Travis Scott dropped his Owl Pharaoh mixtape in late May, with features from artists like Bon Iver and Toro Y Moi. If the musical diversity on the project isn’t a clear hint that he doesn’t want to be boxed into any one genre, then the 21-year-old makes it imminently clear, telling MTV News bluntly, “I’m not hip-hop.”
Scott, a native of Houston, explained that he finds inspiration in “real good music,” pointing at Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city and Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap as prime examples.
“All of that trap bullsh–, it’s cool but it’s not sh– that can last forever,” he said. “It’s like blunts and h—, I can’t listen to that sh–. You’ve gotta motivate kids. They wanna grow up, they got problems, you’ve gotta give ‘em that music to make ‘em feel like they’re OK and it’s only a couple of artists that do that.”
“I just wanna put myself in that,” he added, “I’m not [into putting] out a single every day to keep me popping. I just put out an album and just chill.”
Scott is credited for production on multiple tracks on Kanye West’s latest album, Yeezus, which many fans and critics have been looking at as an official departure from hip-hop. But when it comes to his career, Scott said that he’s already so far gone. “Man, I’m not hip hop,” he declared defiantly. “I might be an MC and a rapper, but man, I [do] this process differently.”
“I skipped College Dropout and Late Registration and went straight to 808s & Heartbreak,” he added, pointing to Kanye’s fourth album, which was heavy with singing, auto-tune and distorted electronic beats. “I’m just going right in. That’s where my brain is.”
Scott even admitted that Bon Iver is one of his favorite artists, and that he only sees his musical palette evolving from here. “I’m where Justin [Vernon] is. I love that type of music and I wish I could just do that all the time, so I don’t like categories. I’m an artist. I produce, I direct, and all of that goes into the music.”