With the release of Astroworld, his followup to 2016’s Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight, Travis Scott has put an end to two years of speculation about the album. However, in typical Travis fashion, he’s left an element of mystery hanging over it, as its listings on streaming services and on the tracklist he posted online keep the features a tantalizing secret.
Of course, it wasn’t long before listeners could figure out for themselves, and social media has been abuzz with the delighted discoveries of both casual fans and hardcore “Ragers” alike. While some of the features were hinted at ahead of the album, like the appearance of GOOD Music rookie Sheck Wes and Toronto MC/producer Nav, others like Frank Ocean and James Blake have come as utter shockers. One, Stevie Wonder, is not only unexpected, but truly special as Stevie’s only ever made one other special guest appearance like this for a rapper — Stevie appeared in his harmonica-playing mode on Drake‘s 2011 album Take Care on the song “Doing It Wrong” (which was later sampled on Drake’s More Life “Jorja Interlude”). Ironically, Drake also makes an “uncredited appearance on Astroworld, bringing that particular chain of coincidence full circle and fully establishing Travis Scott as one of rap’s upper echelon artists.
Below is a breakdown of the features that popped up on Astroworld to play musical foils to the chameleonic Travis.
“Carousel” Feat. Frank Ocean
The first big surprise on the album, “Carousel” features an unexpected appearance from the elusive singer, who drops in to deliver a typically melodic chorus highlighted by atypical boastfulness from Frank, as he brags of having “blue bands” on hand and getting his “cash from drive thru.”
“Sicko Mode” Feat. Drake
“Sicko Mode” does a few interesting things, engaging Travis’ penchant for switching up beats and subjects mid-song. This one chops the end off Drake’s first verse seemingly midway through for a beat switch that gives Travis a chance to flex, but then the beat swaps out yet again, bringing Drake another opportunity to swagger over a percussive beat reminiscent of the one he killed on Blocboy JB’s “Look Alive.”