Houston born Don Toliver’s second studio album is more varied, more elegant, and more personal. Don Toliver is without a doubt the voice of the moment.
Little more than a year and a half has been enough for Don Toliver to make a new album; one that definitively consecrates him as the superstar that he already seemed to be for months. “Heaven Or Hell” was his debut album, with which he fell in love with a large part of his audience and laid the foundations for everything that has come after. But seen in perspective, perhaps it is a somewhat flat album, with a somewhat repetitive Don Toliver in terms of flows and somewhat scattered themes.
Now he seems to be more clear about what he wants to tell us on this new album, in addition to having learned to take advantage of his majestic voice with new records (like the one we heard on “Moon”, his participation in Kanye West’s album).
In “Life of a DON”, the artist tries to bring us closer to his real life, to his most personal side. If it is true that it does not enter into family themes or childhood stories as other artists do, we can see a Don Toliver in love, who is much more intimate and romantic in many of the album’s cuts. We can see this from the beginning, with the first two tracks . In both “XSCAPE” and “5X” he makes clear his love for someone (predictably his partner, singer Kali Uchis). In the first we hear an elegant and calm instrumental, with a Gift that matches that vibe with its deep timbre. Also the first of the outrosby MIKE DEAN based on synthesizers, which put us in an atmosphere already familiar in the Cactus Jack releases. “5X” increases the intensity somewhat with a beat and flow from Don that reminds us of Drake. Here she follows that same sexy and intimate line.
With “Way Bigger” trap sounds appear for the first time on the album. Here Don Toliver shows his chest with a more aggressive flow and a faster cadence. The catchy chorus and post-chorus leave us in a difficult loop to escape. Right after we have the first of two collaborations with his mentor Travis Scott, “Flocky Flocky.” Once again, after collaborations like “CAN’T SAY” or “WHAT TO DO?”, They demonstrate their perfect chemistry by singing about their fast-paced lifestyle. One of the great bangers on the album, with a low-key cut and stratospheric production thanks to MU Lean, Cardo and Dez Wright.
From this moment and during the next four songs, we enter the quietest part of the album. R & b, romantic lyrics and above all, the collaboration with the woman from whom all this inspiration comes. Especially noteworthy is the beautiful “Swangin ‘On Westheimer” with a Don that we had never heard before and “Drugs N Hella Melodies”, the collaboration with Kali Uchis that we were talking about, where they both declare their love over a magical instrumental.
After this we return little by little to the more lively rhythms with “2AM” where Don reuses that flow that we mentioned from the song “Moon” with Kanye West and Kid Cudi. But above all with “Get Throwed”, a very danceable song and a beat full of details. He also enters fully into the trap with “Company Pt 2”, the continuation of the theme from his previous album where he spoke of a heartbreak, but now having overcome it.
In the final stretch of the project we have three collaborations in a row. First, Baby Keem returns the favor of “Cocoa” and rides on Don’s album in “OUTERSPACE.” As we saw in many of the songs on Keem’s album, this one has two parts; the first with a hypnotic beat where the artists flow relaxed. The second, with a sound much more come upstairs to get us up from our seats. But if there is one song that can lift everyone who hears it off their seats, it is undoubtedly “Smoke”. With the participation of HVN and SoFaygo, Don Toliver has created an authentic banger(and an ode to smoking) that, as we could see in Summer Smash, ‘knocks down’ the stages. Who said you couldn’t make a great chorus with just one word?
We lowered the mood with “You”, the second collaboration between Don and Travis on this album. This suggestive and melodic track seems dedicated to their respective loves. Almost to finish we have “Crossfaded”, with a fast trap-pop, again with that cloying theme and that even reminds us of this type of song that Justin Bieber has released.
Now yes, as the final theme Don Toliver has chosen a classic flow in the style of “Heaven Or Hell” to close in style. “BOGUS” sums up very well what ‘the life of a DON’ is: private flights, Lamborghinis, expensive watches… All packed in a trap with one of those flutes that we like so much on the beat.
More varied, purer, more intense, more GIFT. A great project that gives reason to believe that Don Toliver is one of the most promising artists on the American scene; and that will open the eyes of those who are still asleep without having discovered this great talent from Houston.