Two years ago, the music world was shocked by the deaths of concertgoers at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, where 10 fans were crushed to death by the rushing crowds during rapper Travis Scott’s set.
In the immediate aftermath, accusations from concertgoers and video footage seemed to suggest that Scott not only encouraged the crush of fans to jump the security barricades, but also ignored calls to halt his set or call for emergency services when things began to turn fatal.
Now in a new in-depth interview with GQ for their annual Men of the Year issue, the “Sicko Mode” rapper breaks silence on the tragedy.
“I mean I was just overly devastated, you know. Yeah,” he tells the outlet. “I always think about it. Those fans were like my family. You know, I love my fans to the utmost [...] You just feel for those people. And their families.”
He also explains how that pain hindered at first his ability to make music, but later channelled it into his art. “Making music, you think about things that go on in life and things that happen in your life, and you dial in on things,” he says
“That moment for families, for the city, you know, it was devastating. And when it came to making, like even finishing the album…I got back into it probably like, I don’t know, months and months and months after. And the idea of just even getting back into music, working on music and just even getting into that, was therapeutic of being able to channel some of the energy into production and sounds and finishing it.”
When it comes to what he wants people to know about how he processed the Astroworld tragedy, he remarks, “I have pain too.”
“I want to find change in the things, to make things better, make myself better.”
Scott has since dropped the song “My Eyes” that references the tragedy, which he says represents “the things I deal with on a day-to-day basis and the fact of how it could be misunderstood and the struggles of life and all aspects of life. The constant weight that’s put on. That you carry, you know. And just a vision through my eyes.”
“It just came out when I was writing,” he says. “Like I said, it was a real moment. The song is emotional to me. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. And that verse means a lot to me.”
He reiterates that he wants fans who listen to the song to feel what he feels: “To know I have pain too. I have concerns, things that I think about, and the things I see on a day-to-day basis I think about them. And every day I want to find change in the things, to make things better, make myself better. It’s just like: I go through things like everyone else. And even recently through something like I never could imagine. So.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he reveals his relationship with daughter Stormi that he shares with ex-partner Kylie Jenner, along with son Aire.
Noting that her favourite track of his is “Mamacita,” the rapper takes a phone call from Stormi in the middle of the interview where the reader gets an inside look at how Scott includes his daughter in sharing the joy of his music.
You can read the full interview here, and the GQ Men of the Year issue drops on newsstands November 28.