Last year's 'Days Before Rodeo' was arguably one of the most captivating hip-hop releases of 2014. It served as a teaser for Travis Scott's proper full-length, 'Rodeo', which is, in short, more of the same. But to lesser results.
The body content of 'Rodeo' is much the same as the predecessor; girls, porn, drugs, drink and money. But while 'Days Before Rodeo' felt fresh and purposeful (as divisive as it was), 'Rodeo' feels like the work of an artist going through the motions of creating a certain sound just because, with little attention paid to the end product.
Make no mistake, this is unmistakably Scott's own sound, there is no question of his ability as a producer, the man almost single handedly crafted much of Kanye's 'Yeezus' in 2013. Kanye returns the favour on 'Piss On Your Grave' and the results are frustratingly underwhelming. The track is built atop a thumping drum beat, which has a lot of weight to it, but lacks any sense of progression. Vocally, the pair shout "piss on your grave" and little else for the duration of the track, and a song that is only two minutes and 45 seconds ends up feeling like a marathon of mediocrity. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this was a song deemed not good enough to make the final cut of 'Yeezus' two years ago, or even the forthcoming 'SWISH' (whenever the hell that comes out.)
Other guests include Future, 2Chainz and The Weeknd. The Weeknd and Scott are artists with multiple similarities, they are perfectors of creating the image of something rather than expressing any actual feelings. Their collab on 'Pray 4 Love' is testimony to that. "I'm right here, you know where I stay. And if you don't ask your girl, she probably know the way," Tesfaye croons through a presumable grin. It's certainly a scathing and braggadocio quote on the surface, but strip it back beyond that, and there is little else.
In many ways, 'Rodeo' is best compared to its cover art. A sleek looking figurine of Scott himself, but as cool as it looks on the surface it's just a plastic casing, under that sheen it is a hollow and empty product, much like Scott's music. Yes, the production is razor sharp, the beats are skewed and often very loud which makes them feel important, but in reality, it's all a façade; an image.
Words: Matthew Cooper
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