Travis Scott's high-octane performances are known for being chaotic and electrifying, with concertgoers encouraged to form mosh pits, crowd-surf and even bypass security to rush the stage.
On his 2018 song Stargazing, the rapper revelled in his crowds’ heaving energy: “It ain’t a mosh pit if ain’t no injuries.”
But on Friday night, it all went tragically wrong.
A sizeable group of the 50 000 in attendance at the rapper's Astroworld Festival in Houston pushed toward the stage at NRG Park, killing at least eight people - between the ages of 14 and 27 – and leaving hundreds more injured.
Travis, born Jacques Bermon Webster II, responded with an emotional video to his Instagram saying he was “devastated" about the deaths.
He added: “I can't imagine anything like this happening.”
But the Goosebumps rapper’s penchant for stirring up his young fanbase and inciting chaos at his packed live shows is nothing new. Travis has twice faced criminal charges related to inciting crowds into over-heated frenzies.
In his 2019 Netflix documentary Look Mom I Can Fly, after a particularly volatile May 2017 show at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion, one fan beamed at a camera crew while leaning on crutches. “I survived, I survived! It’s all good!” they said.
Following the show, the Antidote crooner faced three misdemeanour charges of inciting a riot, disorderly conduct and endangering the welfare of a minor after he invited fans to overpower security and rush the stage.
Travis pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and had to pay more than $6 000 to two people injured at the show.
“I just hate getting arrested, man. That s— is whack,” he said in the documentary, upon his release from jail.
Before the incident in Arkansas, the rapper pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges of reckless conduct, after cajoling fans at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago to climb over barricades and onto the stage with him during his set.
“Everyone in a green shirt get the f— back,” Scott yelled over the mic, addressing the festival’s security staff.
“Middle finger up to security right now.” He then led the crowd in a chant of “We want rage.”
Meanwhile, the legal fallout from the deaths and injuries that took place at Travis' Astroworld festival has only just begun.
Festivalgoer Kristian Paredes (23) has sued Travis and fellow rapper Drake, who made a surprise appearance during the second half of the show, for more than a million dollars, claiming the rappers “incited the crowd”.
The Austin, Texas, native accused the rappers and organisers Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation of negligence.
Although many fans are still in the rapper's corner, Noah Shachtman, editor-in-chief at Rolling Stone magazine, thinks Travis will get a “hard second look” during legal proceedings, due to his past behaviour.
“Travis Scott's whole aesthetic is about rebellion,” says HipHopDX editor-in-chief Trent Clark, who has attended several of his performances.
“The shows have a lot of raging. With the death of punk rock, hip-hop has adopted and patterned the new generation of mosh pits. It's not uncommon to see a lot of crowding and raging or complete wild behaviour at a Travis Scott show.”
“In terms of energy, he wants the energy he's giving out on stage to be reciprocated from the audience, almost in defiance," adds the Washington Post’s Julian Kimble.
“I've seen him tell people like 'Don't listen to security. Forget security. This is for y'all. This is for the fans.' With regards to Friday night, that's an example of how things can go wrong.”
Kyle Green, who was injured at the rapper’s April 2017 show in Manhattan, New York, says he was “devastated” by the Astroworld deaths.
The 27-year-old claims he was forced over a railing during the “severely crowded” event and broke several bones, including a vertebrae, in the chaos, according to a lawsuit he filed.
His lawyer, Howard Hershenhorn, says that his client “can actually walk now, but with significant, significant disability. He’s partially paralysed still.”
“He’s devastated and heartbroken for the families of those who were killed and for those individuals who were severely injured,” says his lawyer.
“He’s even more incensed by the fact that it could have been avoided had Travis learned his lesson in the past and changed his attitude about inciting people to behave in such a reckless manner.”
Kyle’s legal team insist that the rapper’s lyrics about stage-diving and mosh pits show a disregard for crowd safety.
“His desire to rile up the crowd beyond hysterics, where people are pushing and shoving, has resulted in a massive catastrophe. It’s time for him to do some significant self-reflection.”
Sources: latimes.com, independent.co.uk, rollingstone.com, pagesix.com, dailymail.co.uk, washingtonpost.com, abc7ny.com, foxnews.com