Best Travis Scott Songs: 30–1

In the current era of diluted trap music, no one has pushed the boundaries as much as Travis Scott. Known for his infectious melodies, substance in production and countless adlibs, Travis Scott’s experimentation in the trap genre has harvested albums such as Rodeo and the prototype of Scott’s sound, Days Before Rodeo. With three albums, two mixtapes and eighty-seven commercially released solo songs to pick from, here are Travis Scott’s thirty best songs of his career.

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Honourable Mentions
33. Upper Echelon (ft. T.I. & 2 Chainz)

Album: N/A

“Upper Echelon” is a loud trap banger, released early in Scott’s career which had not yet birthed his unique sound. However, the song brings out the best of Travis’s adlibs and includes memorable verses from T.I. and 2 Chainz.

32. Antidote

Album: Rodeo

“Antidote” was the breakout single for Scott before the release of Rodeo. The song is a youthful anthem, driven mainly by its quotable hook. Overplayed, maybe, but Verse 3 shows that Travis can really rap.

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31. AstroThunder

Album: Astroworld

Upon first listen, “AstroThunder” is two minutes of filler. When revisited and digested, it is one of the experimental standouts of Scott’s long-awaited Astroworld. Featuring Thundercat on bass and John Mayer on guitar, Scott is granted a chance to breathe through all the album’s mayhem. The passage “Seems like the life I feen’s a little distant” is submerged in simplicity yet achieves its purpose; portraying a fragment of Scott’s mental state. The rest of the details are left to the listener.

Top 30
30. Pick Up the Phone (w/ Young Thug ft. Quavo)

Album: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

Pour up a 4. Then call your hoe up. Just to fuck her and show her. Then go and get your dough up. “Pick Up the Phone” is notoriously a Young Thug song loaned to Travis Scott (it was originally a collaboration between Thug and Starrah), clear from the song’s bubblegum production and vibrant spirit. It is a departure from Scott’s gloomy tendencies, though maintains melody for its duration.

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29. Skyfall (ft. Young Thug)

Album: Days Before Rodeo

The most lowkey and psychedelic of the Travis–Thugga collaborations, “Skyfall” is dark, eerie and fits the tone of the mixtape perfectly.

28. Basement Freestyle

Album: Days Before Rodeo

Travis knows how to make a banger. In similar vein to “BACC”, Scott bounces back and forth from Auto-Tune to rapping and the ascending beat consistently surprises from start to finish.

27. High Fashion (ft. Future)

Album: N/A

This should have made it on to a mixtape or something because it’s way too good to just be a SoundCloud throwaway. “High Fashion” is another dark-toned track which Future’s drowsy vocals suits well. As Future provides the vocals, it’s relieving to hear Travis give the Auto-Tune a rest and bring bars instead.

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26. Sloppy Toppy (ft. Migos & Peewee Longway)

Album: Days Before Rodeo

“Sloppy Toppy” produces impeccable chemistry between Travis and Migos over the synth-heavy, rattling, glitching instrumental. The beat doesn’t remain the same for one moment, constantly introducing a new sound over the verses. There’s so many layers to a song whether it’s 3 minutes, 4 minutes or 8 minutes in length. It’s no wonder that Travis Scott produces the most densely-packed trap music around. The Migos adlibs are prominent as always and is the final touch in the result of what is a trap masterpiece.

25. Maria, I’m Drunk (ft. Young Thug & Justin Bieber)

Album: Rodeo

Strange how an off-key piano beat ends up sounding pleasant. It probably only works because the song is about being drunk so the lyrics fit the woozy sound. It’s like a number of Travis songs where there’s two songs mixed in one, with “Maria” serving as a nice opener to the main section. Plus, we talk about Travis Scott’s and Quavo’s chemistry, but Scott’s and Young Thug’s chemistry is outstanding.

24. The Prayer

Album: Days Before Rodeo

The opening track to DBR sets the tone perfectly. It’s dark and foreboding, which makes it sound like something bad is about to happen but in fact it’s something very enjoyable. That turns out to be the rest of DBR.

23. MIA

Album: Owl Pharaoh

“MIA” contains Travis’ most impressive displays of rapping, both from a lyrical and technical perspective. It embodies the dark atmosphere and diversity in production that makes his songs stand out so much.

22. The Ends (ft. Andre 3000)

Album: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

Arguably the most underrated song off Scott’s second album, “The Ends” is the most effective opening track from a Travis project. The beat drop is crazy and Andre 3000 delivers a despairing verse when you pay attention to the lyrics.

21. OK / Alright (ft. ScHoolboy Q)

Album: Rodeo

As repeatedly mentioned, Scott’s two-part songs are crafted so well. “OK / Alright” is another fine example of that. “OK” channels elements of Kid Cudi in the hook, while ScHoolboy Q delivers a good verse. The second part “Alright” is the breakdown with an atmospheric sound where SZA provides relaxing vocals. It’s a big contrast to the first part but blends well.

