Kevin Perez/The Skyline View
Coming a year after “Rodeo,” “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” is the second album from Houston rapper Travis Scott.
“Rodeo” gained a significant following thanks to its dark, melancholy instrumentals paired with interesting, almost contorted melodies that put a nice spin on prototypical trap beats to create an album that was always interesting to listen to, and in my personal opinion, a treat from front to back.
Thankfully, that sentiment holds true on “Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight” as well. The new album is a lot of dark, druginduced fun throughout, and a worthy successor to the last.
One of the best qualities of “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” is its variety in production. “Birds” goes through a litany of sounds, helped by an all-star feature list starring a near charcuterie board of collaborators such as The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and 21 Savage. Each of the features feel like they fit on their songs and break up the flow of the album nicely when running through the album as a whole.
EDM producer Cashmere Cat provides a grandiose feel on “Outside,” using a near-synthetic arrangement of choral vocals while “Coordinate” takes a very DJ Mustard-style beat and lays it over spacious synths that sound like they belong in a future song.
In short, “Birds” has a lot of variety thanks to its features and its unique spin on similar sounds in hip-hop. Furthermore, “Pick Up The Phone,” featuring great guest verses from Young Thug and Quavo, puts a tropical twist on pop rap. Even with this variety, none of the songs feel out of place at any time, thanks to a running celestial, almost drug-induced theme that stays consistent throughout.
Lyrically, “Birds” doesn’t exactly impress, but it also doesn’t commit any cardinal sins. Most of the subject matter has been touched on before, and it’s kind of disappointing since “Rodeo” had a lot of great lyrics on songs like “90210”. Take the hook on “Coordinate” as an example: “Coordinate the tan with the beans in my rockstar skinnies/I’mma need some more, need some more if I really want to feel it”
Thankfully, Travis Scott’s delivery on this project is quite exceptional. Scott’s smart use of auto-tune layered onto brilliant melancholy instrumentation makes “Birds” feel quite special, and it still gives off the same sort of vibe that Travis is going for.
Each hook is catchy as hell, and the previously mentioned autotune contributes overall to the mood of the project as it goes on. Smart use of great ad-libs also continue to add depth to each song by breaking up the flow of verses. “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” is a success in creating a wonderfully spacious and druginduced followup to “Rodeo.”
While it might not hit the same highs as on “Rodeo,” especially lyrically, “Birds” is still an absolute treat to listen to.
Somehow, there’s a lot of variety but at the same time, it never seems to lose its very particular mood, and I think that’s an accomplishment in itself. The features on this album also feel like they belong, while still making each song feel different.