have an electric atmosphere, where the crowd sings and dances throughout the concert. In that aspect I had high expectations.
The concert was held at the American Airlines Center, which is a multi-purpose arena. Walking into the arena, it was packed with people, everyone anxiously waiting to get to their seats or on to the concert floor. Most of the attendees were dressed rather casually in street wear, however many of whom were wearing expensive street wear brands such as, Supreme, Bape, Palace, Off-White, and Anti-Social Social Club. A very common trend among the concert goers were expensive shoes, such as Balenciaga's, Gucci's, Jordan's and Yeezy's. Expensive streetwear is an immensely common theme in the Hip Hop and Rap community and is a big part of the culture. Another thing noticeable at the concert was alcohol consumption and drug use. You could smell the odor of marijuana smoke, which is not a pleasant one. These values I do not share, I do not spend money on overly expensive clothes and do not condone drug use. The difference in values between me and other concert goers didn't matter, and even though the values of the attendees of this concert were different from a classical concert, there was no brawling or fighting. Everyone was there for the same purpose, listen to a great artist perform and enjoy the show.
During the concert my mixed and mediocre expectations were exceeded, and I felt almost foolish to not have had higher expectations towards Scott. I was extremely impressed how he managed the crowd and even let them participate. He allowed a fan to come on stage and sing the lyrics to a song with him. The concert was not just a performance, also an extremely well thought out and planned show. The visual stimuli to the songs, whether it was Scott riding a rollercoaster on stage or beautiful visuals on a massive screen behind the rapper, were impressive to say the least. They elevated the concert and made everyone feel more involved in the concert.
Overall the concert was a great success. Travis Scott is not only a great artist in the studio, but also a performer, who puts great effort into making his concerts as enjoyable as possible for every concert goer. It surprised me how much care was put into every aspect of the show. That is maybe due to the public image of Hip Hop and Rap artists being lesser artists in comparison to artists of other genres. This concert showed me that it doesn't matter what genre an artist belongs, he will always take pride in his work and try to improve upon each project from the last.
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