20. Quintana (ft. Wale)

Album: Owl Pharaoh

Exploding the life into Scott’s debut mixtape is “Quintana”. Led by its bombastic horns, “Quintana” is straight from the Lex Luger–Waka Flocka era of inflated trap, but it takes Scott’s warbled Auto-Tune settings and one-liners to avoid the first dimension.

19. Through the Late Night (ft. Kid Cudi)

Album: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

A fan favourite, which would be higher if it didn’t become overplayed. Travis brings the best out of Kid Cudi, particularly with his humming and crooning, and doesn’t sound too bad over Auto-Tune either. It’s also the most ‘happy’ sounding song by Travis (mainly because there aren’t too many of them).

18. Quintana, Pt. 2 (ft. T.I.)

Album: Days Before Rodeo

Both Quintana’s are good in their own right, but Part 2 contains a memorable beat switch for T.I.’s verse and the vocal effects on the hook represent Scott’s creativity when it comes to post-production.

17. Don’t Play (ft. Big Sean)

Album: Days Before Rodeo

The boastful “Don’t Play” introduces Travis Scott as a negligent youngster on the cusp of stardom. Over the menacing organ production, Scott and his Auto-Tune pierce through the speakers, generating plenty of hype in time for a welcoming guest verse by Big Sean. “Don’t Play” is right in line with the ethos of Travis Scott; a banger designed to light up any concert.

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16. Bandz (ft. Meek Mill)

Album: Owl Pharaoh

The best banger of Travis Scott’s catalogue. It’s loud, the beat is insane and the energy it creates is unmatchable. On top of all that Meek Mill compliments the explosive song well with his own energetic delivery. Play this one on speakers.

15. Never Catch Me

Album: Rodeo

There is only one verse and a hook but “Never Catch Me” packs a pound of impact in a concise running time. It is perfectly placed as the closing track to Rodeo because it has a triumphant sound, sonically and lyrically. In the verse Scott describes he’s on the come-up but he’s not quite there yet (“I’m the next lone star to blow up”). He mentions being poor and saving up enough money to make something out of his life. The switch-up to the hook is a big contrast: he’s finally made it where he’s at now – rich and successful. He’s looking over his shoulder seeing that the people who’d drag him down won’t catch him and he’s going to maintain this fame and only get bigger (“How do I dodge these zombies? They want my soul from me”). The humming vocals at the end are a simple touch but round up the journey.

14. No Bystanders (ft. Juice WRLD & Sheck Wes)

Album: Astroworld

“No Bystanders” was made for the concerts. Assisted by Juice WRLD and Sheck Wes’ chant, the track is a thumping, heroic anthem of colossal energy. Skittering flutes, subtle strings, and an addictive drum pattern are some of the few details to the production that elevate “No Bystanders” to grandeur status. Plus, Scott’s rapid flow and infectious cadence on the second verse puts him in a technical mode we are rarely exposed to.

13. Sicko Mode (ft. Drake)

Album: Astroworld

Despite its recency, “Sicko Mode” was an immediate standout from Astroworld thanks to its trio of beats, one-liners by Travis Scott, chemistry between Scott and Drake, and the energetic finale. Just like with Travis’ best beats, the twinkling of the final third is highly infectious, marking the end of one rollercoaster of a song – and Travis Scott’s biggest song to date.

12. Way Back

Album: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

A stunning two-part song, the second half of which I prefer. The beat change is smooth as always along with the subtle yet complimenting Kid Cudi vocals.

11. Stop Trying to Be God (ft. Phillip Bailey, Kid Cudi, Stevie Wonder & James Blake)

Album: Astroworld

Scott’s flair for detail radiates on the 5-minute sermon “Stop Trying to Be God”. The hums of Kid Cudi and harmonica by Stevie Wonder are meticulously placed, with the enchanting vocals of James Blake stealing the show in the powerful ending. The song is one of the few with fixed subject matter, downplaying the God complex rappers tend to possess. The song is progressive, inventive and most of all, thought-provoking.

10. Houstonfornication

Album: Astroworld

Sometimes we need to take a break from the hectic life around us. For Travis Scott, “Houstonfornication” is a call for that timeout. The penultimate song to Scott’s latest album is a tipsy mix of skittering trap melodies and Auto-Tuned rapping, resulting in a refined track with the signature ominous sound Travis has slowly refined over the years. “I might need me some ventilation, a little vacation / Houstonfornication”, he slurs in his half-asleep delivery. On the verses, Scott strips the Auto-Tune and brings the MC out of him, bouncing bars such as “I’m hard to catch, that’s the Butterfly Effect” off the scaling production. For anyone seeking escapism, “Houstonfornication” is the song for them.

