Travis Scott’s ‘Utopia’ Album Rollout Controversies, Chaos

Travis Scott’s ‘Utopia’ Album Rollout Controversies, Chaos

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Travis Scott’s ‘Utopia’ Album Rollout Controversies, Chaos
#Travis #Scotts #Utopia #Album #Rollout #Controversies #Chaos,


Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for E11EVEN

When Travis Scott was first teasing a follow-up to his 2018 album, Astroworld, back in 2021, he hinted at two projects: one called Dystopia and a separate one called Utopia. Now, the rapper is gearing up to release his fourth album, Utopia, but Dystopia may actually be a better name, based on the messy rollout thus far. Scott’s promotion has been over the top and full of stunts, even as litigation for the crowd-crush tragedy at his Astroworld festival under two years ago remains ongoing. But some of those stunts haven’t quite gone according to plan, making this look less like a slick Travis Scott rollout (but really, past ones have had their problems too) and more like a redux of Kanye West’s Jesus Is King and Donda cycles. Below, the most chaotic elements of the rollout so far, in order from Scott in sicko mode to just making us sick.

Scott had been slowly dipping his toes back into that Utopia water throughout 2022, dropping a few songs and beginning a nightclub residency called “Road to Utopia.” But the rapper really got into album mode — and set the attention-seeking tone for this rollout — in May, when he appeared with a bodyguard who was holding a briefcase that had “Utopia” on it. The case went on a mini-tour of sorts, making appearances with SZA’s bodyguard and producer Mike Dean, who got to open the case but didn’t show us what was in it. Sneaky. This one’s a flashy move, sure, but it’s not really that out there for a promo cycle. Even kind of clever. Sure, he in sicko mode.

You want people to notice your album’s lead single? Put two of the most popular artists right now on it. You really want people to notice it? Throw a few more big names in the music video. You really, really want people to notice it? Give it a name that’ll rile up the online stan communities. Check, check, and check here. Scott led off Utopia with a song called “K-Pop,” featuring Bad Bunny and the Weeknd, and with music-video cameos from Pharrell Williams and SZA. (Never mind if Travis, Benito, and Abel actually fit together on the same song.) And for one more twist: The title actually refers to a lollipop laced with ketamine, not Korean pop music. Sorry, kids. And sorry, Trav: Bad Bunny’s the only one close to sicko mode here.

You may need to take notes for this one. Back in 2021, when A24 and Scott announced a production deal for Scott’s Cactus Jack Films, they teased a screenplay by Scott for a film seemingly called Utopia. Due to rollout delays after Astroworld, it would take years for that film to finally hit screens with Scott’s new album — oh yeah, and now without A24. Scott announced Circus Maximus, a companion to Utopia, earlier this week, featuring work from five directors and soundtracked by his new album. A poster for the film included an A24 logo, but it must’ve just been for clout, because the production company later said it wasn’t involved.

As for who is: Gaspar Noé, Valdimar Jóhannsson, Nicolas Winding Refn, Harmony Korine, and Kahlil Joseph. And that’s where more confusion comes in. See, there’s another Harmony Korine–Travis Scott project, Aggro Dr1ft, that’s set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival — oh, and it was announced the same day as Circus Maximus. It’s unclear if that one involves A24 or how much it overlaps with Circus, or even if Scott approves of the film, after a since-redacted report that he wouldn’t sign off on its release. Dropping a film with your new album may be common practice by now, but it’s a bit less common to drop one film — passing it off as part of an acclaimed production company — while another by one of the same directors is also in the pipeline. Yeah, all these head-spinning details are making us kinda sick.

Somehow, though, all of that pales in comparison to this audacious failed (for now?) stunt. Weeks out from Utopia, Scott announced a performance at the Pyramids of Giza for July 28 — later revealed to be the album’s release date. Performances at the pyramids aren’t uncommon, and this one quickly sold out, with livestream plans also in place. Then, the problems started to roll in. Reports from Egypt said the country’s Musicians Syndicate denied permission for the performance due to worries about safety and how Scott upheld the country’s values. (Some reports mentioned concerns over Satanism.) That same day, Scott’s promoter, Live Nation, denied the reports, simply saying the show would go on. Except it wouldn’t, because a week later, Live Nation then confirmed the performance was canceled, now due to “complex production issues” with the construction and definitely not the Egyptian government. You almost have to hand it to Scott — to come back from a controversy, he created a whole new one in the process. And now, after the official cancellation a day before, the rapper is still insisting the performance will still go on at a later date, along with four more at other to-be-announced locations. Call it drive or call it delusion — we’re just sick of hearing about it all.



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Travis Scott’s ‘Utopia’ Album Rollout Controversies, Chaos

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