Review: Tory Lanez – Lost Cause
Out of all the mixtapes in rotation this week, Tory Lanez’s Lost Cause is just unreal.
Well known by his hardcore following, Lanez’s talents have been slept on for a while. After
several listens, I am convinced that Lost Cause is Tory Lanez’s statement to the majors to take
him seriously. If you are looking for some more of that Toronto wordplay made famous by
OVO’s Drake, Tory Lanez provides with Lost Cause.
“Grandma’s Crib” is the intro and for good reason. Although just a short listen, it sets up
a look back attitude to the mixtape as a whole. The song title refers to when T Lanez was kicked
out of his Grandma’s house because she viewed him as a deadbeat, a instance he constantly
references to throughout the tape. This opener also hints at Tory’s versatility early on, displaying
his ability to rap and sing just seconds into the mixtape. Lost Cause truthfully pulls you in though
with “Mama Told Me”, which is worth a download in it of its self for its tough bars. Halfway
through, the cut calms down though and segues into a Drake-like number reminiscent of the
atmospheric Nothing Was the Same (2013). The sound in no way feels stolen though as Tory’s
voice is unique to the game and is rid of a larger than life ego.
Lost Cause’s substance then proceeds to mellow out with three tracks called “Dry Your
I’s”, “Gold” and “Selfish York University” interspersed between the bangers. Meant for those
who want more of an R&B sound, these are good enough in their own right for any listener of
hip-hop really. This is the side to Lanez that originally put him on, however much low key, with
Chixtape 2 and Sincerely Tory. The content of those projects were a lot more sexual than Lost
Cause, so maybe revisit them if you have a girl in mind. Don’t let Lanez’s softer music get to
your perception of him though, he still raps that ill stuff.
Back to that heavy. “Priceless” is loud, drawing on trumpets that I swear are straight out
of a high school marching band. The percussion just adds this certain roughness. Tory does four
verses, which is a lot for us to appreciate coming from such a new rapper. On this one there is
also this gangsta chick with a London accent who adlibs throughout, that in-turn compliments
the hard beat. Track 10 or “The Mission” is as far as Lost Cause goes. The production, direction
and lyricism culminate into one amazing number. Following up “Priceless”, “the Mission” is an
honest assessment by Tory of where he’s at right now. Lanez does something really different
here by slowing down his rap against a paced beat, starting “Can someone tell that bitch, take ya
shoes off at the door. When she walk all on my marble floor, I stunt like I’m supposed to” before
transitioning into the content of his verses. It’s a cool attempt and I applaud the experimentation.
Closing track “the Godfather” is the only thing I have against this drop. Sampling-no
surprise here-is covered by the soundtrack to 1972’s The Godfather. It just feels like a cop out to
use that piece and the track doesn’t agree with the overall direction that I saw happening with
Lost Cause. The actual outro in my opinion could have rested with either “The Mission” or
“Henny in Hand”, that is where Lost Cause really ends in my opinion. However much the wrong
call, during the instances where the sample drowns out for Tory’s bars to come through, I dig it.
Plus the vid he shot for it is pretty sweet too.
In whole, what I walk away with most about this release is that it is absent of features,
showcasing Tory’s ability to carry himself. In terms of getting people to understand you as an
artist, this type of shit is key. I wish more rappers would follow Lanez’s example, but instead
the best of them load their singles/albums with a host of huge names. It’s honestly refreshing to
see what Tory Lanez has done with this October project. Dealing with family woes and the fact
that he’s blowing up, Lanez is using his music as an emotional device. Music aside, you have
to respect an individual who is so forthcoming about all that. Having produced a majority of the
tracks himself, Lost Cause is incredibly structured.
Lost Cause is a lot of in retrospect for Tory and although that may seem too personal, you
can’t help but ride with him. This mixtape is no sob story, its Lanez understanding that although
he’s been called a lost cause the reality is he’s much more than usual. Someone who overcomes
doubt like that, deserves a moment to celebrate and explain their drive.
Download it here
Christian Westermann | News Cult