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Sauntering in off the popularity of his hit single “Oh Lord” and the ChemiSTry mixtape collaboration with Skully, Travis Bowe seeks to 2-peat Summer 2015 with his sophomore mixtape, $tandOut Guy$. Travis causally dropped $tandout Guy$ on his birthday, May 6th, and it seemed as though we would be privy to a more confident and mature Travis Bowe than on ChemiSTry. With the release of the mixtape I decided to give it a listen, just to see if his boys were lotioning him or telling the truth as to whether or not it went hard. My question was: Will $tandOut Guy$ prove that Travis Bowe has what it takes to move past being the fad everyone loved in 2014.
$tandOut Guys$ opens with the intro titled “Blunt Full of Sorrows” that somewhat prepares you for what is to come, without really preparing you at all, as I was to learn later! The chanting in the intro seems ominous in some respect, climaxing at the 30 second mark, with the command “Stay Down!” Travis then gets real with his audience in a rap featuring a grand piano interlude in the background. Travis ends the track declaring “You could wake me (tomorrow) / with a cup of reality/ and a blunt full of sorrows”.
With that, it was time to get into the meat of $tandOut Guy$.
1. Potential Club Banger
Fire and Flood – the instrumental of this track was fire on its own (word to producer Rvmbeaux). The bass line and keyboard chords on the track set the mood and added to the hype lyrics Travis spits on the track. Lyrically on this track, Travis proved that his skill can meet main-stream rappers, and listening to this track reminded me of Big Sean’s flow. With gems including “Turning verse into songs and songs into shows… Oh Lord, that’s Travis Bowe” and the final hook, “Man I gotta stack s**t up!” the track is hype and I can see it being played in the club with ease this summer.
2. Dark Room With your Woes Tracks
Top Contender: No Tomorrow: The haunting instrumental on this track feels like you should be in a dark room with something to drink and vibe out while you listen to it! The track is bold in a subtle way, and it is easy to vibe to this track. As an added bonus, Travis gives a shoutout to Bahari on the track, a brand from his native Bahamaland. Generally this track is smooth without the simp factor, and an element of gangster that crosses all classes.
Hope I Get to Heaven: This track did have some partial Trap and Cooking properties, but the lyrics caused me to place them in this category. Travis spits lyrics that are relatable, and as the name of the track suggests he raps that he hopes that he gets to heaven. There is some heaviness on the track, and you can almost feel a slight burden as you listen to the track due to the content. The rap flows with a “Swag and surfin” movement, with lyrics that are easy to follow. Hey, if they love Wayne like they love satan, they need Trav like they need Jesus. (His words partially, not mine.)
Lost in The Night – A track featuring a collab with rapper Skully, Travis creates a track for all the #hurt dudes who have experienced relationship pain at some point. If you are going through a breakup, play this and X. Lines including “So now when I think / I’m so glad that you’re gone”, “Now I gotta stay high / from my pain I hide” and “but you always say baby this the last time” ,“I thought shorty was the truth” it was apparent that the inspiration for this track was just bad news. I can see young woes everywhere blasting this after a breakup. The chord progression on this track was hot, and the bass again brought the feeling of the song out.
3. Feel Good Tracks
If It’s Cool – When this track started I expected to hear someone whisper “Get up, get up, get up, wake up, wake up” circa le 1970s and 1980s Golden Oldies. The use of simple snare and congo sounding drums, mixed with keyboard and easy listening bass guitar on this track make it cool and relaxing to listen to. Reminiscent of Early 2000s RnB tracks, Travis mixes his lyrical flow with a deep and rich hook provided by the talented Grier Munro, as her voice adds a soulful flavor to the track.
The track screws and fades out at around the 2:30 mark, and slides back in with a 90s twist featuring a remixed Biggie sample from Juicy, (original sample of Mtume’s JuicyFruit) replacing champagne with something Travis and his fans may be more familiar with, codeine, which makes this track a third generation success. I think the execution of the mix was performed successfully, though in my personal opinion it could have been a bit tighter, (sort of like the mix in “Who Gon Stop Me” on the Watch the Throne album, where the switch was made with the left hand while Jay and Kanye lyrically distracted with the right). This is minor and I can truly say I enjoyed listening to this track.
’83 Balcony Music is another feel good track, with samples from the King of Pop, Mr. Michael Jackson. Travis’ voice at the beginning of the track feels like when you are by yourself in your room, and singing along with your headphones. The simple guitar accompaniment starts the track off, with a melodious voice, namely J.me, who reminded me of Jhene Aiko with a lighter touch when I first heard it (J.me where you from cause I detected an accent lol). The track is easy to listen to and the simplicity of the piano without heavy bass and boom as the track progressed was an excellent choice. You can feel the development of the track as you listen, which was a little exciting for me. This track required dissection, which is always good when it comes to production work.
4. Oh Lord’s Baby
My Own is what I have personally crowned as the second generation “Oh Lord” featuring a similar flow, and a similar track instrumentally. The use of the keyboard and repetition of “My Own” feels real from Mr. Bowe, as if you can hear some of the pain and determination in his voice as he raps. Lyrically the track is effective, with gems including “Know that my time/strength/patience/love is my own”, and “Talk and you talk, but you cannot relate”. The track is short and straight to the point.
5. Trap and Cooking
Groovin is the track I envision the video would be shot in a project with cars on 25 inch rims, some kids, and dudes playing dice. Real trap ish! The hook is simple and mimics the styles of Migos or Chief Keef in terms of the repetition of one line. With the bass in place, I’m sure you can cook to this track, but you would end up making some collard greens and chicken cutlets. You’ve been warned!
Stunna is another cooking track, starting off with the clapping sounds that encourage the shaking of one’s ass (females only please). With a hard keyboard and bass line, the track feels like Travis provides the proverbial pounding on his chest if you will. Lyrically this is the alpha male version of “Feelin Myself” with lines like “Walk through the mall/ they say Trav boy we love you/ your representation amazing” and “I guess I hurt a little cause they gotta hear me now” declaring “I’m a stunna n**a” I envision young men playing this track before they head to a social event, with their boys. (Or whatever you men do before you head out).
6. None of the Above
X lyrically was interesting to say the least, and seemed to be a message as opposed to a track. Once I listened to it, I felt that it was penned to an ex-girlfriend, whether an ex of Travis’ or perhaps on behalf of one of his boys. The lyrics were harsh, with a punch in each line, so sorry hun if it’s for you! The track did not fit any of the categories, and reminded me of a PND track with the flow and instrumental initially, ending on a higher note.
That Ni**a - Travis raps about the (n**a) man that he will be in the future. The life that he envisions he will live and who he will be. He gives a shoutout to his engineer, and again the bass line of the track goes hard.
As a unit, the production of the mixtape shows lyrical growth from Bowe, and the choice of percussion and instruments for each track were well prepared, thanks to the work of engineer Rvmbeaux (pronounced Rambo). With this tape, Travis Bowe provides a genuine feel on the majority of the tracks and you can tell that he plans to stay around for as long as possible. Overall I think that $tandOut Guy$ is an adequate successor to his collab on ChemiSTry, and as his style and skill develop, I anticipate we can expect bigger and better things from Travis Bowe in the near future.