Travi$ Scott – The Come Up

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    Act Like U Know: Travi$ Scott
    Travi$ Scott strives for perfection. Though he's only released but a few tracks ("16 Chapels," "XX," "Animal," "Up" and "Old English"), and even fewer music videos ("Lights" and "That B!tch Crazy")—not to mention having yet released a full-length debut mixtape— the 20-year-old Houston-bred rapper/producer has managed to generate a viral buzz strong enough to see his star begin to gleam in 2012. Though small in number, these quality contributions have been potent enough to earn co-signs from many, including T.I. and G.O.O.D. Music maestro Kanye West.<br /><br />He impressed the aforementioned heavyweights so much—playing each records off his forthcoming <em>Owl Pharoah</em> debut— that one hopped on his cinematic "Animal" single (Tip) and the other well, gave him three G.O.O.D. placements on arguably the biggest album of the year, <em>Cruel Summer</em>. He also appeared on Meek Mills' summer soundtrack <em>Dreamchasers 2</em>. As the eccentric wunderkind's stock continue to soar, <em>XXL</em> reached out to Travi$ to talk Houston, Kanye West, his moniker's dollar sign ($) use, multitasking as rapper, producer, director and more. Remember the name...—<em>Ralph Bristout</em> (<a href="http://www.twitter.com/xxlralph">@XXLRalph</a>)
  • #Travi$-Scott-Featured
  • Growing Up in Houston, Pushing the Envelope
    Growing Up in Houston, Pushing the Envelope
    One it’s hard man, even though there’s mad artists in this game now biting that whole swag and thinking they’re from Houston. Growing up around that my whole life, I made it a point to be nothing like that, but still, like, I love where I’m from. I grew up always thinking differently—like, I have a bigger vision for me as an artist and me as a person period. I feel like where I want to be in life is more global than just restricted to one state or city. <br /><br />Houston gives this particular sound and feel that’s ill but it’s so one-track minded in a sense. I love it but where I am musically is like extra grande, on a bigger scale. So growing up around that, I liked it but I kind of just wanted to make it a point to show that Houston can be way more iller. <br /><br />Even just like any kid who wants to be a rapper from Houston, I want them to feel like they can just do whatever they want. You don’t have to just be like this certain sound, you can stand out big time.
  • Favorite Houston Artists Growing Up
    Favorite Houston Artists Growing Up
    Z-Ro, man. I’m from Missouri City, Z-Ro is like a legend, man. He’s awesome, I fuck with Z-Ro. I [also] thought Paul Wall was a ill rapper and Mike Jones.
  • Education, Family and Friendship
    Education, Family and Friendship
    I come from an educated background; my parents always wanted me to go to school. I was in private school in elementary and middle school. I went to public school for high school (Elkins High School). I loved private school. <br /><br />My parents used to always tell me, “You’re not about to be shit.” My dad used to always downplay me and always used be like, “You need to go to school. You fucking up” [all after] I dropped out of school. I used to use money for school to buy plane tickets to like bum on a nigga’s couch, try to use a studio or like ask my homey’s for money. I definitely couldn’t be there without my niggas. I feel like every artist couldn’t get somewhere without somebody, man, like, if an artist told you he/she got there by himself, [they’re] just lying. I got homies that game me money, that held me down, that bought me plane tickets and shit and I’m so grateful for that. That’s what got me to where I am today and shit.
  • Getting Into Production
    Getting Into Production
    I used to watch Kanye beat videos and he would be making a beat and they would be like, “Yo, that’s producing.” I [would be] like, "Damn, so I got to learn how to make beats." I was like 15-years-old [at the time]. I really started putting together beats when I turned like 17, 18 years old. <br /><br />This dude I used to do music with, he had a Mac and I was on this janky ass PC. He was a little richer than me and shit, so I went to my mom like, "Yo, man, I’m making all this hard ass music and this dude’s mom just bought him a Mac and he don’t do shit [Laughs]. Me and my mom went to go buy it the next day, it was so ill, and I just started going in. <br /><br />My homie John—he does fashion—used to have this Axiom keyboard, and I didn’t have one yet, and he had the controller— cause he would just do beats for his fashion shows—and I would borrow that with the intentions of keeping it forever [Laughs]. [He] really got me started on all my software shit. He had Logic, keyboards—I used to go to his house and make beats in his library room. It was so fresh.
