A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

Travis Scott: UTOPIA Review


Overall rating: 3/5 


Travis Scott, with over 63 million monthly listeners on Spotify, has released his highly-anticipated fourth studio album UTOPIA this July. Reaching 128 million streams upon the first day of its release, this year UTOPIA is Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day. Featuring guest appearances from Drake, Beyonce, Future, The Weeknd, and more, UTOPIA is a collaborative effort between famous pop and rap artists that has helped propel this album to the top. But as Andre Gee said in his review for Rolling Stone Magazine, “He’s a brilliant curator, but doesn’t have anything interesting to say.”


 One of the most important things to recognize about UTOPIA is the vast amount of samples that Travis Scott uses in the production of his songs. Mixing decades from 1969 to 2023, Travis Scott uses a total of seventeen samples across nineteen songs. The tracks he samples within those songs are as follows:

  • HYAENA sampled Maggot Brain by Funkadelic (1971,) Proclamation by Gentle Giant (1974,) and Cigarettes Sur Cigarettes by Michel Corringe (1969).
  • SIRENS sampled Nsunka Lwendo by Amanaz (1975) and Explorer Suite by New England (1980)
  • GOD’S COUNTRY sampled Must Be Leaving 158 C#m by Dez Wright (2019).
  • LOOOVE sampled The Water Dance by DJ Flexxx (1993) and Shake Your Booty by Bunny Sigler (1974).
  • MY EYES sampled Over There by The Japanese House (2023).
  • MELTDOWN sampled TIE Fighter Laser Blast Sound FX from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977).


Additionally, “TELEKINESIS,” “TIL FURTHER NOTICE,” “DELRESTO (ECHOES),” “SKITZO,” and “LOST FOREVER” each use one or more samples in their production. Sampling in general is a huge part of the creation of rap albums, and in the case of UTOPIA, it makes up almost all of it. 


Another observation among fans is the heavy inspiration UTOPIA takes from Kanye West’s experimental, electronic album made almost a decade ago, Yeezus. This critique is deserved, being that Travis Scott is credited as one of the main producers on tracks such as “New Slaves” and “Guilt Trip.” On the flip side, Kanye helped a lot with the production of UTOPIA amongst other artists. We can hear undertones of his ominous electric beats, especially in tracks like “GOD’S COUNTRY” and “TELEKINESIS,” where he is specifically mentioned in the production credits.


Adding on to the production aspect sounding very similar between the two albums, producer Mike Dean has played a large role in the curation of both Ye and Travis’ work. Co-producing “Black Skinhead ” on Yeezus and “CIRCUS MAXIMUS ” on UTOPIA, you can hear the similarities in their sound. An overarching commonality is seen between the two albums through their blend of electronic and techno-inspired drum instrumentation with classic hip-hop elements and soulful beats.


Travis Scott uses an abundance of samples and artistic influence to create a genuinely great album. It’s everything you’d expect from a popular rap artist in 2023 it’s hype, experimental, and has a great flow. But, in comparison to Astroworld, UTOPIA’s lyrics are of very little substance. While the album itself is undoubtedly strong, it’s carried by the amount of help he receives from artists more or just as popular as himself. In “FE!N,” Playboy Carti soaks up most of the attention while Travis just ad-libs as his contribution. Unimaginative and lacking in artistic range, UTOPIA is just another blockbuster album designed to keep listeners entertained, but fails to expand Travis’ sound. 


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About the Contributor
Brynna Quigley, Music Editor
Brynna is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. She has been an editor for The Critic for two years and enjoys painting, reading, and seeing friends in her free time.
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