Donny Womack

Donny Womack

Before launching Cactus Jack Records, Travis Scott perfected the art of atmosphere, embedding surrealistic trap with metallic melodies for engrossing stadium-status anthems. So it only makes sense that his flagship artist, Don Toliver, a fellow Houston native, also specializes in immersion. He gave the world a preview with Playa Familia, a 2017 joint project with YungJosh93. A little over a year later, he fortified his buzz with Donny Womack, a mixtape that ensnared new fans with his extraterrestrial vocals and penchant for opiate soundscapes. It’s a more expressive take on the sonic excursions that made La Flame a star. And yet Donny Womack proves Toliver is something all his own. At 38 minutes, the mixtape is a dense mosaic of tonal frequencies; it can be exhilarating or delirious, with Toliver's disembodied melodies only enhancing the effects. For "Diamonds," he grafts oozy murmurs onto an astral beat that sounds like a downer. It's subdued yet inescapable—a stylish flex anthem that doubles as a theme song for an emerging star. On "Diva," he laces a nocturnal instrumental with tales of his women and their expensive taste; it's a soundtrack for a late-night cruise. With its distorted synths and a more sprightly delivery from Toliver, "Backend" creates an immersive discordance for a push-pull propulsiveness. The production is otherworldly enough to suit Scott, but Toliver's spectral crooning makes it linger all the more. It's a haze of melted feelings, something between a vibe, ephemeral bliss, and a faded memory. "2 Lil Shorty" morphs tranquil indie pop into dazed, melodic trap. "Bang Bang" reimagines a classic Nancy Sinatra cover as a candy-painted spaceship. The mixtape is as experimental as it is engrossing, with Toliver's fluctuating pitches and varied cadences turning sounds and sensations into the best kind of joyride, courtesy of Houston's trippiest rap cowboy.

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