Don Toliver is an immensely talented artist, and his latest album does not fall anything short of a masterful piece showcasing the breadth of his abilities.
Life of a DON was released on October 8 and boasts 16 tracks maintaining true to Don Toliver’s signature eerie, auto-tuned vocals. As an artist, Don Toliver has an almost far away, eerily dreamy aspect to his music. While it could be argued that this album is lacking in highly original lyrics, the cadence of Don Toliver’s beats is what makes both him and this album stand out.
“2 AM”, one of the coolest tracks on the album, has an incredibly punchy backbeat layered with Toliver’s piercing voice that spans a wide range of vocals.
Two tracks on the album “Flocky Flocky” and “You” feature fellow rap superstar Travis Scott. Travis Scott also happens to be a major influence and mentor for Toliver, as he is signed to Scott’s label Cactus Jack through which this album was produced. Scott and Toliver’s music styles favor one another in the sort of “out of this world” essence they embody, so their styles complement each other on these tracks. “Flocky Flocky” takes on a slightly more aggressive beat than the rest of the tracks on the album and contains almost alien-sounding instrumentals. “You” on the other hand, possesses a more light and airy backbeat initially, with the enchanting intro beat sounding almost fairylike.
Another highlight of the album is the track “Drugs N Hella Melodies” featuring artist Kali Uchis. This track is mellifluous with Toliver and Uchis harmonizing seamlessly through the entirety of the song. The backbeat is smooth and rhythmic, implying utter sensuality with Uchis’ repeated lyric of “But I’m the girl you needed that you never had” juxtaposed with Toliver’s line “no place I can’t go. Love ain’t here, no”.
“XSCAPE” is another interesting and jazzy track, and is the opening song for this album. With elements of classical music like violin and piano, the listener can hear the faint clapping of hands to work alongside the slow, melodic beat.
The song “What You Need” was first released as a single, and sounds similar to the sound on his prior album. Reaching popularity prior to the release of this album, “What You Need” is another masterpiece that fills listeners’ ears with artful hooks that keep you hitting replay.
In Toliver’s track “Double Standards”, with his lyrics he dives into the human experience of how we see one another based on perceptions. Opening with the powerful lines below, he takes us on a journey of how people may perceive their potential lovers.
“It’s so hard to be human
It’s so hard to just live and learn with all of your mistakes
It’s double standards on all this (oo-oo)
It’s got you movin’ with caution”
Even more so than with his last album, Toliver confirms in the ears of the listener how masterful a melodist he truly is, and his creativity and personality shine through in this entire album.
Listen to Life of a DON below.
Overall Rating For Life of a Don : 9.5/10
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