"Reckless Endangerment" album cover

Seattle rapper Travis Thompson released his first studio album after announced signing with Epic Records on Feb. 12. 

 

On Sept. 20, rapper Travis Thompson released his debut studio album, “Reckless Endangerment.” The Burien, Washington, native has garnered national attention since gracing the stage with fellow Seattle-area rapper, Macklemore for a performance of their track “Corner Store” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in November 2017.

“This is just a warning, a baby-faced loser from Seattle is now important,” said Travis Thompson in a freestyle on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” back in July 2018.

These words have never been more true, following Thompson’s debut studio album. 

Don’t be fooled though, his “debut” has been years in the making. Thompson emerged in the rap scene with his first mixtape, “Ambaum” in August 2016. Paying direct homage to the boulevard he grew up on, Thompson’s initial body of work was acclaimed for its upbeat production and boisterous flows.

The following year yielded a notable profile boost for the precocious rapper, as Thompson was recruited by Macklemore to open for him on his “Gemini Tour.” The opportunity to embark on Thompson’s first nationwide tour came about following the recording of “Corner Store.”

The tour culminated in Thompson opening for a sold-out KeyArena crowd in his hometown, Seattle. Of course, not to be upstaged by a performance at Gonzaga’s own Cataldo Hall in November 2017.

In spite of a successful year in 2017, Thompson’s prosperity grew exponentially following the release of his second mixtape, “YOUGOOD?” in May 2018. Opening up about the anxiety he felt trying to live up to heightened expectations, Thompson’s follow-up project saw him evolve as a lyricist while exploring new sounds and melodies. “YOUGOOD?” amassed 1 million streams on Spotify within a month of its release, highlighting the rapper's budding stardom.

Thompson formally announced his signing with Epic Records on Feb. 12. The news of his signing was coupled with the announcement of his first Epic-backed project, a six-track EP entitled “RUNAWAYS,” which was released the following Friday.

“Reckless Endangerment” serves as Thompson’s first full-length project since signing a major-label artist deal with Epic Records. Following the unprecedented success of “YOUGOOD?,” it’s no understatement to say that the pressure was on leading up to the album’s release. Thompson delivered and then some.

The album is a collection of 15 uplifting, hard-hitting tracks that are undoubtedly Thompson’s best work to date. 

“Reckless Endangerment” navigates back and forth seamlessly between booming, self-assertive tracks like “Dropped Babies” and “God’s Favorite” and reflective, melodic tracks like “The Move” and “Malice,” both of which feature soothing vocals from Parisalexa (“The Move”) and Ben Zaidi (“Malice”), respectively.

The album’s production was handled predominantly by Thompson’s frequent collaborators and crew members Tyler Dopps, Elan Wright and Nima Skeemz, with an assist from legendary Seattle-based producer, Jake One on “Glass Ceiling.”

“Glass Ceiling” serves as the centerpiece of “Reckless Endangerment,” with Thompson procuring features from some of the most revered artists in Seattle rap history. Littered with hometown references and lingo, the track includes verses from Macklemore, Prometheus Brown (aka Geologic of the Blue Scholars) and Sir Mix-a-Lot.

All in all, the album feels like the culmination of the journey Thompson and his day-one supporters embarked on back in the summer of 2016. “Reckless Endangerment” is a resounding announcement that Thompson has finally arrived to the show, as he steps into the spotlight to let the world know that a kid from Seattle with a dream is now important.

Chad Strazzara is a contributor. Follow him on Twitter: @chadstrazzara.

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