How Travis Scott became the top selling star of the pandemic era

Missouri boy Jacques Berman Webster, now known as Travis Scott the founder of travis scott merch, told his high school friend. The pseudonym was formed from the name and nickname of his uncle the guitarist, “the coolest black guy” of all he knew. In addition to his uncle, his father played music in the Scott family, who left his own business for the sake of a drummer’s career, as well as his grandfather, who, seeing his grandson’s continued interest in playing drums, insisted that he first get an education.

The grandson tried: he entered the University of Texas at San Antonio and honestly attended classes for two years. And then he took the money allocated for his education by his parents and bought a ticket to New York with it. This especially upset Scott’s mother, who dragged the family on herself, working in the AT&T phone store despite her disability ( in a conversation with Rolling Stone, the rapper said that she always walked on crutches). Wanda Webster did not speak to her son for several months, but still changed her anger to mercy. “He said he’d be successful,” she recalled in a 2019 Netflix documentary about Travis Scott hoodie, symbolically titled Look Mom I Can Fly.

In New York, Scott slept on couches and in the cars of his Missouri buddies, and in the morning he sent his beats and tracks to producers, almost terrorizing them on social networks. “He often wrote to me in private messages on Twitter,” – said GQ Mike Dean , at various times collaborated with Madonna, Beyoncé, The Weekend and Frank Ocean. Dean emphasized that he was stunned by the independence of the guy in the process of writing music from and to, and music manager Anthony Kilhoffer noted his “ultra-high level of intelligence.” Soon Scott was already working at the production center GOOD Music, where he helped create the albums “Yeses” by Kanye West and “Magna Carat Holy Grail” by Jay-Z (yes), but he never stopped thinking about starting a solo career.

What happened next is perfectly described by a scene from a Netflix movie in which Scott watches a video of his performance in 2014 and is surprised: “Dude, how many people were there? Fifteen?  

Although critics accused Scott of lack of originality in music (“too similar to Kanye West and Kid Cadi”) and iconic traits in personal style (“no charm of A $ AP Rocky and graceful quirkiness of Harrell Williams”), he still managed to form a community around him that shook his hands to the beat of his music, and then stretched them to the products he released. Cornflakes? Sure! Toy car? We take! The Travis Scott name gained the same marketing power as the Supreme logo: it was enough to place it on the packaging, and the product added value and price.

Speaking of this power, Supreme founder James Debbie explained that when people buy new items from the brand, people seem to be joining a club of like-minded people who have the same cultural knowledge, incomprehensible and inaccessible to others. Likewise, you can describe the influence of the rapper, who built a whole world around his work. It features legends such as KAWS, Nick Knight and David LaChapelle on album covers, clips are produced by Saint Laurent, and unreleased tracks are used in an advertising campaign for her beauty brand Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott’s partner and mother of his three-year-old daughter Stormy.

However, not all products that come out under the name of Scott, or rather, under his sub-brand Cactus Jack, were the result of guerrilla marketing. Since 2017, as the true successor to Kanye West, he has been developing sneakers in partnership with Nike, not just adding his signature to the tongue and heel, but almost completely reimagining the silhouettes of classic models – from Air Force 1 to dunk. At the suggestion of the rapper, the sneakers acquire a low fit, an inverted swoosh, a surface made of scraps of different fabrics, fundamentally new color combinations, and even the inscription “Cactus” in Cyrillic – so as to please not only his fans (which is, in principle, easy to do), but also the most sophisticated sneaker heads.

To say that Scott and Nike are good at it is an understatement. The moment when the Cactus Jack sneakers go on sale has even been compared to a natural disaster: the demand for them is so high that stores deliberately refuse to cope with it. “The new collaboration will not be presented here. Please stop the flow of messages and calls, “the representatives of a small New York skate shop Labor prayed on Instagram. In turn, large department stores (including TSUM), if they buy the coveted “Nike”, do not put them in the sales area, but play the right to buy online. Along with the sneakers, the raffle winners get the chance to resell them at absolutely insane prices. So, on the Stock resale platform, purple Air Jordan 4 Retro Travis Scott are offered for$ 35 thousand, and a pair of Dunk Lows, released by the rapper on the eve of the PlayStation 5 release and raffled in an amount of only five pieces, for $ 60 thousand.