Sidney Travis: “No Stress” – a probing perspective

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1986, Sidney Travis moved to Atlanta when I was 8 years old with his mother and two cousins. The first time he ever...

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1986, Sidney Travis moved to Atlanta when I was 8 years old with his mother and two cousins. The first time he ever rapped was at 6 years old, when his cousin Aaliyah wrote a rhyme for him. Ever since then, he has had a passion for writing lyrics over instrumentals. It wasn’t until he was 15 that Travis first recorded, and then found his niche a year later after performing live.

In 2018 the Newark rapper has 3 fresh singles to his name. Among them “No Stress”.  What makes Sidney Travis such a refreshing part of the urban industry is how he stays completely away from the gimmicks and crap that so many other rapper thrive off of.

He just cares about making good tracks, or at least tracks he likes. People who come into this project expecting the usual modern rap genre tropes are going to be pretty disappointed, but everyone else should be pretty ecstatic on what they are hearing from Travis.

You’ll find dense and dizzying word play here. It’s all Travis just killing it with his word play over the dark tones on this track. When I say killing it, I really mean it. He doesn’t have a bad verse on the song. As good as the wordplay and lyricism is on “No Stress”, the beat on this track has to be a high point too.

Anyone who is a fan of Sidney Travis knows how much he loves dark cinematic sounding beats, and that’s what you’ll find here. This beat is awesome and intense, with a nice retro flavor. That commitment to musical substance together with lyrical style is what makes Travis such a compelling rapper.

“No Stress” lacks the pretense of most mainstream hip-hop tracks; it’s concise; it pays attention to the music rather than servicing a trendy theme, narrative, or convention of convenience. It dissuades the desire to do so by being consistently compelling from a purely musical sense.

Moreover, it isn’t a track infatuated with its narrator’s reflection. That means that the music precedes the intent. In that regard, it’s easy enough to say that “No Stress” is good because it is precise. It renders Travis’ lyricism in the best possible way. You get the sense that Sidney Travis isn’t making music for critics, or for the Charts, or for anyone else other than himself.

It is this precise intent that gives the track its spontaneity and free-speaking honesty. Humble, unassuming, and attentive to his topic, with the desire to make a lyrically sharp song, Travis sticks out as one of the more observant and well-versed rappers of the year.

With his probing perspective and spectral memories, “No Stress” shows Sidney Travis as a deft communicator of his chosen issues. Travis has a lot of things on his mind, and he knows how to deliver them with striking wordplay. Sidney Travis has never been smarter lyrically than he is on this track, and there is no reason to think that he will slow down any time soon.

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