Why Travis Scott Won’t Be Considered A “Houston” Artist
The largest city in the Lone Star State has produced artists and individuals who have made their stamp in the music industry in their respective ways. From Slim Thug signing a major deal distribution deal with Pharrell’s Star Trak Records to Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child rocking the pop charts with hit such as “Say My Name,” “Solider,” and “Bills, Bills, Bills.” The reigns of prominence in Space City have shifted hands from all different genres but it’s easy to say that Travis Scott is one Houstonian who broke the mold. Even though he’s H-Town’s biggest star with deals from Kanye and T.I., touring worldwide with Rihanna, and inking endorsements with Reebok and Puma, he’s considered a black sheep in the city that made Scott the man he is today. Why do we have a global star on the rise and yet the city turns their noses up at him in a sense? What has Scott done for Houston to be somewhat cruel for him to experience during his ascension to stardom.
Scott, who hails from the depths of Missouri City, is already considered an outcast to most Houstonians as he lives outside the city limits and resides in an area that’s known for it’s expensive residential clientele. He continued to use this format of being “different” to his advantage and ultimately made sounds similar to his teachers, Kanye West and Kid Cudi. Utilizing what G.O.O.D. Music formed in it’s primitive years, Scott — who later signed to them — made songs that would inspire his influencers into not only becoming his fans but to also influencing their bodies of work (Kanye West’s creative direction for Yeezus was aided by Scott and Jay-Z also featured Scott on Magna Carta Holy Grail). These steps Scott has taken in his short 24 years of life has not only garnered the attention of fans in the United States, but his reach is international. So much so that a lot of kids who are pre-millenials/millennials now model after his image. Whether it’s the ripped jeans or box dreads to the modern Houston influence, Scott is an direct representation of what the youth should be doing.
Along with his responsibility of playing a major role in the culture, it seems as if his role is not as vital in Houston. A large part of this is because of the infrastructure of Houston’s media scene. Not being with the likes of multiple Fortune 500 media based companies, Houston has to resort solely to shows and radio interviews (if that) when artists come into town. It’s never a full press run, it may be a meet and greet at a boutique or in the mall, but it’s nothing substantial or anything that fans and the press can take away when someone visits. Another aspect of the radio is the willingness to play and break records. Of course, you do have your cases of artists such as Sauce Walka delivering “2 Legited 2 Quit,” Beatking giving out a slew of hits over the years, and Rizzoo Rizzoo, SosaMann, and DJ XO offering “Off The Lot,” but that was never the case for Travis Scott. His first big radio hit in the city was “Antidote,” the lead single from his debut album, Rodeo. By this time, it was far too late for them to hop on the La Flame bandwagon, and the crazy thing is that all media sources in Houston could’ve done something about it.
If you’re familiar with Travis’s work, dating back to before his first major tape, Owl Pharaoh, you’ll know that Travis maneuvered his way into studios and gained features from the likes of established at this time. With guest appearances ranging from Meek Mill and Toro Y Moi to Theophilus London and Yung Lean, the variety was definitely present, but the reason why Houston can confined in this type of music because for the most part it doesn’t the “Screwed Up” comfort zone we’re so used to hearing. Let’s face it, some Houstonians just flat out don’t like Scott because he’s “weird” or “too abstract” for their liking.
For example, if you ever met OG Ron C, he’s a cool humble guy who still lives in the mindset of being in 2004-2005 with his mannerisms, style, and the way he carries himself. While he may act like this, he’s a visionary. On the contrary, it’s a lot of the guys who aren’t visionaries that still bang screw, wear jeans shorts, have a fresh pair of Air Force Ones, and have no taste into listening to Travis. In a sense, you can blame on the old fashioned “I stick to what I like and that’s it” ideology that most people from the South embody, but it’s also because it’s not enough people on a large scale will go to the different depths of exploring Scott’s sound.
The lack of exploration can only reflect in the city’s attitude when he visits. Think about what this can mean for his legacy for Houston and it’s people. Yes, you may have a packed show in Warehouse or House of Blues, but how many of these people are really engaged with your story when you perform? How many of these people can relate to you and your triumphs and seeing how you made a difference for not only himself, the city, but possibly for the future of it? Travis has done that for a lot of kids in the area because it oozes out of the youth’s attitude, but it’s just not enough for him to be the key local figure that Houstonians will embrace for years to come.