Don Toliver is a 28 year old rapper from Houston, Texas who caught my attention in 2018 off his debut mixtape Donny Womack along with being featured on “Can’t Say” off his mentor Travis Scott’s last album ASTROWORLD & signed to Cactus Jack Records literally the very next day. Fast forward a year & a half later right when the COVID-19 pandemic started, his full-length debut Heaven or Hell is a bit underappreciated in my opinion & the sophomore effort Life of a Don was solid yet not as good. However, I was still looking forward to Lovesick considering the singles.
“Love Sickness” is a seductive opener produced by Cardo singing about his obsession with his new girl whereas “Let Her Go” works in some synthesizers, a rubbery bass-line & some hi-hats from James Blake & Dez Wright asking if he makes her feel special. Glorilla & Lil Durk come into the picture for the Rodeo inspired 2-parter “Leave the Club” encouraging all the baddies to buss it prior to “4 Me” blending alternative R&B with pop rap & dancehall thanks to Wheezy talking about his lover being the only woman he needs. Also as a longtime Neptunes mark, Kali Uchis killed it with the “Girls Dem Sugar” interpolation.
However with “Go Down”, we have Don over some spacious trap production from Hit-Boy sampling the TisaKorean cut “Backseat” asking his girl if they can fuck in the backseat of his whip just before “Time Heals All” has a shimmery quality to the beat that Allen Ritter brings to the table as he talks about wanting to see how his girl works the pole. “Leather Coat” is another 2-parter with a guitar driven trap instrumental feeling like she can’t hear him leading into the irresistibly catchy “Honeymoon” embracing synth-funk with the help of KAYTRANADA talking about how he can love her & hate her at the same time.
Cardio’s entrancing production throughout “Private Landing” is really impressive as Future & surprisingly Justin Bieber in one of his best performances I’ve heard in a while personally both hop on board to confess that they feel stuck while the cloudy “Slow Motion” expressing the desire for his girl who just wants to go dancing to tell him what she’s hoping. “Do It Right” is a pop rap/alternative R&B hybrid with some future bass undertones co-produced by Boi-1da encouraging to go back to his girl’s place, but then “If I Had” is a remarkable R&B duet with Uncle Charlie Wilson that DJ Dahi laced about keeping the love forever.
The final leg of the album begins with the 3rd installment of the “Company” trilogy wondering how she feels inside over a twangy trap beat while the song “Bus Stop” with Brent Faiyaz is a peppier vibe with Hit-Boy on the boards once again to tell his girl how much he needs & wants her to fall in love with no issues as Brent dedicates his verse to all his bitches in the drop top. The penultimate track “Cinderella” has a synth-based instrumental from Ronny J calling this a love letter & “Encouragement” is a wavy send off to the album detailing a way he’s never felt before.
Some people consider Life of a Don to be a sophomore slump even though I myself enjoyed it albeit not as much as Heaven or Hell, but Lovesick is unquestionably a cut above as my 2nd favorite album in his catalogue currently. It’s most certainly the most conceptual we’ve ever heard him on the lyrical front & the production catering to the futuristic R&B/soul kind of sound that he was shooting for.
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