ACL Review: Tory Lanez

Canadian MC isn’t Drake just yet

Let’s be clear: Even if Tory Lanez proves a worthy adversary, he’ll never achieve Drake’s platinum ubiquity. That didn’t stop the Toronto rapper from trying during the dinner hour Friday at Zilker Park.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Crowdsurfing atop NBA-jerseyed sardines as the DJ vamped the crowd with FM-dialed rap including DJ Khaled’s “I Got the Keys” and Travis Scott’s “Antidote,” the 24-year-old MC born Daystar Peterson engaged his crowd early and often.

“How many of y’all know the best rap comes from the Eighties and Nineties?” he exclaimed before crooning out notes to a glitched remix of Ginuwine’s “Pony” and Bell Biv Devoe’s party anthem “Poison.”

Attempting to “stay right here with the family,” Lanez remained hoisted aloft by the crowd as electronics skittered in sledgehammer trap overtures “Diego” and “The Godfather.” A better singer than rapper, his falsetto ebbs and flows in dancehall breaker “Luv” and languid, warped “Cold Hard Love” on his debut I Told You. Unable to translate the album into a live setting, his smooth timbres got lost amongst the woozy R&B atmospherics.

How much of it was actually live constituted another sticking point.

In the end, Lanez proved too preoccupied with the performance’s hype. He didn’t even get to his pop-friendly single “Say It.” That shouldn’t have been a problem for someone who claims, “I’ma be the biggest artist in the whole world” on the opening lines of his album.

The performance raised a defiant middle finger to anyone who doubts him, but he still has a lot of ground to cover.

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Torey Lanez, ACL Fest 2016, Drake, Daystar Peterson

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