Travis Scott’s “SICKO MODE” Song Review

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and let’s talk about Drake…again.  It’s not just Drake this time around, though, because he’s actually a feature on a Travis Scott song (and while this track has been out for a while, it’s still dominant on the Billboard charts, so I’m still writing this review).

Drake has been quite a hit-or-miss artist on this site.  I absolutely loathed his big hit song “God’s Plan” for being a mess of hip-hop stereotypes over a poorly mixed beat.  Later, however, I praised his song “Nice For What” for its stellar use of its Lauryn Hill sample and great subject matter.  Then, his album “Scorpion” came out and…boy, that was bad.  I might have been a tad too harsh on it at the time (I’d probably raise the score half of a point if I made the review now), but it was still an overly-long escapade of Drake seeing how many radio-ready hits he could crank out in ninety minutes.  So, when it comes to Drake, his material can land on either side of the fence for me.

Travis Scott, on the other hand, is an artist I have strong feelings of adoration for.  He’s the only rapper featured on my first and second best trap bangers lists, so that should show you how much I love him.  At his best, Travis can make an accessible trap track for the mainstream that has sounds and elements of experimentation that can also be appreciated by hardcore music enthusiasts.  Some of his work is genius, and even while he is super popular with the young crowd, I think he is somewhat underrated in the entire music scene as a whole, as he’s basically a rockstar on and off the stage.

Really, it was no surprise that a Travis Scott and Drake collaboration would become this big, but I have been listening to “SICKO MODE” for quite some time, so I truly think I’ve grasped my full thoughts on the song.  And, now that I have basically hyperlinked half of my back-catalog in the course of three paragraphs, it’s time to dive into the lyrical analysis.

Sun is down, freezin’ cold
That’s how we already know, winter’s here

Drake starts off the track by setting up a cold and dark atmosphere, complimenting the ominous synth chords quite nicely.

My dawg would probably do it for a Louis belt
That’s just all he know, he don’t know nothin’ else
I tried to show ’em

It’s not really specified what Drake’s “dawg” is doing in this context, but by the preceding lines, I’m guessing it’s something darkly illegal, and Drake is trying to talk his friend out of his hedonistic tendencies, but it’s to no avail.  I like this very brooding, vague ambiance that’s being presented right now.

Goin’ on you with the pick and roll
Young La Flame, he in sicko mode

I’m not very in tune with the sports reference there, but I’m really digging this beat so far.  I hope it continues throughout the song.

[Part II]

Wait, there’s a part two?  And it has a beat change?  Way to bring my hopes up there, Travis.  Luckily, the second beat on here is pretty good, as well (though I’d still like to hear more on that first beat), so let’s check out Travis’s first verse.

Woo, made this here with all the ice on in the booth
At the gate outside, when they pull up, they get me loose

Okay, just some flexing.

Yeah, Jump Out boys, that’s Nike boys, hoppin’ out coupes
This sh*t way too big when we pull up give me the loot
(Gimme the loot!)

The pun on The Notorious B.I.G. here is nice, using “way too big” as a leeway into a reference to one of his songs, “Gimme the loot”, which is aptly sampled right after the line.

Was off the Remy, had a Papoose

I like this wordplay, too, as the Remy is a reference to alcohol, but also to famous rapper Remy Ma, who is married to fellow rapper Papoose, which I think means child?  I don’t know, maybe this one of those lines that gets more confusing the more you look into it.

I just landed in, Chase B mix this pop like Jamba Juice

Jamba Juice?  Is that still popular?  Maybe it’s just not prominent in my area, but I haven’t heard anyone talk about Jamba Juice is a long time.  This feels like a dated reference.

And they chokin’, man, know the crackers wish it was a noose

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  What’s with the name-calling here?  And who is wishing you to be in a noose?  You’re one of the biggest rappers on the planet right now.  I’ve never heard any white person say they wanted to kill you.

Some-Some-Some-Someone said
To win the retreat, we all in too deep
Pl-Pl-Playin’ for keeps, don’t play us for weak (Someone said)
To win the retreat, we all in too deep
Pl-Pl-Playin’ for keeps, don’t play us for weak

Luckily, the chorus comes in after that oddly racially-charged lyric to settle things down.  This loops the song back into the title, as these lines refer to how hard his work ethic is and how he shouldn’t be seen as weak because of it.

