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Travis Porter, “From Day 1”—Album Review

Jive Records (2012)

It could be said that Travis Porter plays club rap, but the group really plays strip club rap, which has been modified and crossbred with other strains of the genre in order to attain suitability for mass consumption. Rather than filthy (although there’s plenty of that as well), the end result of this sonic skin graft turns out to be more energetic than anything else. Even if it’s not a revolutionary piece of work, From Day 1 at least offers a hearty sampling of grinning summer jams that can at no point be faulted for sloppiness.

Hailing from Decatur, Georgia, the three MCs that comprise Travis Porter—Ali, Quez and Strap—have spent their brief career developing a pre-diabetic preference for auditory candy. Major chord progressions, judicious auto-tune and hooks aplenty make every track on From Day 1 a candidate for becoming stuck in the heads of unsuspecting listeners. The album’s merciless catchiness comes after three years’ worth of trial and error on the part of the group. Over the course of nine mixtapes (four of which were released in 2009 alone), Travis Porter has managed to zero in on the parts of its sound that elicit a reaction, then cleanse its commercial debut of all but its most hypnotic tricks.

The album’s two key singles, “Ayy Ladies” and “Make It Rain”, bounce seamlessly from hook to hook for the entirety of their runtimes, a strategy employed to varying degrees by all of From Day 1’s thirteen tracks. Instances of pussy-hounding and party promotion provide the majority of Travis Porter’s lyrical grist, but even the filthiest of these anecdotes are couched in such a smiling, energetic surround as to make them appear more-or-less innocuous. Guest verses from the likes of 2 Chainz and Tyga serve mostly as rhythmic devices, providing further grease for Travis Porter’s suspiciously well-oiled party rap machine.

Even with its connoisseur’s focus on the strip club, From Day 1 has a difficult time distinguishing itself from the majority of today’s radio-ready hip-hop specimens. The album is too aware of its own cultural environment, and, as a result, too safe. The song “Party Time” plays like an attenuated riff on Wiz Khalifa’s Bacchanalian inclinations; at least once per track, Travis Porter lays down a mumble-sung hook that seems directly cribbed from the Kid Cudi playbook.

From Day 1’s detractors will have a difficult time ferreting out the flaws in the album’s squeaky-clean façade, but the LP is so oleaginous a specimen that it’s hard to imagine any of its tunes sticking in the culture memory for longer than length of a single album cycle, a single summer or a single DJ set.

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About the Author


Shane Danaher's affection for pop music has peppered his adult life with a variety of aesthetically rewarding and financially disastrous decisions. After moving to Portland, Oregon for college (because that's where he heard Modest Mouse was from) Shane has wound up participating in the music world in roles ranging from 'drummer' to 'promoter' to 'bathroom floor scrubber.' He has toured without money, written about almost every band ever to have come out of the Pacific Northwest, and one time traveled all the way to Los Angeles just to see a catch hip-hop show. He currently resides in Portland, where he writes about hip-hop, pop and rock music for a variety of publications. He still plays drums. He wants to meet Kanye West.

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Posted in: Featured, Hip Hop Music


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