Kanye West's Contributions to Travis Scott’s Rise to Fame
By Adam Singh (‘20)
The popularity of trap music sparked in 2012, where many were entertained by the unique beats. Trap music is a subgenre of hip hop. It is more driven towards the younger generation. While lyrical rap is more focused on the lyrics, trap music is more centered on the beat of the song and getting people excited.
Jacques Webster, commonly known as Travis Scott, rose to fame during this era and today he is one of America’s most popular artists, but many people fail to realize that Kanye West played a big part in Scott’s success.
Scott grew up listening to West and was inspired by his unique style of music. At a very young age, his dad convinced him to try playing the drums, which eventually sparked his interest in music and set him down the path to stardom.
However, Scott didn’t take the path to fame right away, and focused on his education instead. But it was during his sophomore year of college when he realized that making music was his destiny.
Scott said during an interview with Complex, “I went to college at the University of Texas for two years. I dropped out sophomore year. Every day in college was depressing. I wanted to be an artist.”
In an interview with Rosenburg on Hot 97, Travis explained how he decided to drop out of college and lie to his mother that he needed money to buy books and a computer, but in reality, planned to use the money to buy a plane tickets and other music equipment to pursue his music career. Travis wanted to take his talents more seriously, so he moved to LA with his friend.
Scott also said, “After New York, I went to LA, with my homie. I was like, ‘Man let’s just grind this s*** out. We can make it. I know a couple people.’ But my man left me in L.A man. I was by myself. I had nobody and no money.”
According to an article from 24CMI, Scott was left in a state of despair in a city far from his family after he was abandoned by his friend. However, the road did not end there. Though he was solo at the time, Scott began to make beats and rap music using his phone. His popularity rose as his songs gained more attention on Youtube and SoundCloud. However, Scott still was in a financial ditch.
His luck quickly changed when rapper and actor, T.I. heard his song, “Lights (Love Sick)”. Scott also said in his interview with Complex, “When I got off the plane in L.A., I had 14 text messages from T.I. and his camp. They were like, ‘Yo, can you come by the studio?’ And I was like, ‘Yo, this is like nuts man.”
As Scott began producing his own beats, Kanye West became aware of his rising popularity, and called Scott to reveal his interest in his music, according to an interview with Rolling Stone.
When Kanye West and Travis Scott met for the first time, they clicked almost immediately through their shared interests and culture.
Scott also in his interview with Complex, said, “First thing Kanye gave me was a Doritos taco from Taco Bell. He gave it to me on this fancy platter. What’s crazy is, I don’t eat sour cream. I opened it and it was loaded with sour cream! He’s like ‘Why aren’t you eating it?’ All my ni**as know that would make me throw up. But I ate the whole thing!”
The more they collaborated, the more their relationship grew. Kanye invited Scott to work on “Cruel Summer”, a collaborative album featuring all of the artists that belong to the G.O.O.D Music label. Scott was a big help in the making of the album as he co-produced the album’s top songs.
Scott said, in his interview with Complex, “I was around for [the creation] of all the Cruel Summer records. [I have credits on] ‘To The World,’ ‘In The Morning,’ And I did some programming on the ‘Don’t Like’ remix. It was an experience. I’m pretty sure it’s nothing like no other artist or no other label anyone ever goes through. If you want to be an artist, it’s like, ‘I’m going to teach you how to make a song today.”
While he was producing the music, Travis was nervous because he didn’t know if Kanye was going to like it or not. He had looked up to Kanye since he was young and didn’t want to disappoint him. Kanye was very pleased by his musical creations and took Scott onto his official path of fame.
After the release of “Cruel Summer”, Travis had plans of working on his own mixtape called, “Owl Pharaoh”. Scott had never forgotten about the motivational influence that Kanye had on him.
Travis also said in his interview with Complex, “Me and Kanye talk almost like every other day. We just keep building our relationship. Putting out ‘Owl Pharaoh’ is what’s going to make me happy, deal or no deal. Kanye is going to be a part of it and help me out.”
After the release of “Owl Pharaoh”, Kanye had talks with Travis about encouraging him to sign with Kanye’s label, G.O.O.D Music. Travis had accepted and joined in 2013 slightly after the release of his mixtape.
Junior Christian Spanos said, “If nobody else saw potential in him, he wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to seize the moment.”
If Kanye West never called Scott to meet with him, then Scott would probably be an ordinary artist on SoundCloud, just relying on the amount of plays to get him somewhere. However, Travis’ beats drew Kanye’s attention and sparked a connection between the two artists. Travis was always inspired by Kanye’s work and what he had done for the music industry. So, when Kanye reached out to him, Travis Scott took the opportunity he was given, leading him to be one of America’s most influential trap music stars.