Tory Takes A Lead With His Sophomore Release..."Memories Dont Die" [Hip-Hop Where You At?
Dodging any inclination to what Hot97 radio host Rosenberg called the “sophomore slump”, Tory Lanez has carried his success in the industry forward with MEMORIES DONT DIE, an album that expresses the dazzling highs and the cold tragedies of life through the eyes of a well-traveled Brampton yute. Opening with a Capella rap verse/poem on MEMORIES, Lanez sets the vividly reflective tone of the project, speaking on his life before fame. On Old Friends x New Foes, a two-part track beginning with an ambient, mid-tempo instrumental, Tory melodically muses about the old, new, and real friends in his world before taking off with flossy flows declaring his position in the midst of all the noise: “all 100s, all green-blue, you swear I’m playin’ for the Hornets/but I’m playin’ for the T-City”.
On Shooters (music video on YouTube), Lanez spits his usual sing-song style raps, mentioning his run-in with the law down in Broward County, Florida: “caught a felony and beat that shit the next week”. Skrt Skrt, another track coupled with a music video, gets down to the roots with a Dancehall/Reggae inspired rhythm and melody, keeping the party behavior alive on the project. Hypnotized is also Dancehall inspired and seasoned with melodic flows, and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to lyrics; Lanez comes in clear cut as a diamond and stays true to the Toronto vibes, keeping a hold on his niche with a sound reminiscent of Dancehall DJs like Beenie Man or Barrington Levy.
48 Floors (featuring Mansa) and 4 Me are a bit more melody focused than the rest, with Lanez vocalizing over R&B and pop style beats. For the hardcore Hip Hop fans, Lanez plants his foot firmly as a spitter with Benevolent, leaving no room for the serenade. On Hate To Say, Lanez addresses the alleged beef with Drake and also mentions the static with Travis $cott, and it’s notable that the Bramptonian rapper had a humility about him when it came to these situations: “...I spit subliminal dissin', just tryna rip shit/not realizin' if I took the time to kick it and me and Drake mendin' bridges it'd probably equal to winnin'”.
A few key players in the Hip Hop/Rap industry made appearances on the album as well; Future tags in on Real Thing for a spaced out trap&party record, Fabolous flexes for a few bars on Connection along with Davo & Paloma Ford with the R&B vocals, Wiz Khalifa drops a few jewels on Hillside, and Rexdale rapper NAV turns some attention to B-Town in his verse on Dance For Me - another party record you can hit a dab to.
Lanez explores a more serious narrative with Pieces, inscribing stories about the pain and emotional damage of child rape and fatherlessness. The track features 50 Cent, who accurately describes the feel of the track in his verse: “a little Nas, a little 2Pac; Brenda’s having a baby”. On the more heartfelt Happiness x Tell Me, Lanez recalls his mother’s untimely death, and harmonizes his pain over another mid-tempo instrumental.
Most of the production credit goes to Play Picasso, with some work from a few others, like C-Sick, BobbyMadeThat, the legendary AraabMuzik, and Lavish to name a few. Mansa contributes to some of the drum work as well.
MEMORIES DON’T DIE definitely creates the atmosphere for a cinematic experience, and, according to a recent interview, Tory has an upcoming movie project to match the music. The album covers ground sound-wise, and has the elements that make it one to remember in the mainstream music climate.