Travis Scott’s Utopia has only been out for two and a half weeks, but it’s already spawned numerous strands of discourse, from the apparent debt its production owes to various scrapped Kanye West songs to whether its lyrics should have more extensively addressed Scott’s reaction to the fatal crowd crush at his 2021 Astroworld Festival.
But the overwhelming reaction from critics, including Rolling Stone’s own Andre Gee, was that the album’s biggest weakness is Scott himself, who continues to seem like he’s better at producing and choosing collaborators than he is at expressing himself as a rapper. Scott’s fans, meanwhile, are adamant that anyone looking for deep lyrics from Travis Scott are simply expecting the wrong things from his music.
On the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, Gee joins host Brian Hiatt for a deep dive on the album, from its guest stars (Beyoncé, John Mayer, SZA, Drake, and many more), to its production and place in Scott’s discography, and to the question of the Astroworld tragedy. To hear the whole podcast, go here to the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.
Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone’s weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, and Gary Clark Jr. And look for dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.