Published Aug 18, 2014Travi$ Scott's second project, the "don't-call-it-a-mixtape" free album Days Before Rodeo, is a focused, refined demonstration of the Houston native's weirdo trap rap potentialities. Building on the foundation from his 2013 debut Owl Pharoah, Scott, taking production cues from Kanye West (to whose production imprint, Very G.O.O.D. Beats, he's signed), is at his best when formulating mixtape-y, posse rap archetypes alongside catchy hooks that simultaneously straddle both Tumblr timelines and dance floor narratives.
This quality is most evident in the Metro Boomin-produced standout track "Mamacita," which features a range of cadences from Scott, with vocal modifiers set atop the infectious hook and occasional mid-verse switch-up. Atlanta's rising rap stars Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug trade off trademark turnt verses on the track.
Days Before Rodeo is markedly dark and dirty, with distorted guitar riffs, crispy 808 hi-hats and thudding bass kicks regularly met with auto-tuned hooks. Brampton's own WondaGurl opens the album with organ-driven, boom-bap inspiration, which is a nice touch, and demonstrates Scott's ear for moody, cohesive beats.
Travi$ Scott presents a well-executed project that comfortably swerves downward, in both lyrical content and backing beats, signalling the end of feel-good summertime turn-up. This project is a presumed outsider's invitation in to his world, but only long enough to see occasional glimmers of greatness. There are some great ideas here, but tired lyrical clichés and frequent zigzags through trendy rap themes hold Days Before Rodeo back from being truly unique. (Independent)