By: Gabe Ephard
One of Toronto’s most versatile rapper, singer, and songwriter; Tory Lanez, reprises old favourites with the fifth installment of his Chixtape series; a unique twist on hits from the ’00s.
Lanez is not a one-trick pony. He can make great R&B songs along with spitting monster bars, club bangers and beautiful melodies. The dual-threat is at his best when he has a platform to showcase his versatility. For Chixtape 5, Lanez chose mid-2000s beats and samples as his canvas.
The concept and aesthetic certainly had fans of early 2000 rap and R&B excited. But is Chixtape 5 an album that can satiate our nostalgic taste buds? Lanez’s feature selection was a promising start:
Jagged Edge/112, T-Pain, Chris Brown, Ashanti, Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, Mya, Mario, Lloyd, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz and Snoop Dogg.
The single for this album, Jerry Sprunger (feat. T-Pain), was the perfect song to pique fans’ initial interest. The two artists gave the 2005 summer hit, I’m Sprung, a refreshing shot of life with one of the better hip-hop renditions made in years.
Tory continues to heighten the excitement with Snoop Dogg laying a reworked verse on the very next song that samples Pharrell’s cult classic, Beautiful.
Not all the flipped songs are hits though. I had high hopes for the song Luv Ya Gyal// Love Sounds (Feat. The Dream), as he is one of the most underrated R&B artists of all time. Sadly, his feature took a strange direction as he’s not featured nearly as much as he should be and makes no appearance on Love Sounds.
It also doesn’t help that Lanez attempts, and sadly fails, to hit notes in a falsetto which would have been more suitable for The Dream. As a result, Love Sounds is one of the most disappointing songs on the album.
Room 112 was also another disappointing track, a classic song from the 2000’s that just completely misses the mark. 112’s performance was great, and new music from them will always be welcomed. Lanez once again falls short on his verse, and his voice does not mesh well with 112.
The Toronto rapper gets back on track with his remakes of Pretty Ricky’s single Your Body with Yessir and If ya Gotta, which features Fabolous and samples the classic Can’t Let You Go.
Overall, none of the features were bad, but some of the modern renditions fall short of their potential due to weak sampling and mixing. Conversely, the majority worked well, and a few namely; Beauty in the Benz (Feat. Snoop Dogg), The Fargo Splash (Feat. Ludacris), and Jerry Sprunger (Feat. T-Pain), were great.
For the most part, new verses share the same love/heartbreak story as the original songs with more of an upbeat tempo. Lanez managed to flip the beats in a way to make it his own while also respecting the original. He provided a different kind of energy and life to well-loved classics.
The Toronto singer could not outdo the quality of the tracks he sampled, as they were all top radio hits, but it’s still a well-crafted project that takes us through 2000-2009 R&B.
Repeat: The Trade, Beauty In The Benz, Yessir, Best of You, The Fargo Splash, Jerry Sprunger
Keep: Still Waiting, Thoughts, If You Gotta, The Cry, Broken Promises
Delete: Room 112, Luv Ya Gyal, Love Sounds
Rating: 7/10. A welcomed sound that differs from Chixtapes 3 & 4. Production is on point, for the majority of Chixtape 5, with Play Picasso and Tory Lanez creating an overall great sound.