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Travis Scott’s discography, ranked

| Friday, September 18, 2020

Jackie Junco | The Observer

Travi$ Scott, LaFlame, Cactus Jack — artist and McDonald’s collaborator Travis Scott has had an extensive career in music. He burst onto the scene between 2011 and 2012 as a producer for Kanye West on “Cruel Summer” and “Yeezus.” Like Ye, he eventually pursued solo projects, with his debut mixtape, “Owl Pharaoh,” which was released in 2013. La Flame’s style and sound has continued to evolve from its humble SoundCloud roots. In 2018, he released one of the most popular hip hop albums of recent memory, “Astroworld, and in 2020, he partnered with Fortnite to stage a virtual, in-game concert. Although the Travis Scott Burger and Fortnite skin have caused ample polarization within the music community, there is no doubt that Cactus Jack has had significant success and impact within hip hop and pop culture at large. This makes definitively ranking his five solo albums even more fun (Sorry Quavo, “Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho” would be at the end of the list, anyways).

5. “Owl Pharaoh” (2013)

La Flame’s first mixtape is his worst offering, although some of his most classic tracks appear during its runtime. It’s very clear that Scott was heavily influenced by artists like Kid Cudi on his debut; however, traces of Scott’s signature sound can be found on tracks like “Upper Echelon,” “Uptown” and “Quintana.” Some of his most legendary performances occur during this period he brought out Yeezus era Kanye during one 2013 L.A. show. With “Owl Pharaoh,” a young rager was born.

4. “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” (2016)

“Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” was a step down for Scott. Expectations were incredibly high for LaFlame following Rodeo, and he disappointed many fans with this release. Don’t get me wrong, there are discography-defining tracks throughout the album — “Pick Up the Phone” and “Goosebumps” were mainstream hits, and I am a massive fan of the Nav feature on “Biebs in the trap.” Overall, though, the album is melodramatic and inconsistent. Songs like “Outside,” “Lose” and “First Take” are skippable. However, Scott made up for these inconsistencies on his next release…

3. “Astroworld” (2018)

I may get some hate for ranking “Astroworld” at number three, but hear me out. This album is great for setting a mood; it’s ethereal, melodic and relatively strong for an album that spans 17 tracks. It is incredibly consistent, and there aren’t many skippable records across the entirety of its runtime. This album, no doubt, vaulted Scott into the mainstream (if he wasn’t there already). I had to put it this low because, really, the highs on this album do not stand up to the highs on the albums ranked above it. “HOUSTONFORNICATION” is the only song that holds a candle to the highs of the two remaining projects, and it still doesn’t really come close.

2. “Days Before Rodeo” (2014)

“Days Before Rodeo,” the mixtape that followed “Owl Pharaoh,” is a classic of the SoundCloud and DatPiff era. Scott’s signature sound emerges on “Days Before” — as soon as “The Prayer” starts, it’s clear that Scott has shifted artistic directions. “Days Before” introduced the dark, maximalist production that defined LaFlame’s following projects. “Don’t Play,” “Mamacita,” “The Prayer” and “Backyard” are the highlights of this incredibly strong mixtape, one that ultimately set the scene for Scott’s debut album.

1. “Rodeo” (2015)

“Rodeo” is Scott’s magnum opus. This album defined trap music following its release, and there aren’t many flaws in the album’s production and lyrics. On his major label debut, Travis tells his story, from growing up in Houston to ascending in the rap game. “Rodeo” was Scott’s arrival, and there isn’t really a song on the album that disappoints. “90210,”Maria I’m Drunk,” “Antidote,” “Nightcrawler,” “3500” — the list of all-time songs on this album could continue. On “Never Catch Me,” the last track on the expanded edition of “Rodeo,” Scott raps, “My fifteen seconds last a little longer.” Scott’s fame has extended well past “Rodeo”, as he has undoubtedly developed into one of the most popular and influential artists of our time.

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