The Underground Spotlight: Chris Travis
Monthly Listeners: 301,977 (October 2019)
Associated Acts: Bones, Xavier Wulf, Black Smurf
My Favorite Projects: Teenage Freak Show or Pizza and Codeine
My Favorite Tracks: "Crunch Time", "We Up", "She Wanna Smoke", "Why So Serious?", and "Full Bread Ape".
Another week, another disappointment. I think I’m just going to stop doing this recap thing to stop myself from crying to sleep every night. I know I’m being a bitch about this, but it just felt really good to see artists promoting my stuff. Oh well. Maybe this week? Once again, I would like to thank everyone who is still tuning in. Sorry I haven’t been getting to post every Tuesday, midterms have been destroying my will to live. Next week, I will have one on Tuesday and that’s not a cap.
Anyways, let’s move on to week five!
On today’s Spotlight, I have chosen the riveting trap artist Chris Travis. Chris Travis is a Memphis rapper who has been making music since 2011. He was in SpaceGhostPurpp’s Raider Klan from 2011-2013 and is now currently a member of Seshollowaterboyz which includes rappers Xavier Wulf and Eddy Baker. He started to create a cult following after the drop of his debut album Pizza and Codeine, which encapsulates the raw Memphis sound that dominates much of today's trap music. After that album, he has dropped tape-after-tape featuring banger-after-banger. He is known for his fantastic music video of his song “Crunch Time” that has over 13 million views on YouTube. He is also known for his collaborations with Bones and Xavier Wulf.
I have known about Chris for a while now, but I never really made a deep dive until my two friends (both die-hard Chris Travis fans) told me to write an article about him. I decided that I would embark on a deeper listen. I checked him out and was honestly blown away. He is hard, intense, and raw. Most of the instrumentals on his albums are dominated by sporadic piano chords. His piano chords are very sharp, jagged, and harsh; it stuns me every time I am listening. The piano can either be mixed really high and dominate the track, or be not mixed at all and provide a nice under-layer to the track. The instrumentals are heavily bass boosted and make his songs explode. I really love to see the different instruments collide with each other to create a sinister mood for the listener. His most famous song, “Crunch Time”, really adopts that Memphis style and proves why he has been growing so much over the years. As he does exemplify a distinct style, a lot of his songs are very Xavier Wulf-esque. He has a delayed flow that coincides with his instrumentals very felicitously. It sometimes sounds as if he is taking breaths in between each bar while rapping. These “breaths” really emphasize the build up of the song and make the bass drop ten times harder.
As his music did start off with more of a raw trap sound, I have seen Chris move into more of a mainstream direction. Recently, he has done songs where you can hear his singing voice come into play. Background vocals and pop-influenced beats are being more heavily utilized on his newer tracks. You can really see it in the song “Relapse” off his most recent album, Teenage Freak Show, where he marinates the listener with his crisp, smooth voice that follows a sweet piano sequence. As some listeners may not like that side of Travis, it really shows his versatility and proves that he isn't as one-dimensional as we once thought. He is really trying to evolve from his grimy flow into a completely different direction.
Lyrically, I would describe Chris Travis as barbaric. He does not hold back when approaching a song. His instrumentals really reflect the style of music he is putting out, and further enhance his brute style. His lyrics are very egotistical, but explain his excellency nonetheless. Lyrics like, “Why you sippin' so much? Cause I’m Chris Travis, bitch” or “Say goodbye to your lil' wifey” really possess his dominant persona and help show why he deserves to be at the top of the rap game. He simply believes that he is the best and no one can take that away from him. His mindset propels him to make more creative, hard, and distinct tracks that will leave you blown away.
Over time, Chris Travis has really evolved as a rapper. From the raw, fierce album Pizza and Codeine to the fluid, intense Teenage Freakshow, you can see that every aspect of his musical ability has upgraded; while keeping that distinct Memphis sound. His production value has increased as well as his style behind the mic. If we continue to see this evolution, the sky's the limit for Travis. If you enjoy rappers like Xavier Wulf or $uicideboy$, you will really enjoy Chris Travis’s music. He truly is an exquisite and overlooked rapper. He is dropping a "Tape of Terror" this Halloween and I totally recommend you guys to listen to it.
I really think y’all should give him a listen and experiment with his music.
Well, that’s all I got.
Peace!! - Marty