  • Becoming A Rapper
    Becoming A Rapper
    I used to look at P. Diddy, Ma$e, Kanye West and these dudes were fresh and were doing tight shit. I used to have this crazy imagination and like I always wanted to do that. I always wanted to put together movies, my own composed movies. I wanted to rap because I thought Kanye West was a fresh ass rapper—he dressed fresh and shit. I just felt like I could do that and that inspired me.
  • First Big Break
    First Big Break
    When I first landed in LA. I think I got a call from somebody that was like, “Yo, man, T.I. fucks with you.” Then I was like, "Cool." Then [when we hit the studio], T.I. was like, “I’m just going to watch you and then I worked with him, did a song with him—it was ill. I knew from there that it was no turning back when I got a call from somebody that was like, “Yo can you come to New York, Kanye wants to meet you.” I was like there’s no way I could turn back and not do music anymore.
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    First Meeting T.I.
    It was fresh, like it’s T.I.—he’s ill. But you know I got to know him and it’s cool musically. He was playing me shit from his album, we didn’t even do music. I didn’t give him beats either. He told me not to stop what I’m doing, don’t change for anyone and don’t ever fall off.
  • First Meeting Kanye West
    First Meeting Kanye West
    My heart was racing [Laughs]. I was like, “Is this nigga about to fuck with me?” Does he really like me? I felt like he brought me out here to be like “You Suck!” After working with him, he’s taught me so much, enhanced me like a billion. Us bouncing ideas and working together, him giving me advice, it’s just ill. Getting to bounce ideas with a person that’s at creative stature and him helping me on my EP and looking out for me is so ill, man. I’ll owe him forever for that shit man. He loves how my project is sounding right now and we’re kind of working on that a lil bit—with his input. I guess he just likes where I’m at creatively. He loved “Love (Sick)” that’s what brought me out there [to meet him in New York].
  • “Love (Sick)” Music Video
    “Love (Sick)” Music Video
    Before Keith Haring got all Hypebeast-ed, he was one of my favorite illustrators along with like Takashi Murakami and like John Paul. I directed the video and edited myself and so I was like, "I just got to come up with something ill and take this shit to another level." So I was testing my brain. I feel like even new videos I got coming out now, it’s about to make “Love (Sick)” look like a street video. I just want to push and set the bar for anyone our age or anyone that’s even 40 years old—you have to cap what Travi$ is doing. I want to just set bars, independently.
  • Staying Motivated, Aspirations
    Staying Motivated, Aspirations
    It’s a hard balance. But it’s my juices; I have so much juice in me. I got the juice [Laughs]. I’m so excited; I just want to be the best. For my generation, I want to be <em>that</em> nigga. I will never let anyone [in my generation] down. I will always just want to have younger kids be like, “I can do what he did times 30. Let’s try to be Travi$!” I just can’t wait to put out my album and people to really get the aesthetic of who I am and know who I am as an artist and what sets me apart from all these lame niggas and fake people. Travi$ is the type of guy to do the rap and the track and the score and the video and the photoshoot.
