Travis Scott Orchestrates His Own Trap Opera on 'Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight': First Listen

Travis Scott photographed in 2015

Travis Scott

Travis Scott orchestrates his own trap opera on his sophomore studio effort Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight (Epic Records). The follow-up to his Rap Albums No. 1 set Rodeo finds Scott riding high on fame as he brings a colorful cast of characters to help make his hazy visions a reality. 

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Here are our first impressions from Birds. 

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1. Andre 3000 makes an appearance on "the ends"

As Scott raps about racking up incidentals in his hotel room and "not taking shots, launching missiles," a rare verse from the OutKast MC is welcome on the eerie Vinylz and Daxz co-produced beat. 3 Stacks recently lent his rhymes to the Frank Ocean comeback album Blonde.

2. Cassie makes two appearances

The Bad Boy songstress -- whose last offering was 2013's Rockabyebaby mixtape -- contributes her vocals and pen games to two Birds tracks, the "sdp interlude" ("smoke some, drink some, pop one," rings the hook) and "lose." Scott and Cassie harmonize on the latter, produced by Vinylz and Frank Dukes, singing "Steady with the crew and you never like it." "sdp interlude" also contains interpolations of Madonna's "Lucky Star" as well as Washed Out's "You And I." 

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3. Kid CuDi and Scott (finally) link up

Scott's idol, CuDi, appears on the late-night number "through the late night." "4 in the morning, how did I get in this place?," asks Cudder as Scott pays homage to his 2009 hit "Day 'N' Nite," singing, "Day and night, I toss and turn, I keep stressing my mind, my mind." The standout track also finds Scott rhyming "heart of malice" with "in my palace" and "stroke my cactus." 

4. Travis Scott recruits A1 features

Recruiting Toronto rapper/producer Nav, Memphis rhymer Blac Youngsta, Atlanta MC 21 Savage and T-Dot crooner K. Forest, La Flame shares the spotlight with rising acts who enhance cuts like the intoxicating "beibs in the trap" and the menacing "outside." On the production side, Scott also tapped Hit-Boy, Cashmere Cat and Honorable C-Note for the Birds highlight "Way Back." 

5. Bryson Tiller adds his spin to "first take"

Last year, Tiller, who delivered his breakout R&B album Trapsoul, opened for Scott on several tour dates and reunite on "first take." "I'm the only real n---a left," Pen Griffey sings on Scott's slow jam, which samples Sy Ari Da Kid's "Queen." 

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6. Kendrick Lamar appears on "goosebumps"

Another highlight on Birds is the body roll-worthy number "goosebumps." Recorded at La Flame's House in Beverly Hills, the track (co-produced by Cardo, CuBeatz and YeX) finds the pair penning sexy love notes to their special someone. "I get goosebumps every time you come around," offers Scott. 

7. Scott offers a cohesive body of work

While Rodeo -- and even his previous releases, 2014's Days Before Rodeo and 2013's Owl Pharaoh -- have became a sound board for Scott's frustrations with the music industry and making it out of his native Missouri ("Mo") City, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight has little to do with chirping animals or R&B veteran Brian McKnight but hones in on Scott, an artist who has mastered the art of self expression with dark yet liberating tracks. His intricate layering of beats and vocals often make one track sound like three in a way that doesn't diminish the overall quality or feel but instead allow Scott's story to play out like a sonic motion picture. 

Click here to listen to Birds in The Trap Sing McKnight via Apple Music.