Travis Scott is comfortably on top of the earth. His third studio album, 2018’s Astroworld, was the year’s most highly-anticipated rap record and took him to worldwide superstardom. But the wait for his follow-up album has been slightly less anxious.
Since Astroworld, Scott has released the 2019 label compilation JackBoys and regularly fed his fans with standalone singles. He’s overwhelmingly indulged in near enough every industry, collaborating with Nike, McDonalds, Sony and Fortnite on his path to a brand juggernaut.
Now that the bag is secured, the focus is back on the music. The question is, how does Travis Scott follow up a 3× Platinum record and top it? Utopia was first teased in summer 2020, and little information has been revealed besides the title.
In similar fashion to our Astroworld expectations, here are our expectations and predictions for Travis Scott’s upcoming album, Utopia.
1. The Singles
In 2017, the “Butterfly Effect” was released as a SoundCloud three-pack. Expected to be a standalone single, its success enabled it to feature on Astroworld over a year later.
A similar case could be made for the song “Franchise” featuring Young Thug and M.I.A. Released as a single in September 2020, the fact it peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 could well enough signal its inclusion on the Utopia tracklist.
The much-teased song “Highest in the Room” was released back in October 2019 and also peaked at number 1. However with its age and the remix featuring on the JackBoys label compilation, it is unlikely to be included on Utopia outside of a bonus track capacity.
2. Stacked Collaborations
Astroworld was stacked with surprise features; from Drake and Frank Ocean down to Stevie Wonder and James Blake. Travis heavily collaborates on every project to his name, so fans can expect similar volumes of guest appearances on Utopia. But now that Travis’ star power is stronger than ever, any and every name is available at his disposal.
Should “Franchise” make the cut, that already brings Young Thug and M.I.A. to the tracklist. Regulars Kid Cudi and 21 Savage may reappear, particularly the former unless every Cudi-Travis song is being saved for their collaborative project.
Trap peers Lil Uzi Vert and Future are overdue appearances. Roddy Ricch is also expected to land a feature, and no doubt stars of the Cactus Jack camp are locked and loaded (Don Toliver).
Multiple posts by Scott have shown him back in the studio with English singer-songwriter James Blake. If songs like “Stop Trying to Be God” and “Mile High” are to go off, their chemistry will most certainly be a treat on Utopia.
However, Travis always throws in curveballs when it comes to the feature roster. A reunion with Kacy Hill would be welcome, who was missed on Astroworld, as would additional female collaborators such as Rosalía, SZA and FKA Twigs.
With Travis stating he is “working with some new people”, expect some fresh faces to land on Utopia.
3. A Commercial Sound
In his 2021 interview with i-D, Travis stated his desire to make a “new sound”. In his support, such was the case with the expansive Rodeo, and then the psychedelic Astroworld. However, recent singles have hinted to a diluted formula, one that takes his artistic bearings to its simplest level (à la Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight / Huncho Jack).
With recent output in mind, the majority of Utopia should follow the commercial template that’s resulted in three number 1s in under a year.
But Travis has echoed ambition, so there will be a few moments of your usual beat switches, unorthodox song structures and killer melodies. The question is what sound he could possibly chase to unlock a new artistic peak.
4. More Self-Production
As Travis has become more famous, the volume of producing his own beats have dwindled. Astroworld included just 5 self-production credits. But Scott’s stated he has “been making beats again”, which pairs up with his ambition to push the sonics on Utopia. Regular collaborators Mike Dean, WondaGurl and Frank Dukes will be sure to assist Travis in that pursuit. Not to mention, Metro Boomin has been spotted in the studio with the Cactus Jack star.
You never know what will end up on the cutting room floor, but the more self-made Utopia is, the better.
5. A Cinematic Feel
Travis Scott is the king of creating an experience. If the name is anything to go by, Utopia is set to immerse the listener in a new world in similar vein to Rodeo and Astroworld.
On the 2-year anniversary of Astroworld, Travis wrote an open letter to fans, signing off with “Let’s keep the ride going. See you in Utopia.” It is thus in Travis’ interest to leave the fun amusement park and transport to something even grander; a heavenly domain.
The production, song concepts and melodies of Utopia will all work together to generate a new cinematic chapter to Scott’s illustrious music career.