TonyNino is a Pittsburgh rapper who grew up on Kid Cudi, Mac Miller, and J. Cole. His stated mission is to help kids make it through their tough days, just like those artists have done for him.
“Lily (Like a Flower)” belongs to the class of rap songs whose lodestar is not “N.Y. State of Mind,” “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” “Elevators,” “All Falls Down,” or even “Marvin’s Room,” but instead something along the lines of Lil B’s “I Love You,” a wholesome, DIY piece situated squarely in the age of the internet. TonyNino nonchalantly goes in over a misty, buoyant instrumental, rapping the praises of a significant other while mostly avoiding the easy tropes of pedestals and male gazes that have long plagued love songs. Tony’s flow is pure Wiz, although I’m sure Mr. Black and Yellow would be talking about a very different kind of flower if he were featured here. “Lily” is an enjoyable, laid-back representative of rap’s new school.