Hip-hop artist Travis M. blends modern-day and nostalgic rap all in one with his recent album 'The Misunderstood.' Always having a deep passion for music and poetry, Travis M. went from Houston TX to Grambling LA for college, all of which helped him hone in his skills. After opening for Young Thug and Tory Lanez, Travis M. went one step further and created an incredibly original and motivational album being 'The Misunderstood.' Travis M. takes us through the highs and lows of life while bringing all sorts of atmospheres that each speak their truth.
Giving the album a fun and fresh feel with the intro track "First Dream," Travis M.'s melodic flow already stands out as a force on the album. He brings forward incredibly honest lyricism by allowing us to take a walk in his shoes while acknowledging the long hours Travis M. worked to make his dreams a reality. Spitting overtop a blissful mid-tempo beat with haunting flutes and subtle vital melodies. The overall production brings a celestial atmosphere. In contrast, Travis M.'s lyrics and message of "no pain, no gain" brings us right back down to earth.
Moving towards the dark and sultry track "Know Time (feat. S.O.U.L.A.S.P.H.E.R.E)", what grabs our attention is the modern take towards psychedelic synths and hip-hop beats. Through bright, jazzy keys and a rhythmic and steady synth, the track brings a human touch when Travis M. begins rapping with all his heart about a troubled relationship and not letting it get in the way of his goals and sanity. S.O.U.L.A.S.P.H.E.R.E's vocals make an angelic appearance giving the track that back and forth dynamic and adding a heavenly female flair.
With the third track "Goin Up (feat. Nikia Jnae)", the beat brings us right back to Kendrick Lamar's 2012 "good kid, m.A.A.d city" through its vibrant production and Nikia Jnae's added harmonies with nothing but soul. She brings a verse full of independence and self-worth, while Travis M. brings his low octave flow and raps a similar message of moving on to better things and sharing his success with those who genuinely deserve it. The beat brings energy and warmth throughout this inspiring track and doesn't fail to let us see our inner worth.
Taking the vibes to a mellow jazz/R&B atmosphere with "Nothing Knew (feat. Nfinite)", the beat brings heavy aspects of the soul through a slow and groovy bassline, light percussion elements and jazzy keys. Nfinite takes on the majority of this track with his tender vocals and flows surrounding themes of appreciation for those who are like-minded and work just as hard to get from nowhere to somewhere. Travis M. begins rapping about retraining his mentality from moping in his pain to fuel his passion once again. It gives us a truthful and incredibly real concept that we're able to think over well after listening.
Bringing back a modern atmosphere with "Wav W / Us (feat. Dende)", Dende opens up the track bringing forward similar mesmerizing vocals to Khalid and his broad range. Beautifully layering his vocals with Travis M. at the hook, the two offer deep emotions through their pure-hearted approach to singing what they feel. Dende takes his textured flow to remind us that it's not okay to hang around someone just for their clout when they're the ones who did all the dirty work. Travis M. raps about working toward his vision and providing for his loved ones, giving us an even more in-depth look into his enormous progress leading Travis M. to where he is today.
Getting in our feelings with "Mood (feat. Mira)", the beat begins with filtered piano and drops into a heavy R&B beat full of soul. Travis M. goes more in-depth than rap with this track; his bars bring the vast imagery that poetry provides with an incredibly honest approach. They are bringing forward themes of longing for someone and them being his favorite distraction. Mira's vocals bring in the purest vocals from R&B/soul's prime and effortlessly vocalizes her in-depth passion meeting Travis M.'s. They both provide the deep thoughts of needing clarity to move forward and know that you're on the right path.
Opening with ambient jazz piano and a ringing phone, the message within "Vinny's Message (feat. Vintage IV)" stands loud and clear. Almost acting as an interlude, this minute-long track consists of Vintage IV's voicemail message to Travis M. She lets him know how much she appreciates his work and his ability to allow creators to speak on their own platform. We're truly on the same page with Vintage IV, as Travis M. has done nothing but move us and our hearts.
Taking a deeper lean into nostalgic old school rap with "Laid Off," we can sense that Travis M. incorporated this type of beat only to allow his message to stand as timeless as old school rap. The mid-tempo beat brings jazzy elements with a filtered electric guitar while giving it that nostalgic kick and rhythm. Travis M. takes this minute long track and wastes no time to let us know that he's worked too hard to let the negativity get to him.
With the next track "Neo," the beat brings in similarities to Travis Scott's "Days Before Rodeo" through growling bass lines and high energy synths. Travis M. brings a darker tone and atmosphere to this track, as he channels his deep and serious vocals to let his confidence shine right through. Letting us know that he stops at nothing until he achieves his goals, Travis M. is never ashamed of his actions as he's nothing but sure of himself.
