One of the hottest emerging artists in 2016 has been Tory Lanez. The Toronto rapper and singer has been making his way into mainstream music since the release of his hit lead single “Say It.” Many fans were expecting something grand with Lanez’s debut album, “I Told You.” Unfortunately, they’ll be listening to one of the most disappointing albums of 2016 so far.
Tory Lanez has the potential to be a huge artist. His prior mixtapes have shown he’s at his best when he focuses on the R&B side of the spectrum. Past songs like “N.A.M.E” and “Karruche” stand the test of time and sound as good, if not better, than most of the tracks on the album.
The overall concept and theme surrounding the album is highly entertaining. Listeners follow Daystar Peterson, aka Tory Lanez, on his journey to fame from 2008 till now. They are let into the harsh life of Lanez as he goes from being homeless and a gangbanger, to finding his love for music and pursuing it as a career.
The story is told across 14 tracks, which also consists of 14 skits. However, an artist’s album has a huge problem if listeners are skipping the music to get to the skits. That’s something that will happen constantly across the album.
Luckily, the album isn’t a total waste. The productionof “I Told You” is truly top notch. Each track feels like their own entity and has its own feel.
The sound of “Guns and Roses” is warm, open and heartfelt. “Question Is,” which is on the opposite end of the spectrum, feels cold, secluded and hopeless. The production quality is varied throughout the tracks. Lanez and his team create a sound unique to Lanez himself. The production is probably the best part about this album, aside from a few standout songs.
This album gets bogged down due to Lanez’s need to tell the listener about his rise to fame. While everyone loves an underdog story, it has to be told in a way that is entertaining to many.
The problem with “I Told You” is that it focuses more on the story, rather than the music. It feels like Lanez is merely rapping to rap because 95 percent of the tracks have no hooks. There is too much content within each track and with the lack of something to break up the flows, it feels overwhelming at times.
Moreover, Lanez isn’t that good of lyricist, in fact, he’s a better singer. Conversely, “Loners Blvd” is the only track that makes Lanez seem like a competent emcee. On the track, he recounts why he became a rapper and tells the listener of his first time ever performing live.
“Loners Blvd” inspires and evokes emotion unlike any other song on the entire album. “Me? Imma go far/ I can still dream in this world full of stars/ I can still scheme in this world full of narcs/ so Imma dream, I’mma dream, dream/ I’mma dream like you said to me/ Best words that were said to me,” he raps over a piano driven production.
If it wasn’t for the guitar driven ballad “Guns and Roses,” the dancehall inspired “Luv,” or the 90s groove of “Say It,” this album would’ve been a complete flop. As a fan of Lanez, it pains me to say that his prior work was better. It seems that the best things out of Canada are still maple syrup and Drake.