AOTY 2022
Don Toliver - Life of a DON
Oct 11, 2021
64
(Review starts after this short note, so just skip over it if you wanna only read that)

Before I get started with the review, I wanted to get a few things out of the way regarding how I'm gonna be reviewing in future. By no means does this mean I'm gonna stop reviewing music; I genuinely love hearing new music and other recs I find off here and, although I may not be the most vocal person in it, I think the AOTY community is awesome and I love interacting with everyone in it. As of late, though, I haven't been able to find as much motivation to write long, in-depth reviews like I usually do. Sometimes, it takes like a full day for me to review an album after I hear it, which I feel has hindered a fair few of my reviews. So I can go back to reviewing super regularly like I once did (save for busy periods and that), I've decided that I'm gonna run my AOTY more like my Letterboxd, where I write shorter or longer reviews based on my mood or just the amount of thoughts I have regarding the project. Sorry for all those who preferred my more in-depth stuff; they won't be gone, just a little more irregular.

Anyways, on with the review...

Don Toliver's "Life of a Don" is a record that, despite its admirable at its heights, is inconsistent to say the very least. Featuring some tracks that effectively display the Houston pop rappers sharp sonic attention and fantastic vocals, alongside others that feel they only exist to pad the runtime out to fifty-one minutes. The biggest cause to these inconsistencies, I found, was that Don Toliver played it very safe on this record. Over the past couple of years, where he's found himself meteorically rising to fame, he's established a sound combining trap and pop-rap elements with his more melodic vocals, which, without a doubt, has played a significant role in such a rise. It's a formula that's worked very well for him, so Toliver, understandably, felt his sophomore record was a prime opportunity to strengthen his sound and appease his existing fanbase. By focusing such a large portion of his attention on the record, when things work, they work really well. Don's silky vocals wonderfully play off the similarly melodic voice of Kali Uchis on "Drugs N Hella Melodies" as well as Travis Scott's wavy autotune on "Flocky Flocky", but his own individual talents also steal some of the spotlight on tracks like the breezy opener "XSCAPE". However, this lack of versatility also causes many misses, tracks that, in retrospect, are vapid, empty pits in the record's atmosphere. Songs where, in an effort to 'expand' on his sound, Don does nothing unique, fresh or exciting, getting far too comfortable far too quickly to conjure anything impactful. I mean, I love sophomore projects where artists experiment a little, try something new and bold to add to their artistic integrity. But, here, even on the better cuts, there wasn't really any of that, so I left the record feeling somewhat empty, unsure of a striking element to really grip onto. Don Toliver's "Life of a Don" has some solid cuts where the rapper presents the heights of his style, but his hesitance to deviate or expand on it ultimately renders the project quite forgettable alongside its contemporaries.

Best Tracks: XSCAPE, Flocky Flocky, Drugs N Hella Melodies
Worst Tracks: 5X, Get Throwed, Smoke

Rating: C

4 Comments
1y
Don't worry, you shouldn't force yourself to write long, detailed reviews if you don't feel like it, I'm sure people will love your shorter reviews equally!! Completely agree, great review! :)
1y
@Cry thank you so much for the support g; can't say how much I've appreciated all of it
1y
I agree with Cry, the important thing is to enjoy yourself and you know that the important thing is also to
deliver the analysis or the significant point whether it's a short or long review
And Great review!
1y
@DoubleZ thank you so much
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