Travis Scott – UTOPIA, Album Review

Following his concert tragedy, Travis Scott returns with a questionable effort.

Avatar photo
Kam Jenkins Music Writer
Last updated:

Polished riffs. That’s what this album reduces to, in my opinion. Five years have passed since Travis Scott’s last studio album. Typically artists with as much hype as he garners drop projects left and right. I’m glad Travis doesn’t follow that formula. However, he does follow a different one. One centered almost entirely around branding. Countless endorsement deals and merch waves unfortunately supersede his music nowadays. Following the child-death tragedy at his ASTROWORLD Tour back in 2021, Travis seems somewhat out of ideas. While UTOPIA does offer a slightly new direction for Scott, it does not offer a new direction for hip-hop. Rather he appears to be dipping back into a sound he helped create with Kanye more than a decade ago. Except not nearly as interesting in terms of creative direction or sticky songwriting. Here he merely maintains his celebrity.

Rick Kern | Getty Images

That’s not to say UTOPIA doesn’t have bops, though. Sometimes simple is the way to go. Especially paired with Scott’s limited lyrical abilities. After my first listen, I found this album to be mid as fuck. To be honest, that’s what I anticipated post-tragedy. Earlier this year, courts absolved Travis of any and all liability concerning the deaths of his concertgoers. It’s not my place to judge him as a man. So I won’t. Yet this album sounds like it’s coming from a person who has other things than recording on his mind. That adds up to me. With each album release, Scott discovers new ways to say the same old things. Flex bars, nonsense bars, with a sprinkle of ingenuity here and there. More listens helped me put his latest into perspective. This was his outlet. The man has been stressed for an understandable reason.

Jason Koerner | Getty Images

Nevertheless, I have concluded that UTOPIA lives as his weakest all-around effort. Sure, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight features horrid one-liners and cringey themes. But at least there were legitimate bangers on there. Here, though, the best beats (other than “Thank God”) become tainted by Travis’ lack of penmanship. Once rap artists go number-one, you can’t tell them shit. He refuses to articulate his emotions, in my view, because his life is amazing and he has awesome individual songs. Self-improvement exists as an ongoing battle within oneself. Be that as it may, when money and status are achieved and prioritized there are no more mountains to climb in one’s mind. To me, this is a dangerous game to play. Vibrations always tell the truth. Music is nothing if not a contained vibrational experience.

Nike Dunk Low to Come in ‘Smoke Grey’

No amount of famous friends or highly skilled producers covers an artist’s blind spots. In spite of Travis’ directorial skills, UTOPIA suffers from vapid lyrical topics as well as good-enough song structures. None of these songs foretell a shelf life longer than a few months. He doesn’t have to become Lupe overnight. Travis Scott holds a special place in my heart. He has a style and executes on it. However, after a five-year gap I need more depth. With no clear identity, UTOPIA struggles to leave a lasting impression. It’s hard to tell if he’s even taking his art seriously or not. Dick-joke lines and the classic “I could go deeper on here but y’all can’t handle that” type shit bug the hell out of me.

FKA twigs – CAPRISONGS, Mixtape Review

If Travis had the lyrical skills and creative focus he showcased on his debut, this could have been his best project. His albums tend to grow on me. Yet this time around Travis offers little more than repetitive sentiments and occasionally cool beat switches. Still have to do something with those beat switches, though. And for me, the guests on UTOPIA outshine Scott almost exclusively. This is most prominent on “MELTDOWN” and “DELRESTO (ECHOES)” with Drake and Beyoncé respectively. SZA eats him up, too. Although it’s not a competition, Travis fails to hold up his end of the bargain on wax.  His acquisition and placement of talent stand second to none. Yet now that his peers such as Ye, Drake, and A$AP Rocky have shown to be on the decline artistically, it appears Travis Scott has no more exams left on which to cheat.

Travis Scott – UTOPIA, Album Review
Quality Mix
Guest Excellence
Complementary Production
Recycled Lyrical Themes
Disjointed Narrative
Vacuous Bars

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop