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Don Toliver

Don Toliver

Singer/rapper Don Toliver established himself with a unique blend of vocal-driven trap. The Houstonian was catapulted to international recognition in 2018 with a featured role on "Can't Say," a Top 40 U.S. pop hit off Travis Scott's Astroworld LP. Signed to Scott's Cactus Jack label, Toliver joined Scott and Sheck Wes on the 2019 collaborative project JackBoys, a number one hit, and crashed the Top Ten as a solo artist with 2020's Heaven or Hell. Toliver has had continued Top Ten success with his second and third albums, Life of a DON (2021) and the opulent, star-studded Love Sick (2023).

Born Caleb Zackery Toliver, Don Toliver kicked off his musical career in May 2017, releasing the collaborative mixtape Playa Familia with friend and fellow rapper Yungjosh93. The tape, taking notes from sung-rap contemporaries like Trippie Redd and Future, blended Toliver's 03 Greedo-like vocals with Yungjosh's Jeremih-inspired crooning, adding an eccentric note to the formula of the pair's influences. Toliver's solo debut came just a few months later, with debut singles "I Gotta" and "Diva" dropping in November and December, respectively. Expressing the young musician's equal abilities in contemporary trap and R&B, the singles quickly caught the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed Toliver to the label in March 2018. Under Atlantic, he released a further three singles -- "Make Sumn," "Checks," and "Holdin' Steel" -- in anticipation of his upcoming sophomore mixtape and major-label debut, Donny Womack.

While working on the tape, Toliver caught the attention of fellow Houston native Travis Scott, who invited the young rapper to Hawaii to work on his upcoming LP, Astroworld. Eagerly accepting, Toliver landed a feature on Scott's track "Can't Say" during the sessions, which also inspired him to record much of the material for Donny Womack.

While Donny Womack found local success and online buzz during its August release, it was "Can't Say" that truly pushed Toliver into the spotlight. The track, a near-immediate hit for Scott, was racking up millions of streams per day; while Astroworld's features were unlisted, Scott's listeners were keen to find out more about the rapper behind the track's infectious second verse. Just a few days after the album's release, Scott announced that he had signed Toliver to his recently launched Cactus Jack Records, with the Houston mainstay continuing to plug Toliver's work on his post-Astroworld radio sessions and at the album's titular festival.

Catapulted to fame by Scott's promotion, Toliver took a break to tour and appear at festival spots before returning to solo material in mid-2019. Between May and July, the rapper released the singles "Back Up," "Best You Had," and "No Idea" in anticipation of Cactus Jack's upcoming compilation project Jack Boys. Toliver's sophomore project, Heaven or Hell, arrived in March the following year. Including full versions of long-anticipated snippets "Cardigan" and "After Party," as well as 2019's "No Idea," the project hit number seven on the Billboard 200 and continued the Auto-crooning of the musician's debut. He returned in 2021 with the single "What You Need," and that October issued Life of a DON, a number two hit with Scott, Kali Uchis, Baby Keem, and SoFaygo among the guests. Toliver kept the party going in 2022 with "Do It Right" as the first preview of his third album. Boasting a guest list that included Uchis, GloRilla, and Lil Durk as well as Justin Bieber and Future, both of whom were featured on "Private Landing" -- Toliver's ninth Hot 100 single as a headliner -- Love Sick was released the following February and debuted at number eight. ~ David Crone

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