If you grew up in the 90s or early 2000s, making a mixtape for your crush was an acceptable form of flirting. In the 90s you would record your favorite songs off of the radio, label it something clever, and hand it to them in passing period. Technology improved in the early 2000s and you could download every song you ever wanted thanks to Napster (shouts to KaZaa & WinMX too). You would make a mix CD of all the current R&B songs like ‘U Got It Bad’ or ‘Differences’, write on it in Sharpie, and slide it in your crush’s locker. This was how you courted someone before you could go on an actual date. Tory Lanez has begun bubbling after the release of his hit singles ‘Say It’ and ‘Luv’ off of his debut album I Told You last year. Before that he was making a name for himself with his Chixtape series. Lanez didn’t waste much time between dropping his album and giving us more material: he released two mixtapes to kick off 2017, one of them being Chixtape 4.
The theme for this mixtape begins with two women conversing about Lanez, one of them receiving a CD from him. She plays it with her friend and we’re treated with a sample from Pretty Ricky’s classic ‘Grind On Me’. This reimagination titled ‘Slow Grind’ has Lanez giving us his take on intercourse with a lady over the chopped up parts from the song with a feature from up and comer Jacquees (who steals the scene). This has become a staple for Lanez’ music as ‘Say It’ featured a Brownstone sample and ‘Luv’ was a sample from ‘Everyone Falls In Love’ by Tanto Metro & Devonte. When you find a formula for hits you don’t stray too far from it.
What starts as a promising mixtape turns to annoyance around the midway point of Chixtape 4. The skit in the middle helps bring the theme of the mixtape back to the forefront but after ‘Just A Friend’ it becomes boring. The production comes off lazy and the creativity just isn’t there. Lanez attempt to recreate Fat Joe and Ashanti’s ‘What’s Luv?’ doesn’t hit and it brings up this point: this project feels like karaoke for most of its length. There are many times that you’ll hear Lanez singing over the original hook, making you frustrated because it’s like your friend who’s talking over your favorite part of the song. You’re lured in thinking this project will be creative but it ultimately ends up disappointing.
Chixtape 4 does has some quality moments though. ‘Ignition’ samples R. Kelly’s original (not the remix) as Lanez recreates it for his lady friend with the same subject matter. The Ginuwine sampled ‘Differences’ sounds good with the original sped up and Lanez crooning about material possessions not lasting while his love will. At best, this project represents those mixtapes from the 90s. This idea sounds good on paper but due to its poor execution, it feels lazy and rushed. There are times where you’ll wonder if Tory Lanez was saying, “hey girl I made you this mixtape of me singing over your favorite songs for you” while listening. From someone who had such a big year in 2016, we expect more. Chixtape 4 doesn’t come close.
Repeatable: ‘Slow Grind’, ‘Differences’
Skippable: ‘1 Call’, ‘What’s Luv’, ‘Slow Down’
By Joe Coad