Billboards for Travis Scott’s long-delayed “Utopia” album have appeared in California, clearly aimed at the audience for the 2022 Coachella festival next weekend, which the multiplatinum rapper was originally scheduled to headline.
One of the four billboards reads “PSST…..,” another features the logo for Scott’s Cactus Jack company, another says “Looking for UTOPIA?” and another says “WRONG WAY!” — which, since it appears on the I-10 in the direction headed away from the Coachella grounds in Indio, Calif., could be perceived as at least a comment on the festival. Coachella canceled Scott’s appearance after 10 people died when the crowd surged during his headlining set at his Astroworld festival in November.
Travis Scott UTOPIA Billboards spotted in California! pic.twitter.com/TBj6QsVG73
— SAINT (@saint) April 10, 2022
Contacted by Variety, a rep for Scott declined comment about when the album might drop, although HipHop24-7 cites an unnamed source as saying it’s not coming until June.
Like everything else on Scott’s schedule, the album’s timetable was postponed after the Astroworld tragedy. Scott has kept a relatively low profile in the months since then, although sources say his agents fought to keep him on the Coachella bill.
More recently, sources said that he would be appearing during Kanye West’s since-canceled headlining appearance at the festival; although he was one of the rumored candidates to replace West on the bill following the cancelation last Monday, the prospect of Scott headlining North America’s biggest music festival just months after the Astroworld tragedy was always unlikely.
Scott offered to pay the funeral costs for the victims and has spoken emotionally on the tragedy, which led to the cancelation of several high-profile concert appearances and a collaboration with the fashion brand Dior. Last month he announced $5 million in community-focused initiatives through his newly launched Project Heal, a long-term series of philanthropy and investment efforts.
The album’s Scott’s fourth follows his 2018 “Astroworld” album and the “Jackboys” compilation from the following year. He’s released several tracks in the intervening time, including two just before the ill-fated festival, “Mafia” and “Escape Plan.”
Speaking with Variety early last year, Scott said the new album is “feeling like a progression from ‘Astroworld,’ I’m starting to shape a new soundscape,” he said. “It’s pretty interesting — I’m always looking to see how people are taking it in and pushing it to another level, just growing from where I left off and taking it to an untouchable height.”
Asked whether he considers albums important conceptually in a music world that seems to be moving away from them, he said, “I’m totally working on an album — I definitely care more about making albums than just dropping songs. I like dropping songs as [often] as I wanna drop them, but I love albums — I grew up on them.”
As for artist he’d like to work with, he reeled off a characteristically unexpected list.
“I would love to work with Bjork; I’ve never worked with Beyonce and I would love to see where we could push the sound. Chris Martin is fire; [British drum n’ bass veteran] Goldie is fire; [oddball British singer-songwriter] King Krule — I’m a big King Krule fan I’m so glad he dropped music again.”