Written Before Listen
Don Toliver is one of the most known melodic trap artists of the past few years. Being a Travis Scott protege also helps him get credit to get great producers such as Metro Boomin, Mike Dean, and Travis Scott himself. With that being said, I only really saw him as a Travis Scott downgrade from what I’ve heard. His melody vault is limited and his beat selection usually revives him, but let’s hope that changes after this review. Without further ado let’s get into it.
Let’s talk about Dons strongest element, his production. I think having Mike Dean as help comes to Dons benefit. A lot of these beats have psychedelic undertones, fuzzy guitar, and synthwave like synthesizers. The opening track for example is like a synth wave trap but minimal like a DONDA track. There are some nice beats on “Flocky Flocky” and “OUTERSPACE” as they both have these atmospheric synth arpeggios alongside a reverb-heavy atmosphere. On tracks like “Swangin On Westheimer” and “Drugs N Hella Melodies”, Don goes melancholic with slow drums, super atmospheric pads, and simple chord progressions. Similar to an introspective Drake R&B track. Overall, I think the production turned out great, unfortunately, that might be the only thing I enjoyed throughout the album
Don Toliver is not the most generic melodic trap artist, which is mainly because of his unique vocal timbre. There are times like on “5X” and “2 AM” where he takes away the unique timbre and goes more into a rap direction, but a lot of what I like from him is the unique timbre. The problem comes on when he thinks of melodies. I think he doesn’t go in the most original direction.
Let’s just state the obvious….he sounds too much like Travis Scott. The production, the melodies, and the lyrical subject are all Travis. It’s only the mainstream appealed side of Travis though. None of the unique flows, psychedelic outros, experimental vocal processing, or dynamic switches are here. It’s what makes an album like Huncho Jack a bad album. Surely, there are some Drake nods, some 6LACK nods, and some Young Thug nods but…Don is one “it’s lit” adlib away from sounding like a Travis clone.
Speaking of Travis Scott, he appears on two songs where he underperforms like crazy. It’s like he’s not on the record at all. Other than that, we get a nice Baby Keem feature as well as a solid Kali Uchis feature. We also get two forgettable features on the song “Smoke” with HVN and SoFaygo. The hook was annoying and the verses were forgettable. Yeah, it’s unfortunate because Don Toliver does good on features, it sucks that it cant go the other way.
Maybe I’ve been a little harsh, So let me say that there are a few tracks that I did enjoy. The opener for example is a nice atmospheric intro for the album. I enjoyed the synth arpeggios as well as the minimal drum pattern. I also liked the Kali Uchis track as well as “2 AM”. I will just say that Luckily, I like Travis Scott.
Overall, I think the overall picture of this album is terrible, but the music itself is tolerable when it’s on. There are only a couple of tracks that are pure skips but most tracks just underwhelmed me.