As a major fan of Travis Scott, I was one of the super hype dark-trap music enthusiasts who scrambled to listen to his Rodeo follow-up, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Upon first listen to the album, I milly-rocked to every track and shared the sentiments of so many YouTubers and bloggers who felt that BITSM was the in the running for the most lit album of the year. After my fangirl filter wore off and I put my journalist glasses on, I realized that although BITSM produces banger after banger of danceable music, it is not Travis Scott’s best album, in fact, it is his worst one by a long shot.
Travis’s previous full-length studio album, Rodeo, had plenty of standout songs and also was an ode to what makes Travis such a genius in what he does. Tracks like “90210” and “Oh My Dis Side” were gorgeous masterpieces that showed Travis’s dual genius, in that one-half would be a sinister devilish beat then would somehow manifest into a light heavenly piece. The sonic version of the classic devil on one shoulder and angel on the other was told through all of the tracks on Rodeo with each one bringing something new to the table. His mixtape Days Before the Rodeo, which I believe constitutes some of his best work, brings forth this same sentiment of creating two completely opposite works of art in a single track.
BITSM had a set of unique features that all worked fairly well on their respective songs. Andre 3000, Blac Youngsta, Nav, Cassie, Kendrick Lamar, 21 Savage, Bryson Tiller, Kid Cudi, Young Thug, Quavo, The Weeknd, K. Forest, and Roy Woods all lend their voices to the 14-track album. Mike Dean, Wondagurl, and Cardo, are just some of the producers who worked on BITSM, with all of them contributing to the dark and ominous sounds that took over the entirety of the album. Although there was a long list of producers and features, the songs all ended up meshing into one, with a very small amount of standout tracks to reference.
The best track on the album was by far the foreboding nightmarish trap lullaby that is “Through the Late Night” featuring self-proclaimed stoner-loner, Kid Cudi. Cudi’s signature humming style and multi-layered vocals acted as an instrument overlaying the typically sinister trap beat that we have come to expect from Travis. The chemistry between the two was very apparent and Travis’s respect and influence by Cudi definitely came across on this track. As a fan of both and seeing how well it worked here, I’d like to see a joint album from the two in the near future.
The second best track on the album was definitely “Biebs in the Trap”, solely due to the Toronto-native Nav, who carried the track to victory with his memorable feature. Although the song isn’t talking about anything new (coked-up partiers), Nav’s delivery makes the song exciting.
“SJP Interlude” could have easily been the best track on the album if it was a whole song. The sweeping melodies and ethereal backing vocals were a great set up for some good bars and a little more versatility with production. As far as interludes go, this is definitely one of the best I have heard, but it doesn’t seem like it is cohesive with the rest of the album.
Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight seems like a rushed effort that lacks the magic that makes Travis such a force and one of the most sought-after artists in the industry. With a just year in-between this and the production of Rodeo, Travis might have just pushed this one out to please the fans, rather than bringing improvement from Rodeo to the table.