With a different kind of beat on "What It Do," bringing in a variety of string patterns similar to those of the renaissance era, once again emphasizing that his messages remain timeless. Travis M. raps with authority on this track and speaks again on how he's incredibly sure of himself and doesn't need to explain himself to people who won't understand. Highlighting on this track how Travis M. is able to go from quick yet precise rapping to a whole different tone, it's evident that he's strived to let his truth flourish.
With another old school inspired beat, "Xplaining Nature" begins with a quote of simply overcomplicating things by explaining. The beat brings abundant energy through a brass-type beat with nostalgic drum patterns. Travis M. brings his greatness to the stage and ironically doesn't overcomplicate things as he's carefully planned his path and proceeds with creativity. He raps of situations where it's hard not to explain things, and sometimes it's the only way out.
With mellow electric guitar and ambient synth patterns, "Can You (feat. Kiana Denae)" finds a whole new meaning of introspective rap. While the beat remains steady and at a mid-tempo pace, Travis M. brings forward a very inspiring piece through his motivational bars of finding forgiveness within yourself in order to successfully heal and move forward to greatness. Kiana Danae adds her brilliant vocals with passion as she sings similar lyrics toward healing and letting time do its trick.
Taking another celestial turn with "V," the intro's production and the variety of synths bring us out of reality and into our own world. Travis M. brings his entire heart and conscience with this song, as he raps about acknowledging someone's pain and growth from afar and being regretful towards leaving the situation to play out how it did. The down-tempo production emphasizes the apologetic love song that Travis M. set to portray.
Another sincere and heartfelt piano intro with "Dust in the Wind (feat. Soular Sounds)" shows that the second half of the album indeed consists of heavier concepts that boggle Travis M.'s mind. This track takes on a very tragic story of taking advantage of someone and enduring trauma only to try and move forward to a brighter day. Soular Sounds emphasizes some of Travis M.'s lyrics by layering her angelic vocals overtop, giving us all sorts of emotion.
Making our way to the final track of the album with "In Return," we're yet again met with another introspective and textured song. The production maintains its steady beat and haunting background vocals, which allow Travis M. to run with his cerebral flow. He ends off the album by giving a bounty of advice to listeners who want to achieve real success. He blasts through with the main message of always staying true to yourself and not giving in to society's robotic ways. Bringing in an excellent piece from top to bottom of 'The Misunderstood' album, Travis M. genuinely brings concepts to the table that we're left contemplating hours later.
Discover Travis M. EP 'The Misunderstood' here.
Hey Travis M., welcome to BuzzMusic! Through each individual track within your album 'The Misunderstood', you provide a concept that we’re easily able to takeaway. Does the overall album have a concept, or instead of a variety of different messages
The Misunderstood is an Epic Tale of How Being Yourself Can Save The Day. Though each track can be seen as its own piece of work, the tracks tie in together more like the chapters to a novel. While the story is autobiographical, the purpose of it is to use my truth to inspire others to live theirs. With themes of perseverance, faith, and unrequited love, the album is about how one's own individuality can lead to their salvation. Misfits are made to stand out.
(Note: The album title is also an entendre played off of my name. I introduce myself as Travis, The M.is.Understood.)
Through many different tracks within the album 'The Misunderstood,' Travis M. mentions your producer Koala Khool and his talent. Did Koala Khool produce all the tracks on the project? What did he bring to the table?
Koala Khool produced 12/15 tracks and engineered the entire project from recording to mixing and mastering. All except for Nothing Knew, Neo and What It Do.
Speaking on the entirety of 'The Misunderstood' album, Travis M. speaks on many different introspective and heartfelt messages. Which track was the most difficult to create in terms of being vulnerable and exposing your emotions?
The most vulnerable track is V, track 13. V was made for one of my younger sisters who went through a mental health crisis in which she ended up hospitalized. When I got the message about her from a family member I was completely shocked, since she had texted the family group chat just a few days prior. It was especially hard for me as a big brother because I felt like, in this particular instance, that I did not call my sister in a time that she could've needed me most and now we were in a position where I couldn't even call her to find out what happened.
Speaking on one track in particular, “Vinny’s Message (feat. Vincent IV)”, Vincent IV speaks on how much she appreciates your work and how you allow other creators to speak on their own truthful platform. Could Travis M. elaborate on how you went about making this kind of impact?
"Vintage V" is her name. The answer to that question is definitely an underlying theme of the album as well, but to answer it in two words-- Soular Sounds. Soular Sounds LLC is a production company founded by myself, Nfinite (producer of Nothing Knew, and Cover Art Designer) and Koala Khool. Soular Sounds is a platform we created to offer independent artists opportunities and resources that can help them as they grow in their craft. We book our own concerts, produce music, create graphics, and shoot visuals with the artists in our city and even in other states. Vintage V is a beloved colleague who lives in Atlanta, GA.
What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020?
Before the end of 2020 you can expect more visuals from the album, a return of "The MisUnderstood" vlog series on YouTube, and an EP to acknowledge my Day 1 Misfits, who were rocking with me since my GSU days.