If mainstream hip-hop is your jam, it’s been a pretty solid year for you when it comes to mainstream releases. Kendrick Lamar got that Disney movie and curated a very good “Black Panther” soundtrack, Kanye West’s mixed bag of releases gave us Pusha T’s “Daytona” and the Kids See Ghosts release, Drake put out two records worth of material to make up for that whole “hidden kid” thing, This Is America might be the most important song of the year, so on and so forth. When so much has gone on in a year that new music from J. Cole and Nas don’t make the top five moments, you know 2018 has been stacked.
But for my money, the most interesting rap release of 2018 has been Travis Scott’s “Astroworld,” a record which proves that while he might not be the best lyricist or most innovative producer, Scott might very well have the best vision in modern rap. “Astroworld” is a mood, and features some titans of music, past and present, with Scott acting as ringmaster in glorification of himself. It’s the moment where he feels most like the heir of Kanye, especially now that Yeezus is more interested in pissing off people with his politics rather than his lyrics.
While Scott has some big festival showings coming up, including his very own Astroworld festival in Houston, he’s taking his show on the road, and will be hitting the Pepsi Center in Denver on December 12. Joining him on the tour will be Trippie Redd, Sheck Wes, Gunna and Virgil Abloh; maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you haven’t, but it only really matters if you’re planning on showing up on time anyway.
Although there’s plenty to talk about with “Astroworld” on top of the charts – Nicki MInaj in particular has a whole bunch on her mind – news of the tour is extra exciting because Scott is one of the most impressive forces in live music today. While his studio work isn’t afraid to explore a variety of moods, both hype and brooding, he hits the stage like a firecracker in a way that few rappers do. Scott has an energy in him that few artists of any genre can keep up with, and the mosh pits at his shows are often way more impressive than what goes down at most modern rock shows these days. This one is going to be rowdy.