This DJ Drama-endorsed mixtape proves that Tory Lanez is ready for the big time.
For a few years now, Tory Lanez has been considered to have the potential to be Canada’s next Drake-level break-out rap star. His latest mixtape, Confessions of My Soul: The 416 Story, makes it seem like he may finally be ready to make that next big leap.
The mixtape—”presented” by DJ Drama, who is best known for helping Lil Wayne with his mid-career reboot—is essentially a concept album about a love triangle turned deadly. You don’t have to get too invested in the plot, though. Lanez’s elastic flow on songs like “Fourteen & 40s” and “Taken x G Party” is engaging on its own. (You can listen to “Fourteen & 40s” by clicking on the sample above.)
Equally impressive is Lanez’s ability to sing his own hooks. There are lots of rappers who try to do this, and most of them shouldn’t. Lanez’s airy, PBR&B-style tenor is strong enough that he could conceivably carry an album with just his singing. “Driver” is probably the most impressive example of this. He can also do that Future-style not-quite-rapping/not-quite-singing thing and manages to pull it off without sounding like a Future wannabe.
Let’s be clear. Confessions of My Soul is by no means a flawless record. It’s not the best rap record we’ve heard this year. It’s not even the best Torontonian rap record we’ve heard this year. (This is the best Torontonian rap record we’ve heard this year, if you were wondering.) The “concept album” bit feels a little tacked on, and the skits that move it forward are sort of corny. All that said, none of these sins are unforgivable, and most of them will probably appeal to some listeners.
Confessions of My Soul manages to sound tough enough to avoid getting hit with the “soft” tag that has turned Drake into a meme, while also providing the syrupy R&B choruses that are the key to pop-rap success.