An album in review: “Heaven or Hell” by Don Toliver


Ismail Taylor-Kamara

The “Heaven or Hell” album is the debut project for the Cactus Jack artist. Not many had heard Toliver’s music prior to its release. In fact, many only knew of him due to his feature on Travis Scott’s song “Can’t Say” on the Astroworld project and the popular single “No Idea”, which had garnered a lot of streams via Tik Tok. This project would in fact be Toliver’s chance to really establish himself as a versatile artist. In an interview with the Ebro, he described the concept behind the Album’s title stating,

 “I’m an artist, I really like both(rapping and singing) know if you hear on the album, I switch it up and I really like that about me…That’s kind of why I went with the Heaven and Hell Gemini type of two different split personality type of situation {because} I really like both at the end of the day.” 

The culmination of melodic harmonies, deep lyrics, and hard-hitting 808’s are exactly what are scattered throughout this album. He starts the album off with the somber songs “Heaven or hell” and “Euphoria”, reflecting on past relationships. Don teleports his audience to hell with the tracks “Cardigan”, Wasted,  and “After Party”. On these tracks, the 808s as well as the lyrics boasting of promiscuity and drugs, really capture that element of Hell Toliver was looking for.

  The listeners continue to travel through hell on the tracks. However, on the track “Can’t feel my legs”, Toliver makes his listeners feel as if they’re flying up to the gates of heaven, with the easing chords at the end of the song. I guess, we literally can’t feel our legs on this track. 

Once the album transitions to Heaven, the tracks “Candy”, “Company”, and “Had Enough” provide a surreal experience. On Had enough, the drums and chorus feel like your sitting on the clouds. Moreover, Toliver repeats the words, “Stay awhile” in the background to compliment the Heaven theme. 

He concludes the album with Spaceship, No photos, and No idea. No idea was a good song to end the album with. It was already a fan favorite and chill song. 

I rate this album a 9/10, it’s perfect for a party or kick back with the exception of a few songs, it’s definitely something you should add to your playlist if you are looking for some new music. Don Toliver has an unorthodox voice, so he already has his own flair that he brings to the industry. It’s not a surpise why this album has sold 44,000 units in its first week, with 3,000 pure album sales and the rest from streaming.