While the 76-minute LP, complete with a skit in between each of the album's 14 tracks and loosely modeled as a concept album, didn't come across as a lazily-executed body of work full of half-baked records, the Brampton, Ontario native recently acknowledged on Twitter that by putting pen to pad and not "fucking around" in the studio, his latest material is a major step up in quality.
So, the question then becomes: If more and more artists are realizing that any attempt to follow in JAY-Z's freestyling footsteps isn't producing their very best effort, resulting in an overall decline in mainstream lyricism and an inferior, dime-a-dozen product, why is this practice still wildly popular in 2017?
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In Tory's case, it's quite possible that a spurt of confidence prompted the shift from writing lyrics to relying on memory and he never quite felt his quality dipped enough to warrant reverting back. In trying to figure out an approach to better himself for his sophomore album, he likely gave the whole pen to pad thing another whirl and, voilà, results beyond his wildest, weed-influenced dreams.
As for every rapper not named Tory—see Migos and Young Thug—the decision to freestyle the bulk of all recorded material is likely a combination of three things: the cool factor ("JAY-Z's the man, I can be the man."), popularity ("Everyone is doing it, why shouldn't I?" and time ("I'm always on the road, recording on a bus or in a hotel room, it allows me to churn and burn.").
For aspiring artists who are currently emulating Tory's process during the making of I Told You, consider shifting to a pen and pad. For those artists who are already following Tory's current modus operandi, kudos—you're ahead of the game.