Power Players

Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott wants to study architecture at Harvard

Alexander Tamargo | Getty Images

You know Travis Scott as a rapper and producer: His album, "Astroworld" is up for Best Rap Album and his single "Sicko Mode" is nominated for Best Rap Song at the Grammy's on Sunday where he will also perform. And he (somewhat controversially) played for tens of millions of viewers in the 2019 Super Bowl half-time show on Feb. 3.

You definitely know Scott as Kylie Jenner's boyfriend and the father of their daughter Stormi, who just turned 1.

But Scott, 26, is also a "thespian," he says; he's a sometime troublemaker; and he dreams of studying architecture at Harvard. Among other things.

Living life to the fullest

In December, Scott gave a talk at Harvard: a "Master Class on Creativity." Creativity and inspiration come from "one's life experiences," he reportedly told students, so you have to live life to the fullest and be "fearless and not afraid to take risks," attendee Atri Raychowdhury told Complex.

It's how Scott seems to live his life.

Travis Scott was born Jacques Webster and grew up in the suburbs of Houston.

"I was a thespian, bruh," he told Rolling Stone. "I was in this play "Kiss Me, Kate" – you heard of that? I did "Oliver!" I love that type of s---. I love drama."

Scott took drum and piano lessons, and he was smart, graduating high school early at 17. But still, he hated school, and dropped out of the University of Texas when he was a sophomore. Scott said he found every day of college depressing because he wanted to make music and rap, to tell his life story, he told Complex.

He survived, at first, by scamming his parents into thinking he was still in school.

"I lied to my mom," Scott told Complex. "I was like, 'Yo, I need mad money for books. I need a new computer.' And somehow they got me the money and I spent [it] on like living. Bought me a plane ticket next day, dipped out to New York."

In New York, Scott told Complex he crashed at a friend's house, "sleeping on the floor, and grinding," making music. He was there about three or four months, but then moved to Los Angeles, where he found himself broke after his parents found out about his lies.

"My parents cut me off because I dropped out of college," Scott says. "I was lying to my parents like, 'Man, I'm in school.' They came to visit me, I wasn't there. I was like in a whole other state."

Scott crashed on another friend's couch and started uploading his music on the internet. Bloggers started to take notice of Scott's talent. When rapper T.I. found out about Scott and contacted him, he finally had a foot in the door.

Making music

Scott inked his first major record deal with Epic Records in 2012. He steadily released music every year and by 2015, he was opening for (and reportedly dating) Rihanna and he released his first studio album, "Rodeo." In 2016 came "Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight."

Scott already had a loyal base by 2017; one of his albums had gone platinum and another was on its way. Scott's shows are notoriously rowdy — he's been called "hip hop's king of chaos" — and in May 2017 he was arrested after allegedly encouraging fans to rush the stage at a Arkansas show. (He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. A representative for Scott declined to comment to CNBC Make It.)

And as Scott devotees eagerly awaited the release of his third album, the whole world learned the rapper's name: That September word leaked that Kylie Jenner was pregnant with his baby. Stormi was born in February 2018. Scott cut the cord and was scared of the placenta, he told Ellen DeGeneres in 2018, but gushed "I never thought I could just love something so hard, ya know? It's crazy."

In August, Scott's other baby droppped: "Astroworld." In the orbit of the Kardashian-Jenner clan it can be hard not to be eclipsed by their success, but his third studio album "Astroworld" propelled Scott to a new level of fame and success in his own right.

Taylor Hill | Getty Images

In conjunction with his album, Scott founded and held his first Astroworld Festival, which had headliners like Post Malone and Lil Wayne, in November. It was held at NRG Park in Houston, across from the site of the original Astroworld amusement park, which closed in 2005, and he hinted it will be back next year. The album also snagged Scott his first No.1 debut on the Billboard 100 and his first Grammy nominations.

"It's always dope to be noticed for your work," Scott told Billboard, "but you always just have to remember that as long as you're making the best music, touching fans and moving spirits, that's what we all do it for."

On his Atroworld tour, Scott grossed over $100,000 per stop, according to Forbes (and Complex reported he celebrated with a $450,000 chain). And as Billboard points out, his brand is as big as his music. He collaborated with Nike on the Air Force 1 sneaker and much of his "Astroworld" limited-edition capsule collection t-shirts and hoodies sold out.

Design is another of Scott's many talents: When a Houston high school student asked for permission to use "Astroworld" imagery on her senior class t-shirt, he did her one better and designed the shirts for her.

Next stop, Harvard

Most recently it seems, Scott has set his sights on Harvard.

As early as 2017, Scott said he wanted to go to Harvard.

"Me and my friend Dozie are supposed to go to Harvard, go to architecture school at Harvard," Scott told Show Studio's "In Camera." "I think after my third album, I'm going to do it after my third album."

Then in December, the day after his masterclass, he tweeted that he was applying to the university, "in a couple of days," and that he was really excited.

"I'm a master of my own imagination," Scott told Rolling Stone of his desire to do his own thing, rather than admire other architects. "I go off my own s---.. I'm not into deep study — all that, like, reading? That's how s--- ends up looking like someone else's," Scott tells Rolling Stone. "You ever see pictures in your head? I be having that all day. It's like a museum."

But that's not where his creativity ends.

FilmMagic | Getty Images

Scott loves Broadway, so for his next album, he'd like to incorporate the theater.

"I love Broadway, it's super dope," he told Ellen DeGeneres. "I was thinking my next album, I'll do a play for a week somewhere. I'll just do a play and design a whole play around my album."

Don't miss: John Legend reveals what a boring corporate job in his 20s taught him about life and success

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