The thing about real Kanye fans is that we are early adopters. We are the type to be first in line for the first iPhone or first iPad. While the rest of the market waits for the lower priced knock offs. We appreciate innovation in both technology and music and that’s why we love Kanye so much.
Not only that but Kanye raps and produces. For some reason we love this because it shows he cares more and is actually talented. Though in recent years he’s taken on a more collaborative production role ala Dr. Dre – where you buy an upcoming producer’s beat, add some bells and whistles and claim you produced it. This is nothing new in hip hop, Diddy has been doing this for decades.
The thing is its shady. It doesn’t feel right. It’s like me buying a car and putting an air fresher on it and than slapping a YoRapper emblem on the hood and saying here’s the YoRapper car guys! Actually, this is kinda the way cars and most everything is made. It’s a collaborative effort with whoever is funding it taking the credit. It’s like Yahoo buying Tumblr or Facebook buying Instagram. It’s a part of business, but is it part of art?
Travis Scott has been marketing himself as “the producer/rapper” which many early adopter Kanye fans gravitate towards. He also plays up his associations with Kanye saying he “helped him” on every song.
You just have to listen to Owl Pharoah once to know Kanye either did not help this guy or if he did gave him the wrong advice. Kanye’s working on his own album and has a friggin’ baby due in a few weeks to the biggest reality star in the world. He has no time to help a guy that’s not even signed to his label as a rapper. He doesn’t even help out Big Sean or Cyhi the Prince, nor should he.
Secondly, I’m pretty sure Kanye would tell Travis to “Get off my dick, you sound like you’re doing a karaoke of me except you say nothing smart or interesting plus your production sounds like bootleg Watch The Throne. And for godsakes, why do you always jack the piano chord progression from the end of Niggas in Paris?”.
At least that’s what I think Kanye should say.
One of the standout cuts from Owl Pharaoh is “Upper Echelon” particularly because T.I. absolutely murders it, the beat sounds like Texas Chainsaw Massacre is happening in the trap and Travis does an amazing Future karaoke.
Even though Travis was underwhelming on the track, I still gave him credit for making a crazy beat.
But the thing is Travis Scott didn’t produce “Upper Echelon”. My friend actually told me some dude named J Gramm from Ottawa produced it. So I did some googling and found the Owl Pharoah wikipedia which surprisingly attributes most of the production to other producers and not Travis. In fact, J Gramm produced 4 songs.
Here’s who really produced Owl Pharaoh.
1. “Meadow Creek” (Produced by Travis Scott)
2. “Bad Mood Shit On You” (Produced by Emile, J Gramm Beats, Travis Scott (co.))
3. “Upper Echelon” (featuring T.I. & 2 Chainz) (Produced by J Gramm Beats, Travis Scott (co.), Anthony Kilhoffer (co.), Mike Dean (co.), Kanye West (add.))
4. “Chaz Interlude” (featuring Toro y Moi) (Produced by Toro Y Moi)
5. “Uptown” (featuring A$AP Ferg) (Produced by WondaGurl, Travis Scott (co.))
6. “Hell of a Night” (Produced by DJ Dahi, Rakhi, Rey Reel, Travis Scott (co.))
7. “Blocka La Flame” (Produced by Young Chop, Mike Dean (add.), Travis Scott (add.))
8. “Naked” (featuring Justin Vernon) (Produced by J Gramm Beats, Travis Scott (co.))
9. “Dance On The Moon” (featuring Theophilus London & Paul Wall) (Produced by J Gramm Beats, Travis Scott (co.))
10. “MIA” (Produced by Lex Luger, Travis Scott (co.))
11. “Drive” (featuring James Fauntleroy) (Produced by Travis Scott)
12. “Quintana” (featuring Wale) (Produced by Travis Scott, Sak Pase (co.), Anthony Kilhoffer (add.))
13. “Bandz” (featuring Meek Mill) (Produced by Travis Scott, Mike Dean (add.))
What the hell is going on here? If you’ve been following Travis, we know he presents himself as this great producer. However, we also know he has a history of jacking beats: remember that white guy, the one that does his eyebrows, who wrote that long ass tumblr on dude. When I first saw that story I thought it was just a bitter hanger-on, but now it seems to make sense.
I decided to get my investigative journalist on and contact some of the producers of Owl Pharaoh to first confirm they did in fact produce said beat, because you know how wikipedia can be.
I first hit up Wondagurl, who is like a 16 year old girl from Toronto, who produced “Uptown” -which if you haven’t heard is not a beat you’d expect a 16 year old girl from Canada to produce. It’s hard as friggin’ hell. Imagine Hellraiser coming at you in slow motion that is what it sounds like.
— WONDAGURL (@WondaGurlBeats) June 1, 2013
That was about the extent of it because I wasn’t going to grill a 16 year old girl who is probably incredibly humble and shy. But her vague response was telling.
The funny thing is Travis seems to take full credit for the beat. Here’s what was said in a recent XXL interview about “Uptown”.
“The track’s pothole-crackling bass and loopy backdrop might be the best display of La Flame’s true signature talent, which is his ability to produce really, really well.” – XXL
Ahhh maybe it should say, his “true signature talent is his ability to pick beats really, really well. And than take credit for producing them.”
I even reached out to the writer but he didn’t respond.
— yorapper (@yorapper) June 3, 2013
Next I hit up J Gramm. From looking at his youtube it appeared that he wanted to get the word out that he in fact produced “Upper Echelon” rather than just do one one of those remakes that up and coming producers tend to do. I checked out his twitter and it appeared he really did produce “Upper Echelon” as well as “Bad Mood/Shit on You”.
I was blown away.
This 19 year old white kid from Ottawa, Canada did that! This is the power of music. No matter where you’re from, if you got the goods, you can make it. I also tweeted this and he favorited it, so that should tell you something.
It seems like Travis Scott is not giving any credit to @jgrammbeats for producing Upper Echelon and a bunch of other songs. Hmmmmm.
— yorapper (@yorapper) June 3, 2013
While I did feel happy for all these producers for getting their shine, I felt it was unfair how Travis was portraying himself as the producer behind these beats. It was like Gucci Mane saying he produced his beats! I felt as though the curtain had been lifted on who I thought Travis Scott is: the real deal. Travis Scott is not the real deal. At best he’s a guy that can do a good Kanye impression. But he’s not the real thing. He’s the cheap imitations that come after an innovative product has proven itself. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The world needs Dynex tv’s. But as far as trying to market yourself to the early adopters, to the real Kanye fans, sorry bro we’re not buying it. We didn’t buy J.Cole. We’re not buying you.
Go fool the foolish.