Going Global: Clash Catches Up With Tory Lanez
Having been active in the music industry for around ten years, Tory Lanez has been on a mission to prove why he thinks he is “the best rapper alive” – a statement he confidently posted on Twitter earlier this year.
The ‘Talk To Me’ rapper carries a solid sense of confidence. While some have been quick to call him overzealous, in a music industry where we can never be too sure how much an artist is behind their own music, very few can claim talent as authentic as that of Tory Lanez. For the Canada born, rapper, singer and producer, making music is an easy process. With some three studio albums and an astonishing 17 mixtapes, Lanez is not showing signs of slowing done anytime soon.
Since signing to Interscope Records in 2015, his career has gone from strength to strength. Being relentless has earned him several accolades including a Grammy nomination for his single ‘Luv’, and a Juno x Rap Recording of the Year gong for his third album ‘Love Me Now’ - which happened to peak at number one in the Billboard Rap Chart.
With his recent mixtape release ‘International Fargo’, Tory Lanez has made it clear that global success is on his agenda. Supporting Drake for his Assassination Vacation tour in London, Clash caught up with Tory Lanez to discuss his new and forthcoming projects, his bond with Drizzy and the legacy of the late Nipsey Hussle.
- - -
- - -
Your new mixtape ‘International Fargo’ shows how vast your global reach is. On the UK side, you jump on Stylo G’s ‘Touchdown’, is there anyone from the UK scene that you’re really keen to work with?
Yeah a lot of people, I liked working with Stefflon Don. Krept & Konan for sure, J Spades, Nines, Fredo, a lot of people. Little Simz, there’s a lot of people here for sure.
On the mixtape, you also have your latest signee to you label One Umbrella, Melii, on the track 'Soco'. What compelled you to sign her?
Her whole vibe is electrifying. It comes down to just the way she is as a person, and what she brings to the table talent-wise. I just think it's a no-brainer like she's the only person who, as a female, just reminds me of myself.
She can do so many different things. She can do Spanish [music], she can do English rap, sing, slow music, fast music, dance music all kinds of stuff. That’s really somebody I'm proud of and I was just happy that she was in a situation that allowed me to sign her.
On your Twitter I saw that you said we can expect all of your upcoming projects out this year, so 'Chixtape 5', 'El Agua', 'Love Me Now Reloaded'. How are you managing all of this?!
I record a lot of music! I got the studio in my hotel. Yeah, I record every day, that’s about it.
So we can definitely expect all of them this year?
- - -
- - -
We’ve all seen the videos of you and Drake shooting hoops whilst on tour. Who really is better on the court?
That’s a good question! (Laughs). No, I’m not going to lie, every time I play him, he gets lucky he always wins. But I'm way better than him. He knows that.
So that video was just a fluke?
It was a fluke; he was having a good day!
Would you say this tour has brought you two closer together?
Yeah I think we were in a good space before the tour regardless. You know, there’s certain conversations we shared and I think there’s certain things I wouldn’t really tell to a lot of people but we’ve had conversations on. I think it’s the same thing on his side. He probably wouldn’t talk to a lot of people.
We just have certain conversations, and that’s part of the reason why this tour even happened. I just think we were in a good place in our relationship. The type of people we are, we’re really transparent people. I think it’s dope that we get to be here and do it together.
Can we expect any music from you two?
Yeah man. You better expect some f**king music. It’s going be great. I know we’ve gotten in the studio before, exchanged certain songs, and certain things like that. So yes, you should expect music.
Whilst you’ve been on tour, we’ve had the sad passing of Nipsey Hussle. Like many other artists, you seemed quite close to him. How has his passing affected you and what is your fondest memory of him?
To be honest with you, that's like a real friend of mine and there’s a lot of work we’ve done. And the amount of conversations we’ve had on the phone, the amount of gems that he's dropped. For me, still in my head, it's not really real. I'm slowly learning how to accept it, but I don't fully accept it.
But I'm ultimately just sad and just heartbroken about the situation because they don't make people like that no more. When you're somebody who is really from rough situations, you really could play both sides but you chose to play the side of somebody who helped black people, who helped us as a community who helped us keep our head, the messages that he left us with. Like people say, you never get to smell the roses while they're alive.
I think the message that he put out for the world, (and) I think that it's now left with the world, where you have to now pay attention to what he was saying. The things he was saying were so important and so much further beyond the bulls**t of today that there’s just never going to be somebody like that again. And that mandating, that thing that he was trying to preach, those lessons that he was trying to preach, I think they now resonate with us a lot harder because now we have to hear and realise that this is the last time this person will talk, you know what I'm saying?
So, I'm torn up about it. You know, I try to drop some music to lighten my mood, but it still doesn't really [help] as I said it still doesn't feel like I can really accept it yet.
- - -
- - -
There’s a video where you’re seen making tracks together with your fans on a live stream. It’s rare to see this in the music industry we have today, something that real music fans value. How important is it to show your fans your authenticity in making music as this is something we usually don’t see with artists?
Wild important. We’ve never see them do things like that because I think that a lot of artists are scared, letting people see them, you know not be this perfect thing. You know, I don't really care. Yeah, it's not perfect. You better respect this art, bi**h! (Laughs)
Yeah. I just think that it’s art, who cares man? People would love to see that s**t. I think people appreciate the f**k ups because it lets them know that you know, I could f**k up to and it's okay. Luckily for me, my process in the studio, it's a very easy process for me. And so I don’t look at all those other things.
‘Talk To Me’ was recently certified platinum and of course you’ve had other singles that have reached this status. When you’re making music, how much pressure do you feel to make singles that will continue to reach this level?
You know ‘Talk To Me’ was actually a Spanish song?
It was actually on El Agua. It was actually, “Habla me baby”, that was the song. (Laughs). Me and the dude that I write all of my Spanish records with, we were arguing. He was like, “Yo this song is so big”, and I was like, “I don’t know, I think I should just do it in the English way. It might be too big this.”
I ended up recording it myself. I did it myself in my room. I knew it was one of the songs. I put Rich Da Kidd on it and he put a good verse on it.
And you knew it was a platinum hit?
I knew it, this is going to go!
- - -
- - -
Words: Nikita Rathod // @NikitaRath0d
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.