Travis Scott has released his third studio album Astroworld. The album is a star-studded event, with guest features from Frank Ocean, Drake, Pharrell Williams, and Migos among many others.
Beyond the impressive guest list, however, the album is a personal one for Scott, with references to his childhood and personal life littered throughout. The most obvious of these references is the title Astroworld.
Astroworld was a seasonally operated theme park outside of Houston, Texas. The park was founded by the local philanthropist and former Houston mayor Roy Hofheinz in 1968, but he sold it to the Six Flags Corporation in 1975. While it was technically rebranded as “AstroWorld: A Member of the Six Flags Family,” most Houston simply patrons referred to it as AstroWorld for the duration of its existence. The park closed its doors on October 30, 2005.
Scott, who was born Jacques Berman Webster II in 1992, frequented AstroWorld as a child. The rapper/producer reflected on the amusement park, and the attachment he had to it while he was growing up with Hypebeast. “ They tore down ‘AstroWorld’ to build more apartment space,” he explained. “That’s what it’s going to sound like, like taking an amusement park away from kids. We want it back. We want the building back. That’s why I’m doing it. It took the fun out of the city.”
In a 2017 interview with XXL Magazine, Scott said that the park closing was a wake up call to pursue a music career. “They took AstroWorld away from us in Houston,” he said. “Someone said they took it away to make the rodeo bigger.” When asked what he did for fun when the park closed, Scott replied: “I started making music.”
The correlation between the rodeo and AstroWorld, both literally and symbolically, has influenced Scott’s music. He named his 2015 debut after the former, and told Beats 1 Radio that the new album would serve as a continuation of its topics and themes.
“Astroworld’s been set in stone since Rodeo,” he said. “My whole idea was if you locked in to Rodeo, you definitely locked into Astroworld. I’m just finishing the saga I started on my first album. This is supposed to be my second album. I had to go quick, because like I said, I had all these ideas, I just had to get off real quick, but now I’m finally back home with Astroworld.”
The songs “Carousel” and “Astrothunder” are direct references to AstroWorld roller coasters like the Dentzel Carousel and the Astrowheel.