9. Pornography

Album: Rodeo

The opener to Rodeo sets the tone for the project well. The T.I. narration introduces us to Travis’ world, mixed in various layers in the transforming beat (electric guitar, piano), alongside a solid rap verse.

8. Oh My / Dis Side (ft. Quavo)

Album: Rodeo

The two-part “Oh My / Dis Side” proves just why the world needs that collab album. ASAP. The reason why it’s so brilliant is there’s clear, genius thought gone into the creative process of making this song. Believe it or not there’s a story here: the first half “Oh My” is Travis rapping about how shocked he is at his come-up, despite being kicked out his mum’s house. The smooth transition into “Dis Side” leads to present-day Travis where he’s finally made it big but is looking back and paying homage to where he came from, as is Quavo. “Oh My” is the most infectious out the two halves, during which you remember every ad-lib that Quavo provides. “Oh My / Dis Side” takes you on a journey, whether you realise it or not.

7. Drugs You Should Try It

Album: Days Before Rodeo

The anomaly in Travis’s career. He hasn’t put out anything that quite sounds like this. “Drugs You Should Try It”, with its lo-fi production, atmospheric vibe and Kid Cudi-styled harmonisations, creates the exact effect you’d expect when taking drugs whether you take them or not. If you don’t, it feels like an accurate replication of a drugged mindstate. The harmonising vocals forms an image in your head as if everything is a blur and your thoughts are clouded. These gentle details make it one of Scott’s best songs.

6. Hell of a Night

Album: Owl Pharaoh

“Hell of a Night” is arguably the most underrated song of Scott’s career. Owl Pharoah is often overlooked because it’s old but this is one of the gems off it. It is a two-part song that sounds like it could have easily been a Kanye track off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It starts off mellow then the beat transition turns into a hard-hitting verse (“It’s a hell of a night, for heaven’s sakes”). It’s one of the best two-part contrasts he has produced.

5. 90210 (ft. Kacy Hill)

Album: Rodeo

It’s no surprise that all the best Travis songs are the two-part songs. “90210” is another psychedelic track, while lyrically he’s exploring the pursuits of a girl who wants the fame and fortune. The second part of the song is very reminiscent of Kanye West with the vocal sampling over which Scott discusses his family relations. He’s not known for his lyrical content but “90210” is a rare example of Scott adding some real substance to a song.

4. 3500 (ft. Future & 2 Chainz)

Album: Rodeo

The 8-minute “3500” is stacked with layers and is easily top 5 in Scott’s best songs to date. Originally to be recorded by Kanye West, Travis deservedly kept it for himself. There’s multiple elements to the beat, particularly on the hook when the explosive horn melody comes in. Scott, Future and 2 Chainz all provide good verses. Then the 2-minute breakdown of the beat at the end proves just how layered the song was as it slowly begins to take out sounds one by one. It’s one of the most energetic. catchy and layered songs that he has put out.

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3. Nightcrawler (ft. Swae Lee & Chief Keef)

Album: Rodeo

“Nightcrawler” is Scott’s most strategically crafted song. The different layers this song has is unbelievable. In terms of the beat’s layers, off the top of my head there’s the whirling synths, horns, hi-hats and psychedelic outro. On top of that there’s about 3 different equally-catchy hooks and melodies, making it infectiously memorable. “Nightcrawler” continuously hits you with one of those three melodies across the 5 minutes. Swae Lee adds a softer tone to the track while Sosa comes out the hardest of the three. All these musical ideas are present all in this one song, accumulating into a trap masterpiece.

2. Mamacita (ft. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan)

Album: Days Before Rodeo

The often forgotten “Mamacita” is the finest of the Young Thug and Scott collaborations, and the best song off the Days Before Rodeo mixtape. It’s well structured enough to make the two and Rich Homie Quan have a chemistry that can be compared to the chemistry of Migos. The guitar-strum beat is so prominent and every verse brings something different to the table whether it be flow, delivery or cadence. Best part is that every artist raps properly on their respective verses and add some touches of melodic singing where necessary. Travis doesn’t rap like this anymore.

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1. Coordinate

Album: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

This one is probably not in most people’s top ten, let alone be their favourite Travis Scott song, but it’s definitely mine. “Coordinate” produces a different type of feeling, a feeling that I feel and remember clear as day since I heard it for the first time. Once Blac Youngsta shuts the fuck up, you’re introduced to the chiming melody, splashes of bass and the hypnotising chorus. It’s the best song out of his catalogue that replicates the “evil” sound that he often aims for. His voice sounds practically satanic and possessed, something which only he manages to pull off with the greatest effect. Travis has had better song concepts than this, but the feeling it produces is the strongest out of the any other joint that made it on to this list.

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that it’s definitely underrated in Scott’s catalogue.

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This post was updated on August 14, 2018 to accommodate songs from Travis Scott’s third album, ‘Astroworld’.

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