Tory Lanez opts for consistency in sound this go-round.
Tory Lanez may be one of the hardest working men in the hip-hop game right now. The dual-threat rapper and singer already blessed fans with Memories Don’t Die back in March of this year, but he’s pulled up with a second serving for 2018. Entitled Love Me Now?, the 15-track album finds Tory settling into a very specific sound and territory, truly his own. This mostly comes down to production-- a mix of smooth R&B bangers and berceuse love-making singles. Lanez relies more often than not on melodies for this release. His vision is assisted by a long list of features, including Meek Mill, Bryson Tiller, Chris Brown, Trippie Redd, Trey Songz, Rich The Kid, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Lil Baby, 2 Chainz, and more. Smash David and CashMoneyAP take care of most of the production on Love Me Now?, crafting radio-ready bangers for Lanez and his guests to paint pictures of lavish living, gorgeous women, and troubled relationships. Although the presence of Smash and CashMoneyAP doesn’t feel entirely unfamiliar; day one fans may be disappointed to learn that Play Picasso is missing from the project, but Lanez's vision reaches maximum potential none the less.
The title of the album poses a rhetorical question, because if you didn’t enjoy Lanez prior to this project, it’s unlikely this is the album that will change your perception. Love Me Now? is more of a braggadocious taunt, an assertion that a victor would yell at a bloodthirsty crowd after completing a gladiatorial circuit. There’s nothing necessarily new or unheard of creatively-speaking on Lanez’s new album. He sticks to familiar subjects and keeps the tracks short. Instead, there’s a focus on the overall uniformity and consistency of the project, which sets it apart from his previous albums. Brevity is also better than a prolonged album, a lesson Lanez has learned from the critique of previous projects. It’s always rewarding to hear fans yearn for more music rather than publicly complaining about how the project felt bloated. Two-thirds of the album’s songs end in under 3:30 minutes, hitting that millennial attention-span sweet spot and radio single format at the same time.
In another strategic move, Lanez hand-picked a plethora of talent that has had a distinct influence or else buzz in the hip-hop game this year to play host as features. "Talk To Me" featuring Rich The Kid and "Keep in Touch" featuring Bryson Tiller functioned as the lead singles for Love Me Now? The former is a radio banger that features a candy sweet instrumental and typical women, money, and jewelry lyrics from both artists. It works as a first single, introducing listeners to a hi-hat and snare-heavy sound that permeates most of the album. Lanez takes control of the song, with Rich the Kid laying down a forgettable verse. “Keep in Touch,” on the other hand, is an even collaboration between Lanez and Tiller. Both artists reminisce about that one love that held them down before the fame, but because of a hectic lifestyle, it's been hard to keep in touch. The topic allows both Lanez and Tiller to embark on separate journeys while conceptually tying it all together on top of a neck knocking instrumental.
If “Talk to Me” was a good indicator of the rest of the album, that is also the crutch of Love Me Now?, every song could be likened to it sound-wise. The production suffers from a lack of creativity, generally-speaking. Both songs featuring Chris Brown have almost the exact same drum patterns. “Flexible” and “Duck My Ex” aren’t the only tunes that might give a feeling of instrumental déjà vu. “If It Ain’t Right,” “The Run Off,” and “Drip, Drip, Drip” also feature eerily similar percussions. While the sound is consistent, the downside is that it is also a bit formulaic. Several of the tracks mesh together, entangled in hi-hats and snares. Fresh faces on almost every song help combat the feeling of repetitiveness.
Love Me Now? delivers exactly what you would expect from melodic Lanez. While that isn’t a negative mark on his track record, the project isn’t a shining example of a musical maturity either. Thankfully, Lanez has settled into a position where he has opted to cultivate his own consistent sound, and Love Me Now? functions as his most cohesive album to date.