Travis Scott Talks 'Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight' Title, Collaborating with Kendrick Lamar & Andre 3000

Nikko Lamere
Travis Scott attends Hard Summer at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif on July 30, 2016.

Travis Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight has landed. After unveiling his dark album cover, a striking image shot by esteemed photographer Nick Knight which illustrates Scott with black wings, the Missouri City rapper unleashed a flurry of tracks during a live listening session on his Beats 1 show .wav as well as a stunning visual.

Among the set’s standout offerings are collaborations with The Weeknd (“Wonderful”), Kendrick Lamar (“Goosebumps”), Andre 3000 (“the ends) and Kid CuDi (“Through the night”). Twenty-four hours before his sophomore album’s release, Billboard managed to wrangle a few minutes with Scott on the phone to discuss linking with Lamar and 3 Stacks as well as the real meaning behind Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight.

Houston ft. Travis Scott - Back to the Block | Billboard

Why did you decide to title your album Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight?

It all stemmed from me having that frustration of just like wanting to do creative s--t and just not being able to do it. It took five months for my action figure to come out. It took eight months for the Hype Williams video to come out. I just felt like I was confined in a box. I couldn’t do s--t I wanted to do to help forward pop culture and music. It’s like motherf--kers still tryna hold me back so that was the whole gist of it. "In the trap" has nothing to do with coke or anything. It’s literally a trap.

And nothing to do with Brian McKnight?

Nothing to do with Brian McKnight but the title came from me, Quavo and [Young] Thug working on “Pick Up The Phone.” Young Quavius was rapping, bouncing off ideas, and I was letting him know the story and the vibe of my album so when he was doing his verse, dude just says “Birds in the trap sing Brian McKnight.” I ran in the booth and I was like, “Bro, this is it!” [Laughs]

Travis Scott Premieres 'Pick Up the Phone' & '90210' Videos, Celebrates Beats 1 Show at .Wav Party in L.A.

How is Birds sonically different from your previous projects?

I just think it’s the consistency. Every track is its own banger and has its own feel. I feel like with Rodeo, I was putting a lot of emotion and a lot of thought into it, collected beats and trying to make s--t sound epic. I feel like this s--t is straight me. It’s cutting straight down to everybody want to eat.

Where did you record this album?

I recorded most of the bangers in my crib. I got this song “Goosebumps” with Kendrick [Lamar] and the first song “the ends” was the first song I recorded in my crib [in Beverly Hills] when I got it. I finished [the songs] off on the tour bus on the Saint Pablo tour. I was doing that s--t in the field. I don’t like studios. That’s why all my s--t be leaking.

How did you link with Kendrick Lamar for “goosebumps”?

I met him at the [MTV Video Music Awards] one year and he came up to me and was just like, "Yo, man, I f--k with your music. It’s super dope and inspirational." I was like, whoa, this is the best rapper in the globe -- he f--ks with my music! That’s one of the things that made me want to keep working on my music and try to keep it going 'cause I’m not the most rappity rap ass n---a. That’s not me but I really love Kendrick’s music. I really love Andre [3000’s] music. I really love ‘Ye’s s--t. I really love Jay’s s--t. I like rappers. It’s just dope that these dudes came to La Flame’s world to get down on some ill beats.

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

Your last project had narration from Tip. Are you hoping to do the same with this project?

Well, I was gonna have [Andre 3000] narrate the album but he ended up doing a verse and I was surprised. I ain’t even know.

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