Rap fans were not disappointed as a result of Drake’s Scorpion and Travis Scott’s Astroworld album release this summer. The two rappers highly anticipated albums are topping the charts as we start this new semester. Both albums have received both praise and criticism.
Released in late-June, Drake’s Scorpion collected a record breaking one billion streams in the first week of it’s release. Following the release of his 2017 album, More Life, the Toronto rapper explores the genres of both Hip-Hop and R&B with his most versatile album to date.
The first half of Scorpion offers heavy 808 bass melodies in tracks such as “Nonstop” and “God’s Plan.” The song “Elevate,” produced by PARTYNEXTDOOR, delivers Drake’s simple, yet catchy, hooks also seen in “Talk Up” featuring Jay-Z.
Drake takes a different route as he introduces the B-Side of Scorpion with deeper tracks that look into the 31-year old’s love life. “Peak” and “Jaded” offer emotional lyrics along with slow and steady beats that kick off the second half of the album. Drake continues the B-Side with more upbeat, dance worthy songs such as “In My Feelings” and “Blue Tint.” The B-Side ends with significant features from Ty Dolla $ign on the song “After Dark” and even Michael Jackson on the R&B ballad style song “Don’t Matter To Me.”
Travis Scott’s latest album, Astroworld, recently dropped on Aug 3 and is currently #1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100. Scott continues where he left off on his previous album, Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight, combining a masterwork of rhythmic trap drums crossed with synthesizers that complete Travis’ sound.
The track “Stargazing,” introduces Astroworld with head nodding drums along with Scott’s classic auto-tuned melodies. Scott produced the album alongside several producers including Tay Keith as well as Cubeatz. The following songs are no disappointment with features from Frank Ocean on the heavy bass track “CAROUSEL” and The Weeknd on “WAKE UP” and “SKELETONS” produced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker.
The rest of Astroworld mainly consists of other various “trap beats” with features from Quavo and Takeoff on “WHO? WHAT!” and 21 Savage on “NC-17.” The last track on Astroworld titled “COFFEE BEAN” gives us a different sound from Travis that we have never heard before from his previous studio albums. The grooving drums, soft guitar melodies, and passionate rapping gives us a taste of Travis’ sound without autotune, allowing for a distinct ending to Astroworld.
When asking students on Sonoma State University’s campus which album they thought was better, I received a variety opinions.
“Scorpion over Astroworld for sure. Drake released an awesome 25 song, two-sided album and I feel like not that many artists go to that extreme. I really enjoy the whole album and the catchy songs that Drake released,” said Josh Alegria, a senior at Sonoma State.
Without a doubt, both albums have great production, however I agree with Micah’s statement. The track “SICKO MODE,” for example, is a very distinct song on Astroworld due to its ability to switch beats mid-way. Although unusual, Travis and his producers break the rules of production and create songs that are one of a kind. I agree that Scorpion is a creative, lengthy album, and does a great job combining R&B with Hip-Hop. However, I believe Astroworld is more inventive as it breaks today’s Hip-Hop and Trap production.