Published Oct 01, 2014Being a triple-threat is a big boast, but Canadian rapper Tory Lanez not only lives up to the task, but expands it. Combining confident rap, R&B coos, technical production skills and an extreme gift for storytelling, Lanez pools his talent into an elevated hybrid of modern hip-hop on his latest free LP, Lost Cause.
The 12-track offering enlists the production help of Noah Breakfast and fellow Canadian soundsmiths Ryan Hemsworth, Daniel Worthy and Burd Keyz, but welcomes no rapping guests. Lanez sets the tone for the audio memoir straight out of the gate with unmistakable passion and hungry delivery on "Grandmas Crib." He isn't here to flex with big-named features like he's done in the past, or rely on the wave of what's hot in rap at the moment (by borrowing sounds or flows) to garner attention. He's here to preach the gospel of real life, according to his personal experiences. And as the son of a preacher, the task isn't a difficult one.
"Mama Told Me" is an emotional contribution detailing the struggle of achieving his dreams after the loss of his biggest supporter and teacher, while "A Week Straight" is an honest account of his come-up and unyielding drive to do whatever it takes to provide for himself and his family. The mood is darker and more enriched with personal stories and emotion than past projects. With production that could bang in any club, Lanez takes the opportunity to add enhanced content to the knocking bass, rather than deliver another club anthem. The project's singles, "The Godfather" and "The Mission," are a testament to that.
Although at times too comparable to Northern neighbour Drake, it's difficult to hold the similarities against Lanez. Anyone who sings and raps from Toronto is bound to be compared to Aubrey, regardless. His redemption, however, comes with the honesty and evident passion in his lyrics and powerful delivery, which make Lost Cause not so lost at all. (Independent)