Editor’s note: This article contains explicit language and profanity. The writer quoted lyrics and titles containing the N-word and other profanity. They are not the writer’s words.
Tory Lanez recently brought the party to people’s homes with “Quarantine Radio” on Instagram Live, which grabbed the attention of over 350,000 viewers until Instagram’s CEO banned the livestream for violating Instagram’s policy against “nudity” due to the fact that Lanez had women twerk and pour milk over their behinds. The ordeal went viral on social media and it lent Lanez the platform he needed to drop his fifth studio album “The New Toronto 3” on April 10, featuring artists Lil Tjay and Mansa. Despite attracting attention and hosting the arguably most entertaining livestream this pandemic has seen, “The New Toronto 3” debuted at #2 on Apple music and had a mere 55-65k overall consumption tally. Less than 20% of the viewers he had on Instagram actually tuned in to his album.
It was surprising that Lanez’ album did not fare extremely well on the top charts, especially considering he was an internet sensation, and had over 15 million monthly listeners on Spotify and the endorsement of other Toronto rappers, such as Drake and The Weeknd. The truth is the album did not do exceptionally well because it was mediocre at best since Lanez has yet to establish himself as a strong rapper. He has received more acclaim for his R&B projects.
However, this does not mean “The New Toronto 3” was a complete dud; it was a fun listen and it was entertaining to hear Lanez trade his usual amorous vocals for authoritative rapping as he tries to lurk out the shadows of Drake and The Weeknd to prove he is “the best rapper alive.”
“The New Toronto 3” has a total of 16 tracks, but the length is relatively painless since most songs last no longer than three minutes. Lanez opens his album with “Pricey and Spicy,” whose music production unintentionally resembles 90% of Meek Mill’s discography. Lanez’ lyrics demand respect simply because he is now wealthy and owns expensive clothing. “Talk to me nicely / When I pull up, I’m stunting … New Givenchy and Saint Laurent, this shit pricey,” he raps, setting the tone for the rest of the album.
Lanez’ newfound arrogance and cold heart can be attributed to his quick success, which he found only after struggling with money, selling drugs and finding out how people took advantage of him. He discusses these topics in his songs “The Coldest Playboy,” “Accidents Happen” and arguably every other song on the album.
Luckily, Lanez is not entirely immune to emotions and compassion, as he raps about how proud he is of his One Umbrella Records signees in the song “Letter To The City 2.” “I’m tryna see all of my niggas blossom / Mariah selling shows, Coachella her first year / Mansa dropping next month, you niggas should be in fear,” Lanez raps. He even goes on to state his next move in the music industry, which is becoming an independent artist. It is evident in the tone of his voice that he could not be more excited, “The next move is going fully independent / And any label offer under 100 mil’ is just offensive, I promise.” Lanez recognizes his talent and is tired of having his worth undermined by the labels he is signed to, even though he does so himself by rapping about superficial themes throughout his album. If Lanez only exuberated the humble lyrical themes he demonstrates in the last stanzas of “Letter To The City 2” throughout the entirety of his album, then Lanez might have been considered for the title of “best rapper alive.”
The production throughout the project is not entirely repetitive like Lanez’ lyrics. “Broke in a Minute” is by far the catchiest song on the album thanks to the fluttering saxophone sample. “Penthouse Red” pays respect to Lanez’ R&B roots and sultry nature as he softens his voice to sing to that one special woman in his life. But the song that stands out the most is “Stupid Again.” The track humorously opens up with a sample of professional MMA artist Connor McGregor saying, “I’d like to take this chance to apologize to absolutely nobody / The double champ does what the fuck he wants!” Tory’s snapping lyrics and egotistical trap beat follow, making listeners bop their heads to the beat of the music.
Overall, “The New Toronto 3” is a decent-to-mediocre album, as Lanez tries his best to develop his rapping skills and prove he can do way more than seduce listeners with his gentle R&B vocals. He also shows he is fighting against Drake and The Weeknd to become the best artist to represent the sound of Toronto, hence Lanez’ title, “The New Toronto.” The determination and passion fueling Tory Lanez’ album is worthy of respect, though he needs more time to build his music abilities before being crowned King of Toronto.
Angela Silva is an Entertainment Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.