Sun and moon. Yin and Yang. East and West. Socrates and Plato. Kid Cudi and Travis Scott. From the start, the latter’s career has been inextricably tied to the former. Lore has it that the “Scott” in Travis Scott was inspired by Cudi’s real name, Scott Mescudi. Over the years, Travis has gone to great lengths to detail his admiration for the man he’s molded much of his musical legacy after.
“In my whole career, all I wanted was acceptance from Kid Cudi,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. “I don’t care about nothing else! This dude saved my life. He kept me from doing a lot of fucked up shit to myself, kept me on the right path. That’s why I make music, that’s why I go hard for the fans.”
“The Scotts” isn’t the duos first collaboration, but it’s easily the one that arrived with the most fanfare. Hours before its release, the track was teased during Scott’s chaotic takeover of Fortnite. Produced by Take A Daytrip, Dot Da Genius, and Plain Pat with co-production from Travis and Mike Dean, “The Scotts” feels like a symbolic passing of the torch. Instead of Travis paying homage to a Cudi song of yore (e.g. 2016’s “Through The Late Night”), the equation is flipped: Here, Cudi follows in his disciple’s sonic steps.
Woozy and sinister, yet vapid, the results are mixed. Travis built an empire on expertly curating aesthetics and mood at the expense of everything else. In contrast, Cudi’s continued presence as a cult figure is rooted in his cutting and brutally emotional lyrics. That quality is non-existent on “The Scotts.” “We see the hype outside, right from the house/Took it straight from outside, straight to the couch,” Travis sings. The words and rhymes are familiar, likely because they sound exactly like a dozen Travis lines he’s delivered before. A verse later, Cudi informs listeners that the cops are outside. It’s supposed to signal anarchy, but, sadly, that moment never comes.