When thinking about the hip-hop album of the year no other album comes to mind other than Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD. It gave fans an experience that goes beyond music. The album serves as an ode to Houston culture.  It’s a seamless collection of experiences that take you on a roller coaster ride. With the release of the album, Travis showed the promise we saw in him since the release of Rodeo.

The Album

ASTROWORLD was released on August 3, 2018, and is Scott’s third studio album.  The project was titled after Six Flags Astroworld formally in Houston, Texas. Throughout the album, Scott emphasizes his Houston roots with references and samples of local legends. The album featured vocals from Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, Drake, The Weeknd, James Blake, Swae Lee, Gunna, Philip Bailey, Nav, 21 Savage, Quavo, Takeoff, Juice Wrld, Sheck Wes, and Don Toliver.

The album was supported by three singles, ‘Butterfly Effect”, “Sicko Mode”, and “Yosemite” and debuted at the top of Billboard. The first week sales totaled a half million units with 270,00 of the units coming from pure sales. Pure sales are sales that are from physicals or downloads, not streams from a streaming service. Selling merchandise along with copies of the album helped boost the album’s sales.

ASTROWORLD is the payoff from all his hard work from over the years. From making beats for Kanye West and working on tracks for Drake, Madonna, and Rihanna to releasing his first solo album Rodeo in 2015, Scott has worked towards this moment in his career.  He not only created one the most complete album of the year he gave us the experience of a forgotten theme park. This experience includes merchandise, a tour which includes rides for lucky fans, and a festival in Houston on the old grounds of Six Flags Astroworld.

The Merchandise

Not only did Scott give us music, but he also gave us seven different collections of ASTROWORLD merchandise. Each purchase included a digital copy and pre-sale ticket access to Travis’ tour. By giving fans more than just an album in a purchase, Scott proved that it is still possible to sell albums in a day where streaming is the main way to consume music.

Other than clothing, Scott is rumored to have plans to release a new line of jewelry. According to reports, he filed a trademark for the use of “Astroworld” on “jewelry, clocks, watches, key chains, jewelry cases, and dog chains.”

Kylie Jenner also released a special Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit to be available for sale at his tour shows.

In closing, this album has had the most impact on the culture this past year. It’s completely unbelievable how an album can influence culture the way this project has. From the exclusive merchandise to reviving the former grounds of an amusement park, ASTROWORLD has done so much for Houston and hip-hop culture. No other project this year has had the effect this album has had. This is why this is my album of the year.