Life of a Don

Stars: 2.5/5 

In the past two years, hip-hop/R&B artist Don Toliver has been staking his claim in the music industry, working alongside some of the biggest names in the rap game such as Travis Scott and Quavo. While Toliver has been successful in creating a name for himself since gaining such traction, it is safe to say that Scott’s influence is very visible in his new album “Life of a Don”, and not necessarily in a good way.  

The Houston native’s debut studio album was released back in 2020, titled “Heaven or Hell”. The album featured some of Toliver’s most popular tracks such as “No Idea” and “After Party”; songs that also allowed the artist to gain popularity on the video-sharing app TikTok. Since then, fans have been waiting patiently for his new album. Some are impressed, while others are not as moved by his new work.

Sultry, lush beats that Toliver's music is known for are abundant and equal to his catchy and smooth verses featuring hypnotizing voice. The skips outnumber the  standout songs. The lead single of the album, “What You Need”, released back in May as a result of his record label accidentally leaking it. This being one of the few outstanding tracks sadly doesn’t leave a lot of room for success in the rest of the album. 

The other single released in June prior to the album is the eighth track, “Drugs N Hella Melodies” featuring R&B singer Kali Uchis. The instrumental of the song is enough to keep fans of lo-fi beats interested, although the dull vocals and lackluster lyrics does not do enough to make it a notable track. The first Travis Scott feature, “Flocky Flocky,” is another disappointing song. The song is almost so reminiscent of Scott’s work that it does not give Toliver the musical autonomy he had in “Heaven or Hell”. 

Amongst these other flops are a few gems, such as “5X”, which only stood out mainly because of the catchy and repetitive beat that keeps throughout the song. Once again, Toliver’s lyricism was not impressive in this song. Even though the artist is not known for having thought-provoking lyrics, there may have been more hope for each track if there were more lyrically-pleasing verses. 

On the track “Swangin’ on Westheimer,”  Toliver reflects on a relationship from the past, with the story taking place on an arterial road from the artist’s hometown, called Westheimer. The song possesses the same repetitive beat pattern that most of the other tracks do in the album, but stands out due to the storytelling aspect of the song, giving listeners a glimpse into Toliver’s upbringing. 

Overall, there was little to be dazzled by in this album chock-full of unvarying beats and uninspiring lyrics. While Toliver’s career continues to skyrocket as a result of the connections he has and ongoing popularity of past songs, he still has room to grow and a sound to cultivate that is hopefully not as similar to his rap mentor. Even though most of his hit songs end up becoming TikTok dances, I would not be surprised if these songs failed to appear on my for you page.

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