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This or That? Travis Porter vs. Travis Scott

The strip club can be a seedy place. Creeps sit alone in corners, leering and often drooling. Women gyrate upon poles without uttering a word as dollar bills fly through the air and litter the ground. It’s an honest day’s work for some dirty money, work that is often a last resort for the women on stage. Might as well have some fun on the job.

Travis Porter helps. Ali and Quez are stepbrothers who met Strap in high school, and around 2006 they started having musical inclinations. Three years later they would drop their phenomenal debut mixtape ‘Who Is Travis Porter?’ and begin their ascent to popularity. Their music was of Soulja Boy’s ilk and they kept it superficial, but people loved it.

As time went on, they began tailoring their aesthetic for the club, surging forward with increasingly popular singles like ‘Ayy Ladies,’ ‘Bring It Back,’ ‘Make It Rain,’ ‘All The Way Turnt Up,’ and a whole host of others. They released a constant stream of mixtapes prior to their 2012 debut major label album, ‘From Day 1.’ Despite their massive popularity, the album sold poorly.

Houston’s own Travis Scott isn’t nearly as popular, but if he follows the path he’s set up for himself, he’ll have the chance to be. His music sounds like the devilish lovechild of Kanye West and Kid Cudi, mixed with the darkness of Three 6 Mafia. For now, he’s simply a sum of those parts – his raps are mediocre and his beats aren’t too memorable – although he did recently drop a song with Big Sean and indie rockers The 1975, ‘Don’t Play,’ that is some of his best material to date.

It all started when Scott released a song called “Lights (Love Sick)” while staying in Los Angeles. T.I. heard the song and asked Scott to come to the studio, where T.I. would end up spitting over ‘Animal,‘ another song by Scott. It was at that initial studio get together that Scott asked for the phone number of Kanye West’s engineer, Anthony Kilhoffer. He set up a meeting with Kilhoffer to play his music,   and the engineer was immediately enamored with Scott’s music, taking him under his wing and eventually introducing him to Kanye. That led to Scott having production credits on ‘Cruel Summer’ for songs like ‘To The World,’ ‘The Morning,’ and the remix to Chief Keef’s ‘Don’t Like.’

In early 2013, Scott released his ‘Owl Pharaoh’ mixtape, a project that had been reworked with help from Kanye, Kilhoffer, and Mike Dean. It featured artists like 2 Chainz, A$AP Ferg, Paul Wall, Wale, and Meek Mill while boasting production from the likes of Young Chop, Emile, Toro Y Moi, WondaGurl, Lex Luger, and DJ Dahi. It’s a huge sound that probably kills in an arena, and he’s in the best positions possible to become a star, but something his still off.

His sound seems a bit too unoriginal at this point in the game. On almost every single song of his, he sounds like he’s biting another artist – Future, Kanye, Chief Keef, Kid Cudi. His production is thrilling for it’s capacity to blow speakers out, but his rapping leaves much to be desired. Then again, his music might simply work best as a reflection of the shady side of the strip club. His music is less focused on lyrics than it is on shadows and neon colors.

Travis Porter, on the other hand, revels in the strip club atmosphere. During 2009 and 2010 they could barely miss, knocking out new club anthems with regularity. Their hooks were catchy and their beats were superb, informed by happiness rather than darkness. They practically transformed the strip club into a holy venue where curvaceous women are worshipped at the altar of Ciroc. They became pioneers of the strip club scene by embracing that context and understanding the strength of the club itself for the promotion of their music. In Atlanta, it’s probably a better arbiter of popular songs than the radio is by now.

So you have a choice. If you’ve been popping prescription pills and feel a little emo, Travis Scott’s abrasive beats might be for you. If, however, you seek the purest turn up, then play some Travis Porter before you go out tonight. Ladies love their lighthearted music and it’s guaranteed to get any party rocking. Most importantly, Travis Porter will be remembered in history as trailblazers. Unless Travis Scott can come up with a more unique approach, he might just be penciled into the margins of time as an offshoot.

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