Don… Toliver?

Salute the god Cillian Dubock who killed this @foxyduboxy @hagbox3

Travis Scott loves to sing shit like ‘I’m DrOwNinG iN EuPhoRia’ because he’s a CIA-funded android designed to quell dissent through the proliferation of vibes who was programmed to believe that euphoria is this really wavy vibe that humans experience. Emotions are purely aesthetic for androids like Travis Scott and Post Malone. A lot of the best music occupies the mainstream but there will always be bloodsuckas who rip off and repurpose innovations leaving all the emotion behind. 

But we here at DS controversially declared the third best rap song of 2018 to be a Travis Scott feat. Don Toliver song that seemed to be incorrectly listed because Don Toliver swallowed the whole track and made Travis Scott even more redundant than he usually is. One of the most disappointing musical experiences I have quite frequently is when I have to listen to that song and hear Travis Scott for a third round of the hook after Don did the second one, killed it then delivers a barnstormer of a verse. I will one day make a proper version. After that song, I thought, as long as Don Toliver is alive, Travis Scott should not be allowed near a microphone. Give Don all the Travis Scott beats. If Travis comes up with something good, let Don Toliver sing it. 

Travis has done some cool stuff. Sicko Mode is just three songs on the one track but the Travis part is very cool. ‘Drugs You Should Try It’ was my shit. His shit with Thug is super dope. Days Before Rodeo, I really like in general. Rodeo got some joints and great beats. But almost everything after that has been wack and uninspired. He couldn’t copy whatever Kanye was doing because what Kanye was doing was rolling down a mountain of garbage, slowly accumulating a thick coat until he was concealed in a cocoon of trash. Hell of a Night still has a glorious beat, chops up Fleet Foxes. Total Kanye mimicry, done well. But Travis’ voice just sounds awful to me these days.

This is all to say that I was pretty excited by the prospect of this dude Don Toliver who seemed to be quite similar to Travis Scott but with a much more distinct, nicer, less autotune-warbled voice. The lyrics aren’t too important; if he can sing some vaguely cool shit like ‘We both on the road to self-destruction’ in an interesting way every now and then, I’m happy. On his latest album under the label and tutelage of Travis Scott, he is now extremely similar to Travis Scott. And a few times on this album, the potential of a Travis Scott with a better voice is fulfilled.

Don Toliver talks working with Travis Scott in Hawaii, shares new video for “Diamonds”
ugh vibes in here are so off. there are like no photos of this dude. they hide in the mess of the can’t say video 🤣

But overall the tape is kinda disappointing and contains a lot of Travis Scott’s worst moany indulgences and generally meaningless lyrics. It’s still super-heavy bass beats that are frequently dope but often way too busy without any distinctly cool elements, random meaningless references to the trap and much of the same aimless auto-tune moaning shit. But he actually sounds like a human when he’s wailing. Sounds nice. He still just raps about performative drugginess, naughty girls at the club and stuff like that but has a good voice and seems capable of feeling emotion. ‘Candy’ is quite an epic song, almost Phil Collins-ish. I say that as someone who has only heard In The Air Tonight. Wasted is awesome. Occasionally his melodies are brilliant and delivered in a really cathartic, pitch-bending way. But the trendy aesthetic of the zeitgeist of close to a decade, in a certain world, was whatever Kanye did then Travis Scott consumed and shat out out with more hype-beast bullshit. These guys are pure aesthetic, and Kanye really made maximalism, over-the-top outros and pomp a crutch for a lack of ideas. That’s why there’s shit like ‘Company’ on here, which starts with like 30 secs of almost no beat while Don sings: 

I missed havin’ your company

Yeah, I’m doin a lot but I got all this money

You somethin’ sweet, sweet just like that honey

Who tf cares? Trash ass song, I literally just had to skip that shit after two minutes of laboured background listening while writing this. There’s a wack Migos song because every major label debut album needs a trash Migos feature (Edit: Gigital G likes it 🤷‍♂️) . There’s a wack Sheck Wes song. There’s the Travis Scott song which inspired this post and isn’t half bad – has a pretty cool beat, Don does his thing – but suffers from Travis’ typically gratuitous use of his own ugly-ass voice. ‘After Party’ is the best song and the only to come close to the energy of Can’t Say but bangs way more. The hectic horns and steel drums then the beat just crashes and rumbles like the Ghost Rider bike. A truly dizzying banger that makes me want to act out like a dickhead, which I assume was the author’s exact intentions. The stretch from After Party to Candy is genuinely fantastic and is the only part really worth listening to unless you really like those four and want more. ‘No Idea’ came out like a year ago but it might still be the best song on here.

@foxyduboxy again. Fuck Virgil Ab. lo.

Shoutout to the producer Wondagurl who is great and has her fingerprints on a few of these tracks but has been quiet recently (or it seems she’s been making music I haven’t heard which is a change from producing for Drake). She’s considered one the biggest woman producers in hip-hop rn other than those who also perform (which is a lot). That is pretty sad because I probably couldn’t name more than two producers who are women off the top of my head and I could name men all day. It’s one of the most shocking inequalities that isn’t really talked about much. The lack of non-men behind-the-scenes in music in general – engineers, mixers, even managers and such. 

Artists like Don need to realise that you don’t actually have to release albums. There’s nothing about this group of songs that suggests they need to be consumed together other than a general sonic cohesion and because albums are part of the legendary story that Travis Scott-types need to be epic legend gods. Soundcloud rappers have developed a totally new culture of releasing music. They just drop singles whenever they want and it works. Travis needs to realise he can just stop releasing music altogether and maybe do the director’s-chair thing behind-the-scenes if he must. Take some time to raise your doomed child.

The fact that a lifeless doofus like Travis Scott whose whole brand is like ‘undirected rage, vibes and self-aggrandisement’ can widely be considered cool and a ‘gEniUs’ is a real testament to the power of mystery in the obsessive internet age. Also a bit of an indictment of our society if you wanna go there. Just say nothing, be nothing, people’s projections will do the rest. The Biden strategy.

We live in a society. 

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