Tory Lanez – The New Toronto 3
Beyond the third installment in the The New Toronto series, Tory's latest mixtape represents a pivotal moment in his career.
For starters, Tory has never been more in the headlines than he is right now. Since the coronavirus-induced quarantine was put into place in the U.S. a couple of weeks ago, Tory has hilariously capitalized on rap fans' free time with his "Quarantine Radio" Instagram Live sessions.
Driven by all-star cameos from Drake, Megan Thee Stallion and, most recently, Alexis Texas (NSFW), he's broken viewership records and redefined the boundaries of live streaming. He even finessed Instagram into lifting a temporary ban on his Live access after getting the attention of CEO Adam Mosseri.
The New Toronto 3 is also the artist's last project under Interscope, something he's been highly vocal about leading up to the Friday, April 10, release date.
As a result of this stressful relationship, Tory claimed he "had to dumb down my creativity , and not give y’all the 100% of quality in my music that y’all deserved to hear for so long." With this latest tape, though, fans are given "a small taste of what’s to come."
That taste is a promising one, too.
Fans are well-aware of Tory's ability to make high-energy tracks like "Stupid Again" and "Broke In A Minute," but what may be even more impressive is the awareness and skill he possesses to step into an alternate zone and channel new layers of lyrical prowess. On "Adidas," he's relentless and overtly real.
"I put this on my baby, this being broke shit done drove me crazy / All my friends done got ghost and went Swayze," he raps.
If Tory chooses to sign another record deal, you can bet he will be far from any sort of broke sh*t.
22Gz – Growth & Development
As the title of the album suggests, 22Gz has been wholly focused on the growth and development of his sound ever since emerging at the forefront of the Brooklyn drill scene with 2018's "Suburban." In fact, Pitchfork's Alphonse Pierre credits 22Gz as well as Sheff G with establishing "Brooklyn drill as a legitimate hip-hop subgenre."
Aside from garnering the resources to achieve professional mixes, 22Gz's progression in less than two years' time is impressive. Most noticeable through the emphatic and fierce delivery of his lyrics and ad-libs, the haunting "No Questions," produced by frequent collaborator Ghosty, places these characteristics on full display.
"They wonder how 22 lasted / Run in, they run out the back end / Stick that boy up for the packet," he proclaims over slippery 808s and a mesmerizing loop.
You may want to listen to this one in the biggest room you have, 'cause 22Gz will have you bouncing off the walls.
2KBABY – Pregame Rituals
No discussion about contemporary hip-hop style is complete without the mention of sing-rap.
Originally popularized by Atlanta talents Future and Young Thug, sing-rap or crooning blends the firm sound of traditional rapping with the more graceful act of singing, transforming the way lyrics reach a listener's ears.
For 2KBABY, he found his way to sing-rap during a six-hour drive from his hometown of Louisville to no place other than Atlanta, the birthplace of the sound.
Listening to Calboy's "Envy Me" on repeat, he was inspired to create a song with a more melodic foundation than he was used to. "As soon as I got to the A, I was like, 'Damn, I think I can sing or some sh*t,'" he recalled during an interview with Complex.
While 2KBABY is part of a long list of artists who have successfully adopted and tweaked their own sing-rap style (Roddy Ricch, Trippie Redd, etc.), his is uniquely special due to the emotionality that lies behind each and every word.
On one of a couple of occasions where he went viral, a clip of him performing an a cappella version of his song "Old Streets" was captioned with "Can you feel the pain in his voice!?"
Roughly six months later, 2KBABY's singing is just as eager but a little more refined across his long-awaited debut project, Pregame Rituals.
While he's still learning which instrumentals best pair with his Southernly-tinged vocals, there are plenty of instances when listeners are reminded just how catchy his flows can be. Take the extended chorus on "20K": "Dummy knots inside my socks, 'member used to sell clothes / It's twenty shots inside this Glock, lil' mami throwin' elbows."
Shut your eyes and enjoy the ride with 2KBABY.