Travis Scott’s Charlamagne Tha God Interview: Major Takeaways

Travis Scott’s Charlamagne Tha God Interview: Major Takeaways

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Whenever disaster or controversy strikes, you only have so long to respond before your silence gives way to speculation. For Travis Scott, his absence in the wake of the tragic events of Astroworld 2021 created a vacuum that has spawned everything from general disdain to far-fetched conspiracy theories. 

Flanked by over 250+ lawsuits that are rumoured to have a value of over $10 billion, his decision to maintain a low profile, including cancelling all scheduled shows, led many to wonder if Travis would resurface before 2021 was out.

Hot on the heels of the news that he’d hired high-powered attorney Daniel Petrocelli— whose previous clients include Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Manny Pacquaio– and would be issuing a “general denial” to all pending cases, Travis re-emerged from his self-imposed cocoon for a sitdown interview with Charlamagne Tha God.  

travis scott at astroworld 2021

Travis performing at Astroworld 2021 – Image via HNHH. Photo by @frankievergara_

Despite his history of rabble-rousing, Charlamagne has become a mediator between artists and the wider world in recent years. When Kanye was in a vastly different but no less precarious position as far as public opinion goes, Charlamagne made a trip to Calabasas for an in-depth conversation. Likewise, his one-on-one interviews with Schoolboy Q, Stormzy, and Pete Davidson shed new light on both their careers and personal lives.

But when Travis and the polarizing radio personality met up, there was only one topic that could ever take precedence. And from the moment that the interview hit the internet, every facet of it was already dividing opinion. 

If you don’t have 51 minutes to spare, here are the main takeaways, talking points, as well as some analysis from Travis’ first public appearance since the Astroworld Festival tragedy.


“An Emotional rollercoaster”

At the outset of the interview, Travislooked pensive and remained that way throughout. As for Charlamagne’s demeanor, there was none of the combativeness or crudeness that made his name. Throughout its entire duration, the mood is somber and, above all, controlled. 

When asked how he’s feeling, Travis tells Charlamagne that he’s still grappling with how the unique bond between him and his audience could’ve taken such a destructive turn. 

“It gets so hard because I always felt connected to my fans. I went through something and fans went through something and peoples’ parents went through something and it really hurts. A lot of thoughts, a lot of grieving. Just really trying to get my head around it. I wish I could be there. Talk to them, have conversations with them, hold them.”

“I’ve just been in the room for a while,” Scott said of his absence from public life. “Luckily, you have people around you who can bounce ideas, but I been doing this for such a long time and nothing like this has ever happened. At the end of the day, these fans are your family so you feel like you lost something. You do these shows for people to have the best experience.”

Although he was uncharacteristically reserved for much of the interview and treated Travis with kid gloves, Charlamagne’s one real probing remark came when he corrected the artist’s claim to have “been in the room” by citing his trip to the golf course with Michael Jordan and Mark Wahlberg. For the most part, Travis brushed it off, claiming that “It was just thanksgiving.”

The Tragedy 

After they’d steered clear of the details during their introductory remarks, Travis then began to tell his side of the story. Throughout the interview, he dispelled the idea that he had any knowledge of deaths in the crowd and maintained that he didn’t hear anyone screaming for help between songs. 

“I didn’t know the exact details until minutes before the press conference. Even at that moment you’re like what? People pass out, things happen at concerts. But something like that?”

On the subject of what he could see and hear, Travis insisted that from the artist’s perspective, you can only gauge what’s going on through communication.

“I really just go off the fans’ energy as a collective. Call and response. I just didn’t hear that. I got music, I got my in-ears. You can only help what you can see and whatever you’re told. Whenever people tell you to stop, you just stop.”

Accountability? 

In spite of many corners of both the media and social media imploring Travis to take some degree of responsibility for what happened, this wasn’t even a remote possibility.

In response to Charlamagne’s question about if he could’ve halted things, La Flame said that while Live Nation reportedly gave the go-ahead for the show to be stopped 40 minutes before it eventually wrapped up, Scott said that he was only informed that “when the guests [Drake] get off the stage, end the show.”

Elsewhere, he quickly shot down Charlamagne’s inquiry about whether the festival was too large by stating that there are “festivals that are way bigger.” However, it’s notable that neither Travis’ tweets that had pledged to “sneak the wild ones in” nor the scenes of fans storming the gates were brought into the discussion. 

drake travis scott astroworld 2021

Travis & Drake performing at Astroworld 2021 – Image via HNHH. Photo by @frankievergara_

Adamant that he did everything he “physically” could to help and that he wouldn’t “speak too soon” on who was responsible, Travis placed his focus on prevention of any similar catastrophes..

 “I have a responsibility to figure out what happened here. I have a responsibility to figure out the solution. Hopefully this is the first step in artists having more insights on what’s going on.”

