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Travis Scott And Drake Head To 'Sicko Mode' Houston, Where It's Always Nighttime

Video director Dave Meyers has long been synonymous with hip-hop's most mind-bending visuals. He made Kendrick Lamar the pope of egomania in "HUMBLE.," Missy Elliott the star in a house of hip-hop horrors for "Get Ur Freak On" and transported OutKast to a housing project with purple grass in "Bombs Over Baghdad."

Now he's applied his kaledoscopic lens to the theme-park psychedelia of Travis Scott's Astroworld.The result is a multi-dimensional landscape full of special effects totally befitting the second single, "Sicko Mode" ft. Drake. It's a perfect match for a platinum song that shifts sonically from gothic organs to sludgy bass back to bouncy BPMs over the course of five minutes.

The thematic video finds Scott and Drake inhabiting an alternate universe known as Houston, Tex., powered by a solar eclipse that provides a surreal setting for all sorts of illicit behavior, doubling as a huge tribute to Scott's hometown. Scott stands in a crowd, later joined by Drake, outside Screwed Up Records & Tapes, where Houston hip-hop icon DJ Screw's mixtape legend lives on. There are plenty of visual easter eggs, (like the animated grafitti image of Screwed Up Click veteran Big Hawk), but nobody reps Astroworld like the Canadian homie Drake, who makes himself at home in his adopted Southern outpost while swangin' and bangin' in the backseat of a chauffeured Caddy. It's a good look.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rodney Carmichael
Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer. An Atlanta-bred cultural critic, he documented the city's rise as rap's capital outpost for a decade while serving as music editor, staff culture writer and senior writer for the alt-weekly Creative Loafing. During his tenure there, he won awards for column writing, longform storytelling, editing and reporting on cultural issues ranging from gender to economic inequality. He also conceptualized and co-wrote "Straight Outta Stankonia"—an exhaustive look at Atlanta's gentrifying cultural landscape through the lens of OutKast—which was voted as one of the Atlanta Press Club's Top 10 Favorite Stories of the Past 50 Years.