Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ – A Need for Peace & A Call for Help
Astroworld by Travis Scott, much like an amusement park, is chaotic. The album has proven to be an enjoyable ride for many of Scott’s fans but alienates others due to the inconsistent nature of the project’s sound and content. This erratic pattern appears to be an analogy for the type of life the artist used to live. Plagued by drug addiction, experiencing the cost of fame, and rivalries within hip-hop, Scott’s existence had become a brutal one. Lost in uncertainty, addiction, and fear, Scott’s album proves that sin has consequences, but there is a path to repentance.
***This article was inspired by Ty Brasel’s tweet, so we took a deeper look. This is not an endorsement of the content on the album, but it’s an interesting look at how someone can be building toward a relationship with God.
For any other Christians who listen to Travis Scott, I could be wrong but after an in depth analysis, in the grander scheme of the astroworld album, I think he’s calling out to God to save him/ or possibly he already has. Just a thought 🙇🏻♂️
— Ty Brasel (@Ty_Brasel) August 19, 2018
Brokenness Requires Fixing
STARGAZING – “Then the storm came in and saved my life/Head up to the sky, down on my knees”
“STARGAZING” appears to be a song of repentance that takes place after the narrative of the complete Astroworld album. On this track, Scott acknowledges the traumas he has experienced since childhood, stating: “If I take you to my past you will be traumatized/Got a thousand kids outside that’s tryna come alive.”
The cost of fame weighs heavily on Scott’s mind as he has gained significant notoriety over the course of his career, along with new issues including enemies who would prefer to see him fail as an artist. Amidst all this conflict, Scott’s chorus seems to provide a glimmer of hope. A storm swept into his life and saved him from a cycle of drugs, violence, and emptiness. In all likelihood, Scott is referring to his child Stormi Webster, but, what if Scott is, in fact, using the storm in place of referencing God Himself? In Job 38:4-7, God, speaking to Job from a storm states, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know…” (NIV). This passage and the book of Job as a whole could, in fact, be the inspiration behind Scott’s album.
CAROUSEL (ft. Frank Ocean) – “Better pray, better pray, two wings (straight up!)”
“CAROUSEL” describes a drug-addled episode wherein Scott simply hunkered down and continued making music. The artist implies that he was experiencing deep feelings of anxiety or feeling “caved in.” The result was the full realization of Scott’s anxieties as his “demons” encroach upon his peace. The drugs have failed to alleviate Scott’s pain, instead, exposing him to it fully. The quote from above seems to be an imploration from Scott to pray in the midst of these overwhelming circumstances.
SICKO MODE (ft. Big Hawk, Swae Lee & Drake ) – “She’s in love with who I am”
This song focuses on the work ethics of the artist’s featured on the track. Scott’s grind in making music has taken on a life of its own, often taking precedence over his personal relationships and mental health. This version of Scott was brash, sex-obsessed, and was being consumed by the narcotics he was ingesting.
R.IP. SCREW (ft. Swae Lee) – “Make the devil bite the angel dust”
“R.I.P. SCREW” gives Scott a moment to mourn one of his fallen heroes. DJ Screw came up in Houston just like Scott inspiring the young artist to pursue a career in the rap game. Screw’s death has provided Scott with a moment of clarity from the chaotic nature of Astroworld. Finding that Screw passed due to a lean overdose leads to Scott’s lines, “If you fall for the games then you’re the one playin’/Because it’s too much money out here/And there’s too many honeys out here.”
This quote seems to serve as a word of warning to listeners about the price of living a life which parallels Scott’s. While fame may bring money and constant sexual activity, it is ultimately unfulfilling. Ultimately, “R.I.P. SCREW” gives Travis Scott the time he needs to realize that he must realize his own imperfection and accept that he is not, and never will be, God.
STOP TRYING TO BE GOD (ft. Philip Bailey, Kid Cudi, Stevie Wonder & James Blake) – “The signal’s far from what you can be/’Cause air traffic controls the landing…”
“STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” seems to be a criticism of Scott’s peers in the music industry. While chasing riches and fame, many have found their hearts broken in realizing that they will never satisfy the desires of all their fans. As such, they should instead focus on their loved ones and following God’s directions for their lives. In the quote above, God would be the one representing air control. If a pilot attempts to disobey air control, it is likely that they will crash and burn along with all their passengers. Scott’s figurative language paints a grim picture not only for artists chasing glory but those who follow them.
NO BYSTANDERS (ft. Sheck Wes & Juice WRLD) “Dodgin’ hell and sins, I can’t go back there again”
This track represents the conflict within Scott’s heart as to his relationship with drugs. While they do create a heavenly daze which the rapper enjoys, that lifestyle is a falsehood. In truth, the hard drugs that Scott takes will lead to disaster. When tripped out on narcotics, Scott is left “In a motel, laying with my sins.” Ultimately, Scott was losing love for at least some of the drugs he had once been consuming, as he raps, “I’m sick of the drank (the drank, yeah).”
ASTROTHUNDER – “Sins controllin’ me, yeah/Angels, halos over me, I need blessings and my peace”
“ASTROTHUNDER” addresses Scott’s distance from his true purpose. The artist’s poor decisions in regards to drugs, women, and career choices are leading him down a dangerous path of self-destruction. When the artist, “Light the remedy,” he could be referring to marijuana, but it could also be a reference to the symbolic, positive meanings that are associated with light as opposed to darkness.
COFFEE BEAN – “this is all”
The very last track on “Astroworld emphasizes Scott’s fears about the future of his romantic partnership with Kylie Jenner and his fatherhood to Stormi Webster. The Houston rapper has made significant progress through the narrative of the album, abandoning addiction to be a better family man. In the same manner that one ingests coffee to awaken, Scott has woken to the realities of his responsibility.
Full disclosure, it was difficult to find meaningful lyrics in this album. Astroworld deals with the topics of drugs, sex, and fame in an uninteresting fashion, failing to creatively innovate in its message. However, there is some measure of nobility in the manner in which Scott addresses these topics. Instead of glorifying drug addiction, the artist drew comparisons between being high and sin. While there are many sexual references, Scott focuses more on his relationship with the woman he has chosen to settle down with and his responsibilities towards her. When addressing fame, Scott focused on the cost of notoriety, and the effects it has on the mental health of celebrities that the public idolizes.
Perhaps the rapper’s methods were not perfect, but the message of Astroworld seems well-intentioned. Scott wanted to address the issues he faces on the day-to-day, confess his iniquities, and give back to his hometown of Houston. This is not a Christian hip-hop album by any means, but just maybe it is the beginning of a redemption story for Travis Scott.