Mason Arneson, Staff Reporter

On March 2, budding Toronto rap/R&B star Tory Lanez dropped his sophomore album, “MEMORIES DON’T DIE.¨

Lanez dropped updates on his project throughout the summer and fall of last year. It was bolstered by three singles that dropped in September and October, including “Shooters,” “Skrt Skrt,” and “Real Thing,” the last of which featuring Atlanta trap icon Future.

The album runs 18 tracks deep with features from 50 Cent, Nav, Wiz Khalifa, Fabolous, Mansa and Paloma Ford. The trademark of most, if not all, of the tracks on “MEMORIES” is the part rapping, part singing style that has become deeply rooted in Toronto’s music landscape.

The title to this record sets the tone for much of Lanez’s lyrics over these tracks. Tory spends a lot of the time talking about past problems or situations that he has encountered throughout his life. Tracks such as “Pieces” with 50 Cent, outline a girls’ life and  how her mother gave her up then tried to reconnect with her, tell vivid stories. Tracks such as this one and “Happiness x Tell Me,” that take a more confessional tone.

Another pro on this album is his singing voice. When he breaks out his breathy, almost boyish vocals, it can sound very smooth at times and Lanez shows himself to be capable of singing in that style for the majority of a track.

However, despite these conceptual songs, this album is not special and not good.

There are many songs that could have been left on the cutting room floor during this process and should have been left in his throwaways that he previewed on his Instagram account last month. There are so many filler songs that are on this record and just sound extremely dull and boring.

Also, the production on this album is very bland and run-of-the-mill. Towards the end of the song “4 Me,” there is a very weird and ill-advised choice of having Lanez trying to harmonize with some robots that sounds amateurish in the mix.

Another flaw in the production comes in the multiple two-part tracks on this project. Instead of trying to do something interesting with a beat flip or a fade into a different sound, these songs play the exact same static noise. It makes these longer tracks very clunky, especially in the intro to “Old Friends x New Foes,” where it switches up right in the middle of a word.

Those are not even the biggest sins production wise on “Memories.” That would come on “Hate To Say.” This freestyle is a very confessional and it reminisces on his feuds with Travis Scott and Drake that features some of my favorite lines and one of Tory’s best flows on the record.

Then word came out on Instagram from an underground rapper, VI Seconds, who exposed his own song, which sounds exactly the same as Lanez’s. Pretty much the same instrumental and pretty much the same flow. The only difference was VI Seconds’ song was released prior to “MEMORIES.”

This instance really represented the entire format of the album. He proves again and again over the 70 minutes that he is behind the curve and takes from themes such as wild ragers and confessionals that are merely rehashes off earlier mixtapes by The Weeknd and “Take Care,” Drake. He name drops both of these artists, as well as Toronto counterpart PARTYNEXTDOOR in the song “Happiness x Tell Me,” where he dares people to say that he’s biting their style.

It is very ironic that he said that because he very much is.

There is not much uniqueness to it and it left a weak impression on me.

Rating: 3/10