Life of a DON

Life of a DON

Don Toliver’s Life of a DON is the experienced older brother of his debut studio album, 2020’s Heaven or Hell. Structured as a continuation of the themes and sonic styles he explored on that project, Life of a DON features a focused Toliver inviting listeners a step further into his still-evolving world. While the Houston singer and rapper was properly introduced to the masses through his mentor and Cactus Jack label head, Travis Scott, Life of a DON is all about Don Toliver’s hard-won position in the spotlight. As such, the album showcases his adjustment to his new jet-setting lifestyle (“Way Bigger”), as well as his blossoming romantic life (“Drugs N Hella Melodies” featuring Kali Uchis). Inspired by Kanye West’s Hawaii-based music camp that led to the creation of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Don Toliver similarly recorded a majority of this album seaside in Miami’s Venetian Islands alongside some of his favorite musicians, including production giants Mike Dean, Mustard, and Cardo. “Don’t put me in a box now,” Toliver presciently warns on “Swangin’ On Westheimer,” which doubles as an ode to his hometown. In addition to keeping H-Town at the forefront of listeners’ minds (see also: “Get Throwed,” which borrows its title from a beloved Bun B classic), Toliver reminds us throughout this album that he’s a boss in his own right. On Life of a DON, Don Toliver shakes off the protégé label in favor of a fully realized, independent position—so when he teams up with Scott on the standout cuts “Flocky Flocky” and “You,” his desire for more is palpable and outright motivational. With “Smoke,” featuring fellow Cactus Jack signee SoFaygo and then-up-and-coming Houston artist HVN, Toliver steps into the role of opportunity provider and potential life changer, not unlike Scott when he called in Toliver in for an assist on the ASTROWORLD favorite “CAN’T SAY.” Life of a DON reflects the necessary growth that comes with a rapidly shifting career, and Don Toliver’s ever-expanding mindset brings us fully into his orbit.

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