Travis Scott has opened up in his first interview about the "emotional roller coaster" in the wake of the Astroworld festival last month in which 10 people died in a massive crowd surge at his show in Houston.
The 30-year-old rapper spoke in a 51-minute interview with radio and TV personality Charlamagne Tha God released on Thursday about his reaction to the tragedy and his level of responsibility for it.
"It really hurts," Scott said. "It hurts the community; it hurts the city. It’s just been a lot of thoughts, a lot of feelings, a lot of grieving and just trying to wrap my head around it.
"I really just want to be there. Wish you could just hold everyone, talk to them, have conversations.”
Scott said he wasn't aware until after the concert that people had died, others had been hospitalized and hundreds had been injured in a crowd stampede toward the stage during his hourlong set on Nov. 5 at NRG Park.
"It wasn’t really until like minutes until the press conference until I figured out exactly what happened," he said. "Even after the show, you’re just kind of hearing things, but I didn’t know the exact details.
"No idea. People pass out, things happen at concerts, but something like that?"
He was then asked why the concert went on for another 40 minutes after officials declared it a mass casualty event.
“They told me, ‘Right after the guests get on stage, we’re going to end the show.’ And that’s what we did. Other than that, there was no communication,” Scott said.
Scott then said he was not told to stop the show.
He said he did not hear anyone yelling for help during the performance. Video footage showed him briefly stopping the concert multiple times.
"Any time you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show," he said. "I stopped it a couple times to make sure everything’s OK. You can only help what you can see and whatever you’re told. Whenever somebody tells you to stop, you stop."
Scott, promoter Live Nation, Apple Music and others are facing hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the show. A lawsuit seeking more than $750 million was filed on behalf of at least 125 victims last month, and nearly 200 people filed 93 lawsuits through civil rights attorney Ben Crump that Crump said target both Scott and Live Nation. The $750 million suit lists Scott, the rapper Drake, who joined Scott halfway through the concert, Apple Music, which was streaming the festival, and others as defendants.
He was asked in the interview if he has a responsibility for what happened.
“I have a responsibility to figure out what happened here," he said. "I have a responsibility to figure out the solution. And hopefully, this takes a first step for us as artists — having that more insight of what’s going on.”
Scott’s legal team filed requests on Monday for multiple lawsuits against him to be dismissed. The rapper has denied the allegations in the lawsuits, which have been consolidated and will be handled by one judge after an order issued on Tuesday by the Board of Judges of the Civil Trial Division of the Harris County District Courts in Houston, according to The Associated Press.
Scott’s attorneys maintain he is not legally liable, and sources close to Scott previously told NBC News that he was not aware of the deadly crush in the crowd while performing.
Scott was also asked who is ultimately responsible for what happened.
"I don’t want to speak too soon; I just want to figure out what happened," he said. "As artists, we just leave this up to professionals to make sure fans are having a good time, people are protected, leave and have the best experience ever."
Scott has been cited in the past for rowdy behavior at his concerts. He was arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to reckless conduct after a concert in Chicago, where police said he encouraged the crowd to rush the stage and ignore security. He also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 2017 after being arrested on suspicion of inciting a riot at a concert in Arkansas.
Charlamagne Tha God asked if the "raging" culture of high energy at his concerts contributed to the incident in Houston.
"No, I think it’s something I’ve been working on for a while of just creating these experiences," Scott said. "Us as artists, we trust professionals to make sure that if things happen, people leave safely.
"And this night was like a regular show, it felt like to me as far as the energy. People didn’t show up there to just be harmful. People just showed up to have a good time and something unfortunate happened, and I think we’ve really just got to figure out what that was."
"All things are understandable," he said about the rejections. "At the time they’re grieving and trying to find understanding, they want answers. I’ve got to just continue to show up for that.”
He was asked what he would say to the grieving families.
"I’ll say to them that I’m always here," he said. "I’m in this with you guys and I love you, and I’ll always be there to help you guys heal through this.
"It’s not just a right-now thing, it’s a forever thing. These people who came to the show, they are my family. I’ve always had that connection to people who listened to the music or came to my shows."
"I want everyone to just continue praying for the fans that was lost," he continued. "I want to continue praying for the families."