Raging

Next up, Charlamagnee dismissed the idea that the tragedy was the byproduct of encouraging crowds to continually ramp up the craziness. 

“Yeah, nah. This is something I’ve been working on for a while, of just creating these experiences. As artists, we trust professionals, that things happen and people leave safely. This was just a regular show, as far as the energy. People didn’t show up to be harmful. Raging is just…. We’ve grown it to be the experience of having fun,” he continued. “It’s not about harm. It’s about helping others love each other. The show isn’t just rambunctious for an hour.”

While he did briefly press Travis to discuss the music’s capacity to whip audiences into a frenzy, Charlamagne didn’t reference the fans that clambered atop ambulances. In the same vein, none of Travis’ previous Instagram posts or comments that could be perceived as inciting chaos came up. 

The Warnings 

In recent weeks, those claiming that what happened at Astroworld was completely preventable have often cited police chief Troy Finner’s concern over the “energy” in the crowd as a sign of Travis and co’s negligence. But in Travis’ recollection, nothing of the sort took place. 

“He came to my trailer and congratulated me on the event. He let me know that there was a mishap at the merch booth earlier. They shut it down but they opened it back up and got it under control. He was gonna step out and let us know if we needed anything. He just wanted to know if we were doing anything outside of the itinerary.”

As for claims of poor planning and “understaffing” in terms of security, Scott stated that “as an artist, you just do the creative. This being my festival, I bring the artists, creatively produce it. We just trust the professionals to know that people are being taken care of and leaving safely.”

travis scott astroworld 2021

Travis performing at Astroworld 2021 – Image via HNHH. Photo by @frankievergara_ 

Addressing the Families

In the wake of several of the victims’ families rejecting his offer to pay for funeral costs, Travis was eager to stress that he still wants to lend a hand in any conceivable way.

“I’d say to them that I’m always there. I’m in this with you guys and I love you,” he declared. “It’s not just a right now thing, it’s a forever thing.”

Determined to let them know that “I’mma fix this for the future people” and “be the number one person for this,” Travis seemed contrite while addressing those who lost someone. But when Charlamagne enquired as to whether he’d be able to “live with himself” if he never received the forgiveness of the families, he was visibly flustered by the idea. 

“Nah, it’s tough. It’s real tough. I want them to really know my intentions… wasn’t to harm their family at all. It was for them to come and have a good experience.”

astroworld victims

A memorial outside of Astroworld – Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Technology 

Given his insistence that he’s taking the lead on averting tragedies in the future, it’s no surprise that Travis has been deliberating over what shape this could take. To his mind, the answer could lie in the assistance of silicon valley. 

“People come into these festivals with these bands that only scan you in. You have all type of tech now that can track your heart, track your oxygen levels, if you sick,” he explained. “You can put these things on now if you get lost. There’s all types of ways that the band that only give you access to entry to the line or to food trucks can save lives… I feel like there is a way. “

Satanic ritual rumours 

If you’ve been online recently, it’s likely that you’ve, either voluntarily or involuntarily, encountered the conspiracy theories which claim that Astroworld Festival 2021 was a “blood sacrifice.” When Charlamagne touched on it, Travis seemed actively perturbed by the fact that he even had to clarify that he was not in fact “demonic.”

“No. I mean, one, I’m a man of god. That’s the first thing. Your music is just self-expression… There’s misconceptions and taking things they’re seeing, all types of things.”

“I think it’s just things people collect,” Travis elaborated. “You have all these theorists… They are just making up their own message… It’s crazy. Evil is not what we’re a part of. We’re trying to be a part of joy. A part of light.”

Performing again

Despite everything that happened, Travis was most definitely talking about his music career in the present tense. When asked what precautions he would take to stop anything similar from ever happening again, Travis was, once again, vehement that he couldn’t have done anything differently. 

“I’ll do the same thing I’ve been doing. Making sure everybody’s on post. Just y’know, double down on making sure that everybody’s locked in… Try to have some sort of call & response with the fans while still being smooth with the performance. As at the end of the day, it is performance art.”

travis scott astroworld 2021

Travis performing at Astroworld 2021 – Image via HNHH. Photo by @frankievergara_

Conclusions 

If anything comes through loud and clear, it’s that “taking steps” to circumvent anything like Astroworld 2021 ever happening again is at the forefront of Travis’ mind. However, it’d be impossible not to take note of the fact that at no point in the interview’s entire 51 minute duration did anything resembling a full-out “sorry” or apology come from him. Whether it’s under the guidance of his lawyers or from his own personal perspective, Travis was evasive when it came to assigning responsibility for what happened. That said, it’s clear that he doesn’t believe that he shoulders it. 

Rightly or wrongly, this tact is not one that’s going to endear him to a general public that’s already vocalizing their distaste for how he’s handled the situation. And if you look at social media now, it’s evident that it has done little to nothing to stem the flow of animosity that’s come his way. 

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