  • Using ‘$’ In His Name
    Using ‘$’ In His Name
    To be honest, I been wanting to pull that shit out my name just because there’s a A$AP Rocky out or a Joey Bada$$, there’s Ma$e—Ma$e is like a big influence on me. He’s like the king of all this flossing shit, one of the illest. Ma$e, Kanye, Kid Cudi, Bjork, Miike Snow, Florence + the Machine these are the people I love. I’m really into alternative music like Toro y Moi, I love these dudes. I had that dollar sign in my name for a while and I was really like going over it with even Virgil [Abloh] (Kanye West’s Art Director, DONDA’s Creative Director) asking him if I should keep it in my name—because I’m not trying to get categorized as [another] dollar sign rapper. My nigga Ty$ (Tydolla$ign) was maybe the first artist of this generation with a dollar sign in his name. I bang with Ty$, that’s the homey. I think it’s just like where I came in, into this whole game, I fell behind. Niggas was just sleeping so hard that maybe other artists with these dollar signs in [their names] just got on before Travi$. It don’t matter [though] because they’re music aint fucking with my shit. I just feel like I just got to own my own lane and not even just acknowledge it.
  • Cruel Summer, Rapping On “Sin City”
    It’s ill just being a part of that whole process, working hand and hand with like—I don’t want to call them legends because they’re not done—but just like amazing people. <br /><br />When I got the call like, “Yo [Kanye] wants you to lay a verse” that track was actually on my [<em>Owl Pharoah</em>] EP that’s coming out. That track was on there and I already had a verse to it but he didn’t hear it—I didn’t want to play ’Ye my verse because I was just like, Is it time for that shit right now? So I just played him the beat. It surprised me, I was in LA [when I got the call] and I [couldn’t believe it]. I did the verse and then it was just over from there.
  • Dealing With Press
    Dealing With Press
    It’s been good just trying to maneuver through and all that, people like get all in your head and what not. Trying to instill stuff in your head. Trying to make you answer stuff you not trying to answer.
  • 106-Park
    Appearing On BET’s <em>106 & Park</em>
    It was ill, that was my first time on TV. First time like meeting Common. It felt good just being welcomed by the whole G.O.O.D. Music fam and just sitting next to some idols like Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, [Big] Sean, CyHi—it’s ill to just be in the energy. Just like a year ago I was on my couch just like listening to music [and] kept telling myself that I was going to be somewhere. Just the year before that, I was looking at Kanye and Kid Cudi on 106 & Park and next thing you know, I’m on there.
  • Fashion
    Fashion
    Style is like another thing to me. I’m the whole nine. If I don’t look like my music then it just don’t feel right. There’s rappers in this game that’s fresh as fuck but can’t do music. I hate that. The whole aesthetic just has to be there. My clothes got to look like my music. My video got to be like my music. One of my favorite artists is Kid Cudi, I feel like he does that shit. He’s a rager. He is who he is on his music, that’s why he goes so hard. You can’t say that about at least half of these rappers out. They might be the freshest or [even a] fashion icon, but can’t do a song to save their life, which sucks. People fall into this whole material shit, which is not what music should be right now. <br /><br />That’s another game I would love to rule as soon as people understand who I am.
  • <em>Owl Pharoah</em>
    <em>Owl Pharoah</em>
    It’s not a mixtape, it’s an EP. I don’t believe in mixtapes. I’m 85, 90 percent done. I just been figuring out the right songs to pick, the best roll out, good friends to actually feature on that shit. I got some cold verses from people and I want to just make sure it’s right I want to make sure the friends that I do have on the EP, compliment who I am as an artist as well. I got other production on there too other than myself. I kind of like Quincy Jones’d the whole project, people might’ve sent me beats but I kind of opened them back over again. Kind of like put the Travi$ twist to it. The project is so ill, it might be one of the hardest EPs to come out this year. I’m so excited to drop it.
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    Carving His Own Lane And Representing For Houston
    I definitely don’t want to let the people down. I’m just going to do me and it’s either people are going to like it or not. At the end of the day I want them to take away who I am as an artist—not even just a producer. The beats could be good but I’m about to tell you my story on this. I want people to know who Travi$ is and what my view on Houston is and what Houston is going to be. I just want Houston to have a new face. Houston has played a big role in music—Rap-A-Lot Records was the shit, we need another run and Travi$ is going to spark that run.
  • #travis_scott_animal