Every career has standout moments, especially when the conversation centers around musical artists. Travis Scott is inarguably a superstar now, but he put in a lot of time and work to get to that point. From his debut solo project, Owl Pharaoh, dropping in 2012, to four years later, when he scored his first No. 1 album with Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight in 2016, Travis Scott's career is a lesson in dedication and commitment. Now loved the world over, his career is a highlight reel of sorts, full of highs and impressive accomplishments. Here, XXL highlights some of his biggest moments as an artist, when he not only rose to the occasion, but surpassed it.
Nearly any rap fan can tell you about how huge Travis' Astroworld album was when it dropped in 2018. The project sold 537,000 units in its first week and birthed an extremely successful tour and festival, proving a turning point in his career. He was a successful businessman in many arenas, from sold-out merch to the sold-out festival. Add in that the album featured the biggest song of his career, the Drake-assisted "Sicko Mode," and it was crystal clear that Travis was in a special zone. He also had his eyes on more than just making music.
Back in 2017, Travis announced his own record label, Cactus Jack Records, with artists like Sheck Wes and Don Toliver signing on over the next two years. He's bought them on the road and thrust them both into the public eye in a selfless way, wanting his artists to shine in the same places he does. In addition to that, Travis released a documentary on Netflix, Look Mom I Can Fly, which adds a human touch to the crazy lifestyle that he has to uphold as a star. The rapper also had some tremendous performances on the main stage, including hitting the Grammy Awards, halftime of the Super Bowl, and toughing out a knee injury to finish his headlining set at Rolling Loud New York.
All in all, Travis has used his time well. His trajectory is still rising and he's enjoying the ride. Check out more of Travis Scott's biggest music moments below.
Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight Debuts at No. 1
By the time Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight dropped in 2016, Travis Scott was on the rise but not quite the household name he is today. His sophomore album features some of Travis' career-defining songs, like "Pick Up the Phone" featuring Young Thug and Quavo, and "Goosebumps" with Kendrick Lamar. This was Travis first No. 1 album, and it was certified platinum in less than a year.
Starts Cactus Jack Records
First announced in March of 2017, Cactus Jack Records is Travis' record label, created with the intention to bring in other acts and help them rise to the top. The label's first release was the 2017 album Huncho Jack, a Quavo and Travis collab.
The rapper's first signing to the label was Harlem rapper Sheck Wes in February 2018 (Sheck is also signed tot deal with Interscope Records and Kanye West's label G.O.O.D. Music). Sheck dropped his debut album, Mudboy, in October of the same year.
Houston rapper Don Toliver was signed in August of 2018, and that same month he dropped his Donny Womack mixtape. Last month, he delivered the well-received album Heaven Or Hell.
As a collective, the trip dropped the JackBoys compilation project last December. The effort was a showcase of Cactus Jack's members (Travis, Sheck, Don, Luxury Tax and Chase B).
Astroworld Debuts at No. 1
When an artist becomes a superstar, there is always one pivotal moment that you can point to. Travis' big accomplishment occurred right here, when his third album, Astroworld, dropped on Aug. 3, 2018. Moving 537,000 units, it was obvious that Travis' impact could not be denied. He climbed his way to the top once again with his second No. 1-selling album. Astroworld had the second largest sales week of all 2018 albums, following behind Eminem's Kamikaze, and includes the seven-times platinum-selling "Sicko Mode" featuring Drake and Swae Lee as one of its singles.
“Sicko Mode” Hits No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100
Certain songs just have a larger than life sound to them. "Sicko Mode" fits the bill, as it puts Travis Scott, Drake and Swae Lee shoulder to shoulder, with multiple beat changes and quotable lines for every Instagram caption. The song started off as a track on Astroworld, not an official single, but the fan response moved it to new heights. The track debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its summer 2018 release. Seventeen weeks later on Dec. 8, 2018, it was the No. 1 song in the country, which was a first for Travis. The video also has some insane views at nearly 500 million on YouTube, and the song still rings out to this day.
