Jacques Webster, aka Travis Scott, is not a man of many words, though when he speaks he get straight to the point, as do his songs. His new album Birds in the Trap Sing Brian McKnight is all about strong melodies and important vocal contributions from the Weeknd, Young Thug, Cassie, Kid Cudi, a great mentor for Travis together with Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Bryson Tiller, and others the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Andre 3000. He produced an album with a very specific mission: to satisfy fans with his “trap music,” a kind of accelerated rap of which he himself has been one of the early champions, along with Atlanta rap groups like Migos, Young Thug and Gucci Mane. The cover art (shot by Nick Knight) shows Scott as something between a bird and a fallen angel, wrapped in white smoke as though he is just about to do something majestic. He’s no longer an up-and-coming protégé or an industry-packaged product, he is finally ready to fly free and becoming the next big storyteller in rap music. He also often plays with fashion, (he is friends with Riccardo Tisci) and starred in a recent movie for Yves Saint Laurent for the spring/summer 2017 collection wearing a suit that lights on fire, an element that references Travis’ nickname “La Flame.” We sat down with him to unveil his passions, which apart from fashion include design, architecture and medicine.
What is your relationship with fashion?
I believe it is an interesting one, it’s something that is part of me. It’s in me.
How would you define your style? Does music rhyme with style?
My style has no boundaries, it always represents what I am feeling, there is no one particular style. I personally think it does, 100%. Music is an extension of you and it has to match your style.
Lots of artists collaborate with fashion designers. Will you ever create your own fashion label?
That is an interesting idea but I am focusing on music. I am doing partnerships with other designers, I have a collab with Helmut Lang hitting stores at the end of January. I also work closely designing and creative directing my Travis Scott merchandise collections.
Can you tell us what your latest album is about?
Birds is the way I was feeling that time of the year, I was feeling boxed in on shit, I was making an album against the grain. I made the album to let the people know where I was at the time. Right now, I feel like its off my chest, I look forward to 2017. I feel like I am in a good place right now.
What is your favourite song of all times and why?
I’m really sorry MANINTOWN crew but that is impossible to answer, I really got so many favourite songs!
Performing on stage requires a lot of energy, what is your secret to be powerful on stage?
As simple as can be, I just have one secret: a whole lot of Sprite. It tastes so good and gets me going.
How do you interact with your audience?
My attitude is very welcoming. I am very personal and protective with my fans, I connect with them, all I care about is giving them a good time, especially when performing live, I like to be as close to them as I can.
What are your music influences?
A lot of psychedelic music, hard rap, ill beats.
Who do you consider your mentor?
I would say all my closest friends mentor me, but I have a couple inspirational musicians such as Kid Cudi and Kanye.
What does Kanye West represent to you?
Kanye is one of my best friends, he’s kind of stepped in as an important figure in my life, he has shown me a lot of this world, and I continue to learn a lot from him, every time we meet.
Who are your favourite emerging hip hop artists?
Made in Tokyo, 21 Savage- it was great I had him on my album.
Do you wish to be a mentor yourself for some of them?
I am always down to help other artists out.
When did you decide to be musician?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to do music, I kind of got that from my dad.
What did you dream about being when you were younger?
I wanted to be a kidney doctor. A nephrologist- a medical doctor who specializes in kidney care and treating diseases of the kidneys.
What’s your ultimate goal?
I want to keep doing big tours, to get into design and architecture. Expand more, with no limits.
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Photographer: Mike Piscitelli
Fashion Stylist: Nicolas Klam
Stylist Assistant: Ali Miller
Groomer: Phil Brown
Shot at the Mondrian, Los Angeles