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Watch Travis Scott fly

| Friday, September 6, 2019

Diane Park | The Observer

To “go sicko mode” is to go off, to go crazy, to reach a level of performance, excitement, joy or fanaticism that could be defined as “sicko” — the definition is fairly open. In “Look Mom I Can Fly,” the new Travis Scott documentary on Netflix, Travis goes “sicko mode” when first playing Drake’s contribution to the song “SICKO MODE,” which birthed the phrase, for his friends. He starts running around his kitchen, screaming, shouting, ie. going sicko mode. And that’s just one of many instances.

“Look Mom I Can Fly” follows rap superstar Travis Scott from May 2017 to early 2019, through the creation, release and subsequent reception of his 2018 hit album “ASTROWORLD.” Home video of Scott’s childhood is interspersed throughout, but the focus is on the past two years of Scott’s career. In those two years, Scott moved from burgeoning rap artist to certifiable rap star, thanks to two elements of his stardom that are highlighted throughout the documentary. 

First, there’s the footage of Travis Scott concerts. Professional videography mixed with amataeur Snapchat videos captures the raw energy at what Rolling Stone called “the greatest show on Earth.” His fans, mostly male teenagers repping stylish streetwear, rage, mosh and “go sicko mode” at his command. He stops security from removing fans who rage too hard, pulls them up on stage, raps alongside them and then encourages them to stage dive, giving them what one fan sporting a Houston Rockets jersey called “the best day of my life.” Early into the documentary, we see Scott literally get arrested for inciting a riot at one of his concerts, although nothing comes of the charges. It’s these electric, raucous shows that make Scott a must-see performer. 

Second, there’s the celebrities associated with Scott who appear throughout the documentary, most notably, reality-TV star and business mogul Kylie Jenner. They’re shown together as Jenner gets an ultrasound and eventually we see Scott in the hospital room after the birth of their daughter Stormi Webster. Scott’s newfound role as a father and the theme of family run throughout the documentary, painting the bad-boy rapper in a new light.

Other music celebrities make appearances as well. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker collaborates in the studio on the psychedelic “SKELETONS” while Toro y Moi watches on. Sheck Wes, the genius behind “Mo Bamba” and a member of Scott’s Cactus Jack (record? -Dessi) label, gets his own time to shine. Kanye West, another notable part of the Kardashian-Jenner family, appears briefly, included only to remind everyone that he’s a part of the picture.

While “Look Mom I Can Fly” offers a great glimpse into the past two years for Travis Scott, it fails to stand out as an exceptional music documentary. It could have centered around one amazing performance, like his Madison Square Garden show featuring Kendrick Lamar and Kylie Jenner or his homecoming show at Houston’s Toyota Center, similar to Beyonce’s “Homecoming” doc or the rock classic “The Last Waltz.” Or it could have focused more on the truly character-revealing moments, like the scenes when Scott visits his grandma’s home or when he returns to his high school to share a special moment with his principal and guidance counselor. Or, true to Travis Scott’s musical style, it could have bent genre conventions and delivered an energetic, psychedelic experience. Instead, there’s a little bit of everything, scratching the surface of Travis Scott but failing to go much deeper. 

Documentary: “Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly”

Starring: Travis Scott, Kylie Jenner

Director: White Trash Tyler

Where to watch: Netflix

If you like: Travis Scott, Rap music, Kylie Jenner

Stars: 3 out of 5

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About Ryan Israel

Ryan's favorite album is "Blonde" by Frank Ocean and his favorite movie is "Dazed and Confused." He's also a junior double majoring in Sociology and Television, but that's not as important. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryizzy.

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