Published Dec 05, 2019The shape of R&B music is in constant motion, often moving from big body vocals to soft airy whispers within moments. It has a telling history that is preserved far greater than it's genre cousin hip-hop, with the late '80s and early '90s much being flipped and adapted for consumption by the new generation that follows.
For Tory Lanez, the idea of Chixtape 5 is just that: reliving an era, retelling the tales and reviving the sounds that he grew up on. With a focus on the 2000 to 2006 era, the fifth instalment of the mixtape series, first released in February 2011, outlines contagious feels of flirting and luxury.
"When people say that the '90s were their golden years, I feel like those were my golden years," Lanez tells Exclaim! of the era.
From the classic iPod marketing rollout to Ashanti as the album's cover star, Tory Lanez took the era he fell in love with and brought it into 2019. Though the idea of streaming services not existing is an archaic idea today, during those early years, Lanez had his own methods of getting new music: "Limewire, Bearshare, Boxwire, that was definitely a time," he laughs. In terms of choosing which songs to feature, he breaks it down to being a "hot song," "memorable" or "nostalgic."
Taking ten months to make the album, Tory notes that his decision to release the long-anticipated project is a product of the current genre spotlight.
"I just feel like it's a good time for R&B. Tory Lanez as an artist doesn't just make R&B albums, or one-sided music, ever, so it's the one time the world gets this. It's like, I want that kind of music, here's a project and series for that," Lanez notes.
While he admits there were "a couple of records that didn't make it" due to time constraints, Chixtape 5 (whose samples were cleared through 17 lawyers, as discovered by DJ Booth), is consumed by new vocals and a flip on production executed in full by Lanez himself and co-producer Play Picasso.
"I definitely went crazy on the production — every niche of it. I'm usually a part of all my albums when it comes down to production, but [with] this one, it was like [with] every single song, the main idea, how the beat was chopped, the sequence, everything was me."
Laced with vocals from Jagged Edge, Chris Brown, The-Dream, Mýa, Ashanti, Trey Songz, Lil Wayne and Fabolous, Chixtape 5 is star-studded — however, the appearance of T-Pain on "Jerry Sprunger" marked a special moment. In December 2018, Tory Lanez presented the initial version of the track to T-Pain in a social media video to celebrate the (13th) anniversary of the single. Ecstatically, T-Pain responded saying, "Somebody get CSI Miami on the phone, there's a body on a street!"
"I still feel like he's had his just due fame, but at the same time, he still makes incredible stuff. To this day, he's a musician I highly respect," Lanez states. Much like T-Pain's own unique path, Tory credits Toronto for having an edge on R&B because of its cultural diversity.
"[The culture] is different, the way we were raised was different, there's milk in the bag... It's just different things over here and you grow up with a different mindset, because of how it's cultured."
Although that's something we've heard before, it reflects no greater than in the musicality of Lanez's brothers HollywoodSOS, Brookso, and Yoko Gold.
"I'm waiting for them n**gas to drop their albums — with the exception of SOS, because we've made music together before," he says about future collaborations. "I've made music with all my brothers before I want them to put out their solo projects, and I want the world to hear what they have. All of them are at a place where they're pretty much done now. I look up to all my brothers. They're the reasons why I wanted to make music."
Whether it's collaboration projects or Chixtape 6, which Lanez casually alluded to at the end of the album, he's moving with the flow.
"Chixtape 6 is probably what's going to come next. I don't want the world to start tearing me down about the 6th one, but I'm probably not gonna do the same shit. It was never one of those things that the theme made it, and it's great that we have the features and the theme of this one and it's so great. But if I do ever come out with another one, however we choose to do it, it probably won't be the exact same. This is a one of a kind."
Chixtape 5 is out now on Mad Love/Interscope/Universal.