I Told You (7.5/10)

September 8, 2016

 

It was only a matter of time before another Canadian artist capitalized off the worldwide impact that Drake created for himself as he put the 6 on the map and dominated the music scene the last 5+ years. Thus here comes Tory Lanez, another rapper/singer with electro/house/and dancehall roots (sound familiar) that actually has been on his grind for many years, and only more recently gained notoriety for cover records that became certified smash hits (you can never be sure how many fans of music know their music history - yet to Lanez credit he did make those records his own - and all of them sound damn good). However before his debut album was released Lanez was already dealing with critics, many of whom believed that Lanez was nothing more than a carbon copy of Drake, and therefore was far short of an original or any artist that was worthy of praise (how’s that for irony, supposively you can copy but you can’t copy the copycat). Nonetheless with his affiliations to the 6 God as well as his resemblance to other rising stars (Bryson Tiller for example), there was certainly high anticipation regarding what Lanez would produce with his debut, and depending on the interpretation of his artistry the music was certain to be met with mixed reviews.

 

Below his new album I Told You is critiqued and reviewed track by track, in which Lanez weaves in and out of multiple different styles - sometimes for the better and other times for worse.      

 

 

I Told You/Another One

 

“I done said fuck school, fuck the teachers and the public, I rather count this money with the thuggers and the junkies, the teachers used to tell me ‘boy you ain't gon' 'mount to nothing’. the only love I felt was from the dealers and the hustlas” After one of many skits Lanez spits some heat in his best Future flow over his best Ross instrumental…or is it Travis Scott?... idk but it’s one of those hypebeast MCs... and it’s cool but there’s hundreds just like it and honestly... I’m not excited.

 

Guns and Roses

 

“What if I told you, when we make love its like war is going on, don't leave me wounded in this battlefield, this fight for love...” Lanez switches into his Drake Karaoke flow on this one (notice the sequencing is similar to a Drizzy album as well), and I’d venture to say this style is better for his talent, as his range in his vocals is likely his best asset.

 

Flex

 

“I got the gas on me, being broke was the reason, why all of these females would pass on me, now I pull up in that S550 and I dash on em”  Nice record… good rap/r&b for today’s era… even if you miss the days when artists made songs about love… this one is for flexin on em… and I fux with it...

 

 

To D.R.E.A.M.

 

“Ain't no time for cosigns, ***** wasn't giving it, these ***** was living it up, dropping the rock, I'm picking it up, robbing the game, I'm sticking it up”  I guess you can say he’s really spittin on this… and again he’s flexin… this a record that will serve his fans but more than likely won’t gain him any new ones… not much replay value or any qualities that stand out.

 

4am Flex

 

“She so official that she'll get the pot and she'll throw her own four in the mix, pull up to the function on fours, like a ***** had two plus two on the whip”  As far as the delivery idk if this is Fetty Wap or… idk… it doesn’t matter this just isn’t good… and Lanez is better than this… (the last verse when the beat change is aiight tho.. shoulda made that record)

 

Friends with Benefits

 

“I wanna get them draws from ya , tonight I'm goin' hard for ya , tonight she takin' all of me yeah….” This one is kinda fire and is actually one of the better records on the album, as a simple yet smooth melody complements the impressive production (apparently by Lanez and a few others), that is likely to catch on in due time and be a fan favorite in the years to come. Reminds me of one of those good Tiller records off Trapsoul.

 

 

Cold Hard Love

 

“So you took a chance with me because you heard I’m cool, so let me show you why what you heard is true” smoooooth record, and with songs like this there’s no doubt that Tory Lanez is legitimate competition for Bryson Tiller, and is likely ready to surpass PartyNextDoor (who just put out a project that is a complete disaster) out of all the new talent in this trap sub genre of R&B.

 

High

 

“I'm rolling this blunt up, baby, but touching your body feels like I'm high, keep rolling that weed up, baby, touching your body feels like I'm high” crazy production and this one is marginally fire… not pure flames but hotter than luke warm… not mad at this… but I get it if you skip this all the same.

 

Dirty Money

 

“Slangin', sellin', ***** tellin', catchin' feelings, on the low, friends switchin', different women, with you every night, woah, prayin', sinnin', sinnin', prayin', that the Lord, take my soul”  Starts out like it might actually be some quality music here… and then quickly switches to another Future record… and nothing more needs to be said.

