The Official Halloween Hip-Hop Artist: Travis Scott

Travis Scott performs on stage during Rolling Loud at Hard Rock Stadium on July 24

Travis Scott is the Official Rapper of Halloween.

Certain songs and artists pair perfectly with certain seasons. Believe it or not, aside from the Monster Mash and horror film theme songs; there are not that many “Halloween songs.” In the holiday song game, Christmas gets all of the glory, tons of A-list artists have Christmas albums – in hip-hop alone there’s Christmas in Harlem, Christmas in Hollis, and Chance the Rapper dropped two Christmas Albums with Jeremih. But where are all of the hip-hop Halloween songs? Who is hip-hop’s Halloween artist? 

The answer is Travis Scott and I have proof for my claim. 

As an experiment – open a new tab on your phone or laptop and search the words “Travis Scott aesthetic” and look what pops up. You’ll see blurry photos with increased saturation with lots of smoke, fire, and ambiguity. Scott’s entire aesthetic can be traced back to metal music, anime, and horror movies. Similar to horror movie villains, Travis Scott does not have an overtly “creepy” name. The name Travis Scott fits in perfectly next to Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, and Freddy Krueger. 

Halloween Music

Spotify seems to agree with my Halloween thesis. On Spotify’s official Halloween Party playlist sits SICKO MODE, then on their Spooky playlist is Scott’s goosebumps – both playlists have well over 150,000 followers. But why? SICKO MODE was the biggest in the world, it features the biggest pop star in the world and isn’t about anything particularly scary. 

Simply put – the individual sounds and instruments that Travis Scott decides to use in his music can be described as haunting. If you were to strip a Travis Scott song of all drums and vocals – you’d be left with the perfect music to play in a haunted house. Where other artists would use pianos or a synthesizer, Scott will use a distorted organ sound. SICKO MODE is filled with these choices:

  • (00:00-00:30) The intro is a distorted organ repeated over and over again, it’s layered subtly with a chime sound effect on every half beat. This sound is reminiscent of someone walking down a dangerous hallway in a scary movie.
  • (1:42-1:53) Travis Scott beats are often very sonically deep, you can hear sounds trailing off and fading out. In the middle of Travis Scott’s verse there is an abrupt bridge where the drums clear out, then a deep dark voice begins saying “Someone said, to win the retreat, we all in too deep. Playin’ for keeps, don’t play us for weak.” Underneath the creepy deep voice, a key change takes place taking the beat higher – another tactic common in horror movies to indicate danger or intrigue.
  • (2:49-3:08) This portion of the song cemented SICKO MODE as a Halloween classic – the classic transition point to the “out like a light” portion of the song. First of all, the transition is chaotic, making it perfect for Halloween. Secondly, Travis Scott’s ad libs alone are scary – screaming “yeah” with auto-tune and reverb on his vocals abruptly is perfect for a jump scare. Then lastly, the organ beat that Drake is rapping over could be played in a haunted house.
  • (3:33-3:36) Drake says: “I crept down the block (down the block), made a right (yeah, right) Cut the lights (yeah, what?), paid the price (yeah).”

That’s just SICKO MODE – which is technically Scott’s second most popular song behind goosebumps. Similar to SICKO MODE, the beat to goosebumps is haunting – despite the actual subject matter of the song not being remotely scary. SICKO MODE and goosebumps aren’t really about anything, they are just fun songs where Travis Scott and an A-List feature talk about being rich and having fun. 

Scott’s lyrics seem to be more about poetic expression than sending a specific message.  

Consider BUTTERFLY EFFECT – one of Scott’s most popular songs, which coincidentally shares a name with an incredibly popular horror film. The lyrics to BUTTERFLY EFFECT are completely hollow, it is a song about nice cars, drugs, and being rich – seemingly named after a horror film for no reason. Yet the title fits, because of the unique artistic choices that Travis Scott has made in creating the beat.

Visuals & Aesthetic

HIGHEST IN THE ROOM is presumably a song about sex and weed, yet the visuals for this chart-topper feature Scott with giant hooks in his mouth as he’s wearing a skull shirt. This is another Travis Scott song that begins with an eerie sound, similar to a theremin. 

In a world where artists are presenting themselves as cool, clean, and swaggerful – Scott chooses to portray himself as scary, powerful, and mysterious. Travis Scott does not attempt to be intimidating in a traditional rap sense, there is very little gun talk or realistic violence in his lyrics. Rather than be portrayed as tough, Scott is almost always portrayed as a superhuman and it’s never clear if he’s good or evil.

The visuals and aesthetics of ASTROWORLD, Cactus Jack, and THE SCOTTS have left an imprint on both music and fashion. Scott’s ability to appear larger than life while making captivating music has ingratiated him to legions of young fans who truly see him as larger than life. 

Travis Scott is groundbreaking, he was the first person to make music in this style and fashion. There is no way to describe Travis Scott’s sound without alluding to Travis Scott, he’s found his lane and he’s owned it. One of the many reasons that Scott is the first person to popularize this style of music is that the technology simply did not exist until recently. The popularity and achievements of Travis Scott have a great deal to do with advancements in production technology mixed with Scott’s one of a kind creative process.

The Travis Scott aesthetic is driving youth culture and can be seen in this younger generation of artists like Trippie Redd, Ski Mask tha Slump God, and even Billie Eilish. Although Travis Scott never mentions Halloween, October, or candy in any of his songs  – he is the official rapper for the Halloween season. That’s what happens when you have popular songs named SKELETONS and goosebumps.