Travis Scott teamed up with director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) for a new cover feature in i-D magazine in which the 28-year-old Houston MC. During the chat, the budding fashion icon peels back the curtain a bit on Utopia, his eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2018’s breakthrough album Astroworld, as well as the inspiration he draws from his 3-year-old daughter with Kylie Jenner, Stormi.
Though he likes to keep his musical plans on the down-low until projects drop, Scott told Rodriguez that he’s bringing some new, unnamed people into his fold to “expand the sound. I’ve been making beats again, rapping on my own beats, just putting everything together and trying to grow it really,” he said. “That’s been one of the most fun things about working on this album. I’m evolving, collaborating with new people, delivering a whole new sound, a whole new range.”
While Utopia doesn’t have a firm release date yet, Scott was adamant that he tries to never repeat himself and that the album represents “the next saga” in his evolution. An avowed fan of Rodriguez’s work, Scott praises the Austin, Texas-based director’s vision on the explosive season two episode of The Mandalorian that he helmed, as well as asking a geeky question about the bar in From Dusk Till Dawn.
And while Rodriguez was happy to talk about himself, he deftly turned it around to probe whether Scott was feeling any pressure to follow up Astroworld‘s smash success. “I don’t feel no pressure, except to keep the fans alive,” said Scott. “There’s so much more ground I can cover, and I want to cover it, and I love the challenge of it. I want to make a f–king new sound. I might spend days banging my head against a wall trying to figure it out, but once I do it, it’s like ultimate ecstasy.”
With many sheltering at home over the past year, Scott said the pandemic has obviously had an impact on his recording sessions for the new album. In his case, the endless months at home have made him “way more” productive because he’s not traveling or playing shows, instead spending that time burning hours in his home studio with the “peace to record all day.”
The feature has a number of arty shots of Scott solo, as well as with daughter Stormi, shot by famed director Spike Jonze, and it touches on the rapper’s expanding creative vision, which over the past year has found him collaborating with Nike, McDonald’s, Fortnite, PlayStation and director Christopher Nolan on music for his acclaimed film Tenet.
Scott said that Nikes were the shoes on his feet as a kid when he was whiling away the hours on his PlayStation, so those two gigs were no-brainers. Plus, McDonald’s was the fuel for his endless studio sessions before he had any money. “But it’s about being able to create an experience, even if these are small things,” he said of his Fortnite concert and McDonald’s capsule collection. “These collaborations are tools in a way, pieces of everyday life, big brands that allowed us to generate ideas. In 2021 we want to keep evolving, keep generating.”
Speaking of Stormi, Scott said being a dad has had a huge influence on his music, with his little girl becoming a “major inspiration… She’s always interested, she catches on and learns things and adapts to things so fast,” he said. “It’s so crazy, Stormi’s generation is way different from mine, and she’s way different from my younger brother and sister.”
“Kids show you a different outlook on life, how they view things, the type of pressures they have and what makes them happy, what makes them move. Like, when she watches certain movies or listen to certain songs. Or she watches my concerts on YouTube and she realizes she’s there, she’s ready to see now,” he explained. “I realized my job is way more important than what I thought because of her. More responsibility, you know? You’ve got to use that properly.”
As for when the album is coming, Scott simply said, “It’s coming. Coming soon. You can bet that.”