 

 

Question Is ft Brianna Cash

 

“Hopped off the phone with my dad, ***** barely do speak, but I'm sending Western Union wires every two weeks, I got a brand new brother and sister that I never do see, He might call to send me a blessing and tell me do me, but shit, I been doin' me since 14”  Likely the best record off the new album, this one is brimming with good content and an effortlessly smooth delivery from Lanez, who arguably for all his styles is best as a pop rap MC as opposed to the struggle reggae or R&B artist designed for Top 40 radio. Either way an impressive collaboration with production that includes Kanye West, Cardo, Yung Exclusivez, and Lanez himself, puts down a relatively simple instrumental that allows Lanez to simply spit heat, while Brianna Cash definitely does the damn thing on the hook as well.

 

Loners Blvd.

 

“'I’m headed downtown cause I'm workin' on this lil mixtape, with no fillers, no throwaway songs, hoping that this shit just go, sadly for me, the shit didn't, so I make another mixtape and another mixtape and another mixtape, til them ***** start sayin' shit's hittin'...” Another one of the standout records on the album, which unlike 90% of the project doesn’t try to do too much, and similar to the Question Is and the August 19th promo record this is just straight raps and nothing more - and at this point it’s debatable if this is indeed when Lanez is at his best.

 

All The Girls

 

“Out of all the damn girls in the world, I done ended up with you , I'm talkin' all the bad bitches in the world, and I ended up with you”  Here he is singing again and it’s cool even though it sounds like a Chris Brown throwaway record, legitimately a clone of the All I Need track with Wale from his lost tapes, either way true to form it’s just alright.

 

 

Say It

 

“You gon have to do more than just (say it) , you gon have to do less when you (do it), lil mama you know Iiii (show it), always want you to (prove it)” Now this is a smash… in fact one of the smash hits from… last summer? It’s certainly been a minute but this record was undeniable heat when it dropped and it still rings off today, as it’s smooth enough to be played in any environment for any purpose (men, women, young, and old can enjoy this record). Yet what most 90’s babies will never know is that this song had already been released about 20 years prior, by the R&B group Brownstone under the title If You Love Me. That song was nominated for a Grammy yet appropriately lost to TLC’s Creep, and while Lanez definitely paid homage to it and did the record justice, the fact remains that his most recognizable song is not really his own.

 

Luv

 

“Everyone falls in love sometimes, I don't know 'bout you but it ain't a crime, If you let me love you, love you, love you for long time baby…” Another cover record, that Lanez actually annihilates all the same. This time he covers the famous “Everyone Falls In Love” by Tanto Metro and Devonte, and once again he delivers in a way that would make fans of the original record more than satisfied. (Again this is likely his second most famous single to date however, another record that isn’t his own.)

 

 

[One quick side note, the streaming ploy with the skits is an absolute disgrace that 1) does nothing to help the album and 2) makes Lanez look more like a commercial puppet than a real artist - I hope I never the see the digital age compromise an artist like this ever again - as it ultimately sounds even worse than it looks).

 

In the end however Lanez makes a lot of statements on this album, and certainly solidifies himself as a supreme talent with multiple different dimensions, even if his critics would call him a jack of all trades yet a master of none. In reality though the fact that you can find multiple influences in his work shouldn’t automatically come with negative connotations, considering that if he blends all those unique styles in one then by the sheer definition he’s indeed one-of-a-kind after all. Take another young recording artist Logic for example, is the fact that he sounds like Cole, Drake, and Kendrick really a bad thing? Would it be better if he sounded like Gucci, Thugger, and Vert? Or perhaps he should have no influences at all and should just be a struggle rapper with no points of reference. Instead let’s come to grips with the fact that EVERY ARTIST is influenced by others who came before them, and if Lanez sounds like Drake and Trey Songz then that’s perfectly fine as long as he makes the same level of quality music. Furthermore that same sentiment can be applied to his desire to make music like Future and Fetty Wap, in spite of the peculiarity involved considering his vocal talents far exceeds them both. Nonetheless while his artistry shouldn’t be questioned his efficiency is certainly up for debate, thus if he’s to ever claim superstar status then ultimately his sophomore needs to be far better than his debut.

 

 

 

 

 

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