Rapper Travis Scott has broken his silence on the tragic deaths that occurred at his Astroworld festival in 2021.
Ten people died and hundreds of others were injured at the concert in Houston, Texas, after the crowd surged towards the stage.
In his first interview about the tragedy, Scott said he was "overly devastated" by the loss of life.
"I always think about it," he told GQ magazine, external. "Those fans were like my family. You know, I love my fans to the utmost.”
He continued: "It has its moments where it gets rough and…yeah. You just feel for those people. And their families.”
Thousands were injured at the concert on 5 November 2021 when panic broke out as the over-capacity crowd pressed towards the front of the stage during Scott's headline performance.
Ten people, ranging in age from nine to 27, were killed by compressive asphyxiation.
Some audience members accused Scott and fellow rapper Drake of continuing to perform despite accounts of "lifeless bodies being passed through the crowd in full view of the stage". Houston's fire chief stated that Scott should have halted the show much earlier.
The star previously said he was not aware of the severity of the crush until he left the stage.
His only previous public statement about the tragedy came in the days following the concert, on his social media channels.
In a prepared statement, the star said he was "devastated" and vowed to give the Houston Police Department his “total support” as they investigated “the tragic loss of life".
In an Instagram live, he added that he would have paused the concert if he had known how bad the situation had become in the audience.
"Anytime I can make out anything that’s going on, you know, I stop the show and you know, help them get the help they need. I could just never imagine the severity of the situation."
Speaking to GQ, Scott confirmed that one of his recent album tracks, My Eyes, references the tragedy.
As the tempo picks up towards the end of the song, he raps: “I replay them nights, and right by my side, all I see is a sea of people that ride wit’ me. /If they just knew what Scotty would do to jump off the stage and save him a child.”
"The song is emotional... and that verse means a lot to me," he said.
Asked what he wanted people to think when they heard the song he replied: “To know I have pain, too.
"I have concerns, things that I think about, and the things I see on a day-to-day basis, I think about them. And every day I want to find change in the things, to make things better, make myself better.
"It’s just like: I go through things like everyone else. And even recently through something like I never could imagine."
In June this year, a grand jury in Texas declined to indict Scott and five other people on any criminal charges related to the concert.
An investigative report into the tragedy was released by Houston police the following month.
It said that festival workers had highlighted problems and warned of possible deadly consequences ahead of the show.
One security guard had been so worried by the crowd that he texted an event organiser saying, “someone’s going to end up dead".
"There’s panic in people eyes. This could get worse quickly,” Reece Wheeler texted Shawna Boardman, one of the festival's private security directors, minutes before Scott took to the stage.
In a subsequent text Wheeler added: “I know they’ll try to fight through it but I would want it on the record that I didn’t advise this to continue.
In a police interview two days after the event, Scott told investigators that although he did see one person near the stage getting medical attention, the crowd generally seemed to be enjoying the show and he did not see any signs of serious problems.
The rapper - and others involved in organising the festival - still face civil lawsuits from multiple victims in Texas state courts.
Both Scott and Drake have recently given depositions in relation to those cases. The details of the hearings are unknown, due to a rigid publicity order.
The families of three victims have previously settled with Scott, concert promoters Live Nation and other related parties, although the terms of those agreements have not been disclosed.
The first wrongful death case is currently scheduled to go to trial in May of 2024.