Tory Lanez Delivers an Ambitious Debut With ‘I Told You’
Up-and-coming rapper and singer Tory Lanez delivers an ambitious debut album with ‘I Told You’. It’s imperfect, but he showcases plenty of potential.
In urban music, being a dual threat is the “it” thing currently. With R&B “as cool as a cucumber” by itself, the ability to rap and sing has become common. Canadian-born Tory Lanez becomes the latest dual-threat in urban music, balancing rhymes, and sweet falsetto. With hits “Say It” and “LUV” under his belt, Lanez’s debut album, I Told You, became highly anticipated. Is I Told You worthy of the hype? Um…
I Told You has its moments, but as a whole, it’s a mixed bag. The praise that the album deserves is reserved for its ambitiousness, even if the execution pales in comparison. Though it’s respectable at 14 tracks deep, almost every song on I Told You includes an embedded interlude that extends the length. Sometimes this is good considering the interlude provides insight into Lanez, while other times, it bogs down the effort.
I Told You!
I Told You has highlights, even though such highlights aren’t necessarily commercial juggernauts. Opener “I Told You / Another One” introduces the world to Lanez, setting the tone for the album. Edgy, emotional, and energetic, the passion and openness are virtues. The nine-minute duration, not so much…
Beyond the opener, follow-up “Guns and Roses” contrasts from the topic of a tough life to love and the obstacles of love. Love is a prevalent issue throughout I Told You, even though sometimes it doesn’t seem to mesh with edgier moments. Lanez falsetto is flawless – a stark contrast to the gritty opener.
“Flex” is a flex-fest…what more can be said? Treated almost as a love song, “Flex” has no shortage of profanity and a hardnosed persona. Later down the track list, Lanez delivers the grittier “4 AM Flex,” which plays into the autobiographical vibe.
“Cold Hard Love”
Prior to “Cold Hard Love,” Lanez takes us “To D.R.E.A.M.,” the sketchy “4am Flex,” and “Friends with Benefits.” “Cold Hard Love” follows the sensual, slickly produced “Benefits”, continuing Lanez love for, well love. The single received our love prior to I Told You and remains enjoyable. Listening back to “Cold Hard Love,” while it’s still good, like so much of this album, it could use that extra nudge to ascend to the next level.
Interestingly, “High” follows, making it the third love/sex-oriented song consecutively. “Dirty Money” prudently changes the theme, without necessarily being the crème de la crème. The reflective “Question Is” ranks among the best, despite its exhaustive seven-minute length. A bit more traditional, the stability coupled with fine rhymes by Lanez solidifies its winning status.
“Say It” and “LUV”
“Loners Blvd” showcases Lanez’ vulnerability. Not necessarily a gem, the fact that he opens himself up is respectable. This particular song features an interlude about Lanez’ record deal with Interscope. It segues into “All Them Girls,” a good, if ‘been there, done that’ love song. The main attractions – “Say It” and “LUV” – conclude I Told You. At least Lanez saves the best for last – at least in regards to “Say It.”
All in all, I Told You is good, but not great or game changing. The potential is “written all over,” but not always realized. At times, I Told You seems to aim for conceptual, then there are three straight love songs that frustrate that notion. Many songs convey the intended message and appeal to an extent, but they don’t always deliver that knockout punch. Honestly, that’s the main rub of this debut. This type of album has been released previously, with more success. Still, a good start for TL.
Gems: “I Told You / Another One,” “Guns and Roses,” “Question Is” and “Say It”