Announces First Annual Astroworld Festival
At a time when artists' having their own festivals was a rarity, Travis Scott jumped out to announce that he would be launching Astroworld Festival in his hometown of Houston. On Nov. 17, 2018, the rapper's sold-out fest took off, featuring amusement park rides and other carnival-like attractions, and performances from Post Malone, Rae Sremmurd, Young Thug, Lil Wayne, Gunna and Travis himself.
Breaks The Forum Live Show Record
The Astroworld tour was such a success, spanning 56 North American dates, with two legs and additional shows overseas. The Feb. 8, 2019 show at legendary Los Angeles music venue The Forum was extra special, as Travis sold out the venue. He grossed $1.7 million, setting a record at The Forum. The rapper also sold out the venue in 2018, on Dec. 19 and 20, just months before this show.
Commits to Performing While Injured
Talk about being committed to the stage. Travis Scott is known for his insane live show, complete with wild stage effects and raging at every turn. While running through his song "Butterfly Effect" at Rolling Loud New York on Oct. 12, 2019, Travis jumped and landed awkwardly on his knee and tries to brush it off. Later on in the show, he admits he hurt his knee but continues on with performing. He gets through the rest of the show and exits the stage. Travis ended up dislocating his knee that night, yet kept raging through the pain.
Earns Second No. 1 Single With “Highest in the Room”
Just when it seemed Travis was going to take a little break at the end of 2019, after such a dominant year, he came right back with "Highest in the Room," a catchy, high-energy track that shot him right to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Travis was continuing to be a streaming force with the song racking up 59 million streams in its first week. No breaks.
Releases Look Mom I Can Fly Documentary
When you reach the heights of success that Travis has, people want to know all they can about you, from your day-to-day life to the more interesting parts of the superstar experience. On Aug. 28, 2019, Trav gave the people what they wanted and dropped the documentary, Look Ma I Can Fly on Netflix. The film, directed by White Trash Tyler, features Travis through two lenses: the family man with his young daughter Stormi and then-girlfriend Kylie Jenner, and the rap star, hitting stages across the country for his adoring fans.
Being a headlining act at this prestigious California festival is a big deal no matter what kind of music you make. This year, Travis Scott was set to headline Coachella, as was Frank Ocean and Rage Against The Machine. The headlining spot arrived after his meteoric 2019. This stage would give him room to run through his biggest hits, bring guests if he wanted to and put on an electrifying performance. Unfortunately, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Coachella is postponed, moving from April to Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18.
Receives Three Grammy Nominations in 2019
Like many artists, Travis wasn't silent about wanting to get a Grammy for his solo work. 2019 would be his first chance. The rapper was nominated for Best Rap Album (Astroworld), along with Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song (both for "Sicko Mode") at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Unfortunately, Travis didn't leave with an award that night, but it doesn't seem this will be his last time as a nominee.
Performs at 2019 Grammy Awards
Being a Grammy nominee is a huge deal. Being tapped to perform at the show is just as big. It's a chance for an artist to share their music with the entire world on live television. At the 2019 Grammy Awards this past February, Travis stepped into the moment, hitting the stage to perform "Stop Trying to Be God" then "No Bystanders." His performance of the former song was a calmer more serious vibe, with the latter performance being all high energy, as he invited a bunch of people to rush the stage and mosh with him.
Performs “Sicko Mode” at Super Bowl LIII
On Feb. 3, Travis Scott hit the Super Bowl Halftime stage, along with Maroon 5 and Big Boi. Getting the opportunity to perform during such a big game with all eyes in his direction is a great look, but there was some backlash to Travis' decision this time around. Thanks to the NFL's ongoing back and forth with Colin Kaepernick after his kneeling controversy, and artists refusing to do the halftime show in solidarity (Jay-Z, Rihanna and Cardi B), Travis had to face scrutiny. However, he did get the NFL to donate to Dream Corps, an organization that backs initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity for all, as part of his agreement to do the show, finding a silver lining through it all.