Travis Scott Shares How Astroworld Tragedy Impacted ‘Utopia’ Album

Travis Scott Shares How Astroworld Tragedy Impacted ‘Utopia’ Album

It’s been two years since tragedy struck a Travis Scott Astroworld Festival event in Houston, and the rapper is opening up about the devastating incident that took the lives of 10 concertgoers. Speaking with GQ for the outlet’s 28th annual Men of the Year issue, the 32-year-old rapper shares his state of mind in the aftermath of the tragedy and how it affected his recently released album, Utopia.

On Nov. 5, 2021, over 50,000 fans gathered to attend the Astroworld Festival in Houston. As Scott’s set began, a surge of attendees attempted to rush the stage, causing panic that resulted in horrific injuriesTen people were killed from what the medical examiner later determined was “compression asphyxia,” and the manner was all ruled an accident.

“I mean I was just overly devastated, you know. I always think about it. Those fans were like my family. You know, I love my fans to the utmost,” the father of two tells GQ. “You just feel for those people. And their families.”

Jack Bridgland/GQ

The day after the Astroworld tragedy, Scott spoke out on Twitter, writing in part, “I am absolutely devastated by what took place last night.”

“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life,” he continued. “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their support. Love you all.”

A month later, he spoke out for the first time and, in an hour-long interview, denied hearing any signs of distress from the crowd while he was performing.

“It’s so crazy because I’m that artist too. Anytime you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show. You want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need,” he said at the time. “Anytime I could see anything like that, I did. I stopped it a couple times to just make sure everybody was OK. And I really just go off the fans’ energy as a collective, call and response. I just didn’t hear that.”

Scott faced a number of civil lawsuits in the wake of the tragedy, though he’s settled several of those suits, and was later cleared from any criminal wrongdoing

The rapper confesses that some of his mindset in the aftermath of the tragedy is expressed in his fourth studio album, released in July. Scott began working on Utopia in 2019, and began the album rollout with the Nov. 5, 2021 release of singles, “Escape Plan” and “Mafia.” 

He explains that the releases were timed to coincide with the first night of the Astroworld festival in Houston, the festival’s third installment since 2018. It was meant to help usher in the new era of his music. 

But after the tragedy, the rapper virtually retreated from the public eye, only emerging for the odd public appearance and show.

Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Live Nation

“Making music, you think about things that go on in life and things that happen in your life, and you dial in on things,” he tells GQ. “That moment for families, for the city, you know, it was devastating. And when it came to making, like even finishing the album…I got back into it probably like, I don’t know, months and months and months after. And the idea of just even getting back into music, working on music and just even getting into that, was therapeutic of being able to channel some of the energy into production and sounds and finishing it.”

Utopia‘s tour is the first major event that Scott’s embarked on since the 2021 tragedy. Songs like “My Eyes” reference the devastating incident and offer insight into Scott’s mindset.

He raps, “I replay them nights, and right by my side, all I see is a sea of people that ride wit’ me. / If they just knew what Scotty would do to jump off the stage and save him a child.”

Scott tells GQ, “It just came out when I was writing. Like I said, it was a real moment. The song is emotional to me. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. And that verse means a lot to me.”

He shares that he wants fans to understand that he relates to their pain and concerns as much as the next person. “I have concerns, things that I think about, and the things I see on a day-to-day basis, I think about them,” he says. “And every day I want to find change in the things, to make things better, make myself better. It’s just like: I go through things like everyone else. And even recently through something like I never could imagine.”

Scott’s issue of GQ will hit newsstands on Nov. 28.


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