GRAPHIC BY DEVYN KELLY
By JACOB RAMOS
JACKBOYS on the loose!
Releasing debut album, JACKBOYS on Dec. 26, rapper Travis Scott, also known as La Flame, firmly cemented himself as next up on the rap genre’s ever-changing music scene. For Scott’s labelmates, JACKBOYS served as an introduction to hip-hop’s mainstream. Not long BEFORE OR AFTER the album’s debut, Scott announced the beginning of JackBoys, his self-made record label, featuring new artists Don Toliver, Sheck Wes and Chase B. JackBoys is headed by Travis Scott, the very hip-hop megastar who flew to the top with hit albums such as Astroworld and Rodeo.
Scott has made a name for himself off of drooly synths, perfectly tuned sounds and his signature adlibs which all preface his trademark style of rapping. The rappers he has chosen to collaborate with share similar traits of Scott. JACKBOYS is the culmination of wide eyed recruits influenced by Travis Scott’s vision.
Naturally, the other members of JackBoys are still in the process of finding their own styles. In the same way Kanye West mentored him earlier in his career, Scott is bringing in a new generation of artists.
Without a doubt, the most impressive take away from the JACKBOYS album is how Scott transcended simply from being a feature on a Kanye collab album. La Flame quite literally paid it back to the music industry by making an album similar to Cruel Summer, the collab album by Ye that featured Scott and put him on the music scene.
JACKBOYS began with a remix of Travis Scott’s newest hit song “Highest in the Room,” which features the original lyrics along with a new set of verses sung by Spanish recording artist Rosalia and American rapper Lil Baby. The remix is a solid reminder of Scott’s musical abilities and compatibility with other talented artists.
Then, the album then transitions to “GANG GANG,” a lullaby-like track which uniquely features the entire JackBoys label. The song is said to have brought Don Toliver and Sheck Wes back from “the mud” and illustrates the perfect introduction to the label.
Following “GANG GANG” is “HAD ENOUGH,” the fourth and possibly the best track on the album. Featuring Don Toliver, Quavo and Offset, “HAD ENOUGH” takes listeners on a melodic trip as the three artists serenade a girl who has simply “had enough” of their antics.
Although Quavo and Offset are considered some of the biggest names in hip-hop, it has become perfectly clear that newcomer, Don Toliver, outshined them this time as Toliver’s infectious voice meshes perfectly with the TrackMan88 produced beat.
The fifth track, “OUT WEST,” is a classic collaboration track featuring Scott and close friend, Young Thug. The song symbolizes Scott and Thugger’s solid musical tandem, as always, while setting up the next track on the album nicely.
On the sixth track on JACKBOYS, “WHAT TO DO,” Don Toliver returns in a triumphant fashion, delivering a solid verse and chorus that bridges a continuation from “HAD ENOUGH.” Scott decisively makes another appearance for a short verse in the song, simply compliment Don Toliver’s complete takeover of the track.
Finally, the seventh and final track of the album, “GATTI,” features Scott and New York rapper PopSmoke. Despite the album’s earlier successes, Scott definitely missed the mark with the song, delivering all but subpar verses to round off the album. Bars with no meaning haunted the song, with awkward delivery from PopSmoke especially.
From a musical standpoint, through JACKBOYS, Scott and his crew have mixed a new bonafide talent in the form of Toliver, Thug and the label. Despite his audience’s high expectations for any album, Scott
made a point to take on a smaller role on the album. The notable absence of Scott was striking, but in light of his presence, Toliver took control. In fact, Toliver was widely seen as the alpha of this album, as he took up a large part of the track time.
Of course, critics were quick to point out that JACKBOYS as a whole did not feature too much of Travis Scott, even though it is his album. Although Scott is only a large part in three of the seven tracks, the dimming of his own spotlight brightens that of his apprentices. Clearly, Scott decisively chose to release a seven track album in hopes to provide recognition for sources other than himself.
Ultimately, what many fans ultimately failed to see was Scott designed this album to outdo himself. It will certainly be an experience to see if JackBoys has the potential to reach the same level as Kanye West’s label, especially since Travis Scott got his start on West’s label, Def Jam Music Group. It will also be a feat to witness if JACKBOYS can replicate Def Jam’s success because Scott definitely has the image, presence and leadership to take his apprentices to the next level.
Overall, JACKBOYS is a massive success in introducing various new names to the rap scene, and firmly placed Travis Scott among the acclaimed Kanye West and Jay-Z.