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Utopia: it really is a utopia

Utopia: it really is a utopia

Travis Scott’s long awaited fourth album, UTOPIA, has finally arrived. It’s been delayed for almost 4 years and some people, including me, thought he would take the same route as other artists like Playboi Carti and Kanye West: announce the album, delay the album, then never drop it. 

After what seemed to be an endless 5-year wait, on July 28, 2023, UTOPIA was finally released. The album featured production from MIKE DEAN and Kanye West, and an extensive feature list with features from Kid Cudi, Future, SZA, 21 Savage, Beyonce, Toronto natives Drake and The Weeknd, and even Playboi Carti. When the album dropped, none of the features were listed, which he also did for his album Astroworld. This really added to the listening experience and gave a shock value on first listen. 

 From the opening track  “HYAENA, Travis makes it clear that UTOPIA is not just an album, but an immersive experience. Travis uses his storytelling abilities to guide us through the world of UTOPIA using beats and lyrics that flow seamlessly from one song to the next. It is quite obvious that UTOPIA is heavily influenced by Kanye West’s studio album Yeezus, yet it is safe to say that Travis has created his own sound. The features prove that he is able to work with a diverse range of talents and styles. In “MODERN JAMfeaturing the funky pop-punk artist Teezo Touchdown, Travis leans into a different style of music and ultimately pushes past the barriers of traditional hip-hop. While “MODERN JAM” and other tracks such as “CIRCUS MAXIMUS” break out of the comfort zone of hip-hop, UTOPIA does include your typical rap song like “MELTDOWN” featuring Drake; which I consider to be one of the best songs on the album, and “TOPIA TWINS” featuring Rob49 and 21 Savage; which is a hype song to play on repeat, but is forgettable and definitely not a standout song. 

While “MELTDOWN” did not reach a “SICKO MODE” level of greatness, it was arguably the most entertaining song on the album. Drake absolutely killed his feature, calling out Americans for feeling threatened by his hometown of Toronto, Canada, which he refers to as “The 6.” Drake also fires some shots at Pharell, rapping, “Since V not around, the members done hung up the Louis / they not even wearing that sh*t.” The name “V” refers to the late Virgil Abloh, and since then Pharrell took his position as the creative director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton. Drake claims that since Pharrell took Abloh’s position, people are done with the Louis Vuitton brand and don’t want to wear it anymore. In the second half of the track, Travis takes direct aim at Timothée Chalamet, who is currently in a relationship with Kylie Jenner; Travis’ ex-girlfriend. He makes reference to Willy Wonka, the character Chalamet will be playing in the upcoming film Wonka. Travis raps, “Chocolate AP and the chocolate the Vs, got the Willy Wonka factory / burn a athlete like it’s calories, find another flame hot as me,” Never in my life did I think I would be witnessing Travis Scott dissing Timothée Chalamet, but it works and is very amusing.

“LOST FOREVER” was the most anticipated song on UTOPIA. It was first performed at the Dior Summer 2022 Fashion Show in Paris on June 21, 2021. Since then, the leak has had over 1 million views on YouTube and much praise on multiple social media platforms. The song samples Chuck Senrick’s 1976 song, “Don’t be so Nice” in the intro and the weary instrumental can be heard throughout. The big theme of the song is being lost in UTOPIA which is the plot of his movie: Circus Maximus. Scott made with the movie production studio A24. A24 is known for a cult following of their films, and Circus Maximus is on track to being the newest in that pattern. Westside Gunn, Co-founder of Griselda Records is featured on “LOST FOREVER.” Gunn’s upbeat voice compared to the melancholy background and Scott’s weary voice just makes you want to listen over and over again. The original version of the song focuses more on the instrumental, with the first minute only being some vocalization from the sample. I really loved this part especially and I wish that it stayed in the final version of the song. It’s also the same loop the whole time, which is different from the final version, which has a beat switch at Westside Gunn’s verse. This isn’t the only song on UTOPIA that got changed from the original. “FE!N,” was originally supposed to have a verse with Shek Wes, but it was ultimately scrapped.

“FE!N”, had arguably the most shocking feature on the album: Playboi Carti. Since his 2020 release, Whole Lotta Red, Playboi Carti has garnered a scary cult following. You can’t just casually listen to him. You either love him, or hate him. Fans on TikTok and Twitter were very shocked to hear Carti’s Iconic “what?” adlib on the song. I am ashamed to say I was almost brought to tears hearing it. I wish Sheck Wes’s verse stayed in the final version rather than just his adlibs, because Shek Wes has such a unique-sounding voice, and all of his songs get you hyped. With Carti’s energy, it would have been a match made in heaven.

My personal favorite tracks on UTOPIA are “MY EYES” and “TELEKINESIS.” “MY EYES” starts out with an emotional intro, then follows with a smooth transition into the heartfelt and addicting second half of the song. Many listeners have complained about having to sit through the first half of the song because it is slower than most of Scott’s music. I completely disagree. I will admit that it took a while for it to grow on me, but since my first listen I have grown to appreciate the slow beginning of the song, as it reminds me of Frank Ocean. I would consider “MY EYES” to be a perfect song, there is nothing I would change about it. My other favorite track on UTOPIA  is “TELEKINESIS.”  I wish I could hear it again for the first time. When I heard Future’s voice at the very beginning of the song, I already knew it was going to be an amazing song. “TELEKINESIS” was the perfect track to put near the end of the album, as it is a testament to the future of hip-hop. The highlight of the song was SZA’s viral closing feature, which left many fans in shock, and some in tears. As soon as I heard SZA’s voice, I fell to my knees on the kitchen floor. I was filled with so much joy and shock.

UTOPIA has already sold over 500,00 units and it is on track to becoming platinum, and one of the best rap albums of all time.

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About the Contributor
Jordin Anteneh, Staff Writer
Jordin is a freshman who is very excited for her first year writing for The Voice . She loves music, shopping, knitting, and crossword puzzles. She also is the president of the knitting club at school.

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