Yeah, this sh*t way too formal, y’all know I don’t follow suit
Stacey Dash, most of these girls ain’t got a clue

Two clever punchlines back-to-back.  Good job, Travis!

All of these h*es I made off records I produced
I might take all my exes and put ’em all in a group

The first line refers to Travis being so popular that any girl he talks about becomes famous, but why is he putting them in a group?  Maybe to say that he’s done with them?  The song doesn’t really say.

She said, “Where we goin’?” I said, “The moon”
We ain’t even make it to the room
She thought it was the ocean, it’s just the pool

I like these few lyrics a lot.  There isn’t really anything too special about them, but the setup to the last line is executed well, and the fact that someone can mistake a pool for an ocean is funny in my opinion.

Well, the chorus comes back in, and then the beat slows down to show that the song is coming to a close, so I can say that this song–

[Part III]

Wait, there’s a third part?!  What is this, Beethoven’s Fifth?  Well, this section of the song features more Drake, so let’s see what he has to tell us.

She’s in love with who I am
Back in high school, I used to bus it to the dance (Yeah)
Now I hit the FBO with duffels in my hands

Coming in with a confident hook, a nice bit of wordplay is fit in, as the FBO allows you to take on as much carry-on luggage as you would like, and Drake says he brings his bags of money on the plane.  This, too, is in direct juxtaposition as to how he didn’t have any money when he was younger.  I like where this is going.

I did half a Xan, 13 hours ’til I land
Had me out like a light, ayy, yeah
Like a light, ayy, yeah

Did…did you just brag about taking a Xanax to help you sleep on an airline flight?  Weird flex, but ok.

Knocked for the night, ayy, 767, man
This sh*t got double bedroom, man
I still got scores to settle, man
I crept down the block (Down the block)
Made a right (Yeah, right)
Cut the lights (Yeah, what?), paid the price (Yeah)
N*ggas think it’s sweet (Nah, never), it’s on sight (Yeah, what?)

On the lookout for any good, memorable, or even remotely clever lines.  Looks like there’s nothing here.

Nothin’ nice (Yeah), baguettes in my ice (Aw, man)

I’ve heard diamonds be called a lot of things, but “baguettes” is a new one.

When I shoot my shot, that sh*t wetty like I’m Sheck (Bitch!)

I get that Drake wanted to shout out one of Travis’s “Cactus Jack” signees for more exposure, but this line doesn’t really make much sense.  I don’t think there’s ever been a line in a Sheck Wes song where he’s referred to something being “wetty”.  You can correct me if I’m wrong, but not even genius.com has anything to say in reference to that.

Anyways, Drake’s part is catchy and fun to rap along with, but really doesn’t contain much in the way of substantial content.  Let’s see if Travis has anything more to say.

Yeah, passed the dawgs a celly
Sendin’ texts, ain’t sendin’ kites, yeah

A semi-clever line.  Not bad.

LaFerrari to Jamba Juice, yeah

Another Jamba Juice reference?  I understand it being referenced once, because it worked with the wordplay in the previous example, but it doesn’t mean anything here.  Is Travis a secret smoothie enthusiast?  Is Jamba Juice a reference to street drugs or something?  I truly don’t know.

We back on the road, they jumpin’ off, no parachute

At least this neat play on words pretty much ends the song off.  But, I better wait to make sure there isn’t a part four before I continue…

 

 

Okay, we’re good!

Overall, I’ve given a lot of flack to some of the lyrics in this song, so it could be expected that I might not be a huge fan of this song, but actually, I am.  I love this song!  I made a few jokes out of how many different parts this song has, but I think it’s impressive that this song can have that many segments and still be entertaining.  Many trap songs have to stay relatively short to keep the track’s energy sustained throughout the whole runtime, but in this song with two beat-switches, the energy stays consistent.  In fact, I’d say there is even more energy at the end of the track than at the beginning, which is rare for a trap banger.  Some of the lyrics here also stand on their own, with a nice mix of similes and metaphors sprinkled all through the track.  Not to mention, there are some insanely catchy flows, and having two hooks in one song that stick to the mind equally is amazing.  It’s not flawless, but I’d be willing to give this song a 4 out of 5.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “SICKO MODE” song review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.

 

 

 

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