Published Jan 22, 2016One of two new Tory Lanez mixtapes, New Toronto offers come-up tales in the form of trap bangers and crude, singsong lyrics. Contrary to its title, however, it doesn't quite offer up a new sound. Although Lanez has recently begun earning major industry clout, the release won't strike listeners as particularly challenging, and is unlikely to push him any closer to stardom or a position of influence.
Lanez's goal, to reflect on and speak for (or at least to) a generation of Torontonians, is one shared a number of other current rappers, but unfortunately, he doesn't quite hit the mark here; while he touches on the subject of the city a few times, shouting out TO neighbourhoods and referencing taking the TTC on the Play Picasso-produced track "Makaveli," most of the tape is restricted to Lanez' personal experiences. "Traphouse" is a seemingly soft-approached song, but the crude lyrics — "Its some reasons why I had to kick your ass out / You not turnt, bitch, you not lit, you bout to pass out" — are neither thought provoking nor Toronto-centric. "One Day" features auto tune-laced crooning from Tory, but while he sounds great, it's a bit of a snooze lyrically. "Woods" is a better, vibe-y song, less about the lyrics and more about how Lanez stretches his words and slurs to evoke a relaxed feeling.
The rapper-singer is very talented, and has demonstrated strong desire and potential to transcend Canada's hip-hop industry and break across the border, but the phoned-in, easily digestible nature of New Toronto won't be his ticket there.