Written by Admin on December 10, 2019
The latest installment in Tory Lanez’s Chixtape series is another attempt to recreate the recent past. This time, the rapper/singer remakes early-’00s R&B hits alongside their original creators. As an anthropological exercise, it’s kind of fascinating. As music, it strains to hold your attention, pulling you back to old hits without doing much besides reminding you they existed.
Lanez tries to impose a narrative, using skits as exposition. The story offers a long-winded account of Lanez cheating on a woman who then pays a second woman to set Lanez up by seducing and then leaving him (why anyone would do this is unclear); the album somehow ends with Lanez claiming to be the victim, guilt-tripping the woman who was paid. None of this matters, except as an excuse to cram in more early-’00s references (“You know WASSUP!”, Lanez belches to his friend at one point, referencing the old Budweiser ad campaign.)
At over an hour long, the album suffers from sag and bloat. Each song loses momentum after the first minute, despite the endless parade of guest stars – Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Mario — popping by. Still, there are moments where the experiment almost works: “Jerry Sprunger,” a song constructed around T-Pain’s “I’m Sprung” featuring T-Pain himself, is a silky AutoTuned banger. “Beauty in the Benz,” a remix of Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s “Beautiful,” unfolds around a mediocre Snoop verse, with enough twinkles in the production to make you bob your head reflexively.
The rare songs that don’t feature a prominent sample fit into the world Lanez has created: featureless, water-soluble R&B. Songs like “Broken Promises” are pretty enough on the surface to distract from the lyrics. “The Fargo Splash” snatches the “Oh!” refrain from Ludacris’s “Splash Waterfalls” and a few lines from the song, but it’s hampered by Lanez’s clumsy lyrics: “McDonald’s chicken fries, thick as thighs.” Ludacris one-ups him with the even-worse “Left the pussy on the deathbed/ Been killing the game since I was breastfed.”
This approach to women extends to the guests. Ashanti, who appears on the album cover, sounds stunning on the remake of “Foolish,” but Tory doesn’t give her the space to shine, cutting her off with his warbling. (It also bears noting that Chris Brown is on this album, chirping along to a new version of his song, “Take You Down.”) Ultimately, despite the concept behind the album, or how much effort Lanez clearly went into creating it, it’s hard to enjoy the music when the results are this puerile. The only reason the Chixtape series exists is to create decent songs out of once-great ones, and all of the prominent samples in the world can’t change that.
Buy: Rough Trade
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