Travis Scott's fourth studio album, UTOPIA, has just dropped, and it's causing quite a stir. Not only does it feature an A-list roster of collaborators, including Drake, Beyonce, Future, and The Weeknd, but it also bears an uncanny resemblance to another iconic album: Kanye West's Yeezus.
This isn't entirely surprising if you remember that Travis Scott was heavily involved in the production of Yeezus. His unique blend of electronic, techno-inspired drum instrumentation with traditional hip-hop elements is evident in tracks like New Slaves and Guilt Trip. Fast forward to UTOPIA, and you can hear a similar sound. What's more, Kanye West himself has contributed to UTOPIA, lending his distinctive production style to tracks like THANK GOD, GOD’S COUNTRY, and TELEKINESIS. It's clear that Ye's influence is strong in this album, from his signature auto-tuned vocals to his intense beats.
Both Travis and Kanye have worked with similar producers on their projects, most notably Mike Dean. Dean's influence on both Yeezus and UTOPIA is evident, particularly in the comparison between CIRCUS MAXIMUS and Black Skinhead. Travis doesn't stop at borrowing production elements from Kanye; he also mirrors Ye's flow from Yeezus. Tracks like CIRCUS MAXIMUS and HYAENA see Travis adopting a lyrical cadence that closely resembles Kanye's delivery on Black Skinhead. Not only that, but Travis also pays homage to Ye by sampling old Kanye production on the track LOOVE, which features a sample from Pusha-T’s 2013 hit Numbers on the Board. A Kid Cudi feature also nods to Kanye's circle of collaborators.
Finally, there are theories that certain tracks on UTOPIA stem from Kanye’s 2020 Donda sessions. Tracks like MODERN JAM and TELEKINESIS bear a striking resemblance to beats originally created for Kanye's Yeezus and Donda albums. So, UTOPIA is not just a new release; it's a complex web of influences, collaborations, and musical references. It's an album that harks back to the era of Yeezus, while simultaneously pushing forward into new territory. Travis Scott's UTOPIA may be the new kid on the block, but its roots run deep into the soil of hip hop history.