'Birds' Grammy Snub Fueled Travis Scott When Creating 'Astroworld,' Says Longtime A&R: 'That Was a Real Dark Day'

JOSE SENA GOULAO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Travis Scott performs at SuperBock SuperRock Festival in Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal on July 20, 2018. 

Travis Scott finally unleashed Astroworld on Friday, and the thrilling body of work is expected to dethrone Drake atop the Billboard 200 and land a number of tracks on the Billboard Hot 100. With Houston providing the main source of inspiration behind the project, La Flame's longtime A&R Sickamore shared with Rolling Stone that the Grammy Awards snubbing Scott's 2016 project, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, drove the rapper to craft an undeniably cohesive LP.

"A real driver on this album too was when we got snubbed for the Grammys in 2016. That was a real dark day for us. We felt like we really worked hard and we really made a great album with Birds and we just got snubbed," the now Interscope Records employee admits. "We were like, man, are they not respecting us? That’s when it was like, 'No, y’all got it fucked up.'"

He even goes on to credit the Grammy Awards snub as the best thing to happen to the crew surrounding Cactus Jack. Travis is yet to notch a Grammy nomination for his own headlining work. "We went back and wanted to make an album that was undeniable. The Grammy snub was probably the best thing that happened to us. It gave us a chip on our shoulder," Sickamore explains.

Scott knew for this project to be perfect, transitions from track to track would have to be executed in a flawless manner. With that said, the ultimate goal for Astroworld was to turn the album into a cinematic experience for all to enjoy.

"For this album, from Birds, we improved the transitions. A lot of classic albums, the transitions are really great. So we didn’t want people to have to hit the skip button for this album. We’ll do it for you," the self-proclaimed air traffic controller says. "Mike Dean, Travis, they really locked in to make sure it was really flowing from song to song. It’s like a movie -- a lot of the movie is in the editing, how it’s paced."

Fellow Houston legend Mike Dean has played an integral role in all three of Scott's studio albums as an executive producer overseeing the entire operation. Sickamore detailed how once the album is done, Dean has the last call in the mixing stages to bring the LP to the finish line. He even compares the hard-working producer to New York Yankees all-time great closer Mariano Rivera. "We get it to a certain point, and at the end, we get it to Mike Dean, and he’s the closer. He’s Mariano Rivera," Sickamore proclaims.

Read the entire interview for everything Astroworld in full over at Rolling Stone.


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