Tory Lanez Talks Staying Swavey, Loving Ladies, and Working With YG
The Toronto-born and Texas-based rapper, singer and producer isn't tripping over these girls. But he might trip for one.
Photos by Durty Harry
Tory Lanez is an extrovert. 100%. If you get the chance to meet him, he’ll probably dap you up like you’ve been friends for years— if you’re a dude. However, if you happen to be a lovely lady, Lanez might just trip over himself, literally, to get your attention. Not that he needs to, though. The Toronto-born and Texas-based rapper, singer, and producer has plenty of TCBs (This Could Be Somethings) waiting in the wing if you’re bullshitting.
It’s easy to pick up on Tory’s colorful and carefree personality, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that it’s matched with determination and focus. His most recent release, Chixtape 2, could be an album in its own right, but Tory simply released it for free as a way to keep his fans happy while he works on his forthcoming album, Lost Cause, which marks the first time he’ll be actually selling his music.
During a recent trip to NYC, Tory took the time to chat with us about his latest mixtape, how moving to Texas has influenced his music, working with YG, and of course— the ladies.
Mass Appeal: How’s the reception been on the mixtape so far?
Tory Lanez: Really, really good. I’ve been building off new music since that’s come out. I think my mind, or where I’ve been with it, is more into [my] newer music. With the last project, I know the way it was received, and the way people come to me now about that music … they feel like they got a good, good, good balance of rapping and singing.
MA: How did the production come about on that? There are a lot of classic R&B samples…
TL: Are we talking about Chixtape 2 or are we talking about Conflicts of My Soul? Chixtape 2 is such a side project to me, you know? I always forget when people are like, “Yo, so the new project…” I think they’re talking about Conflicts. Naw, Chixtape 2? Crazy. All of production was pretty much done by me. If there’s every really co-production credits inside that tape it was really because I wanted to give whoever was technically pressing the buttons or helping me with the sound their production credits.
I don’t go on the computer and *starts tapping and pretending to push buttons* you know what I’m saying? That’s just how I think. But I can direct it and compose the whole thing. I compose how slow the sample is, what sample to chop, what pieces to chop, the filters, the “reverse this, the drum line goes like this, the baseline goes like this. I’ll sing it to you. These are the chords on the piano.” I really make the whole beat, you feel me?
MA: That’s what’s up. You’re based out of Texas, right? Did that influence the sound of Chixtape 2?
TL: I’m not really on this trill thing that everybody’s on. My whole thing with slowing things down and reversing is it’s just really become a part of my new production. I’ve realized there’s so many songs that just being reversed alone are retarded. You gotta imagine all of the different things that I’m finding out of music that people have never ever reversed and never slowed down. Some people may get that trill vibe out of it, or whatever the case is, but I don’t intend for you to be like, “Yeah, that’s trill.”
MA: You were just on YG’s new album. How did that come about?
TL: He’s my homie. I was on shit for DJ Mustard’s project, I also did this record called “On the Set” for YG before that. I had sent him other records that were originally supposed to be on [My Krazy Life] too, but in the process he was making new stuff. I guess he was like, “Tory, we need him for something on the album,” because he felt I had dope shit. I went out there and cut a record with him, the “Me & My Bitch” joint came about and he was just fucking with it.
MA: How do you balance out rapping and singing? There’s kind of a stigma against it now. Do you feel like you’re put in a box at all compared to who else is out there?
TL: No. I call myself a “swavey” artist.
MA: You once said your fans aren’t fans, they’re the ‘Swavey Nation,’ right?
TL: Yeah, the citizens of the Swavey Nation. It just means we’re all citizens without borders. There’s no border line to how far we can take anything. The word ‘swavey’ is a word that I created when I was first coming out. I knew I was gonna run into the challenge of “you sing and you rap, pick a lane.” I always felt ‘swavey’ was a word that I could call it. This is where these genres fuse. If you are talented enough to fuse more than one genre together than you can call yourself ‘swavey.’
MA: What do you do outside of music ?
TL: Um … I’m hollerin’, bruh. Imma keep it G, bro. I’m in these streets. You know what im saying? I’m hollerin’ [Laughs]. It’s a lot of TCBs in my phone. TCBs is my little code name for “This Could Be Something.” There are a lot of this-could-be-somethings in my phone.
MA: How does that normally go down? Generic situation?
TL: Imma let you know right now. A lot of rappers … they don’t pull girls. They don’t have the confidence to go out in front of them. Me? I realize it’s just feeling myself. And when I’m feeling myself, I do the dumbest shit. Girls think it’s funny. I’ll come up on a girl dancing – doing some dumb shit – and it’s just so weird to a girl like, “What are you doing? Why are you in front of me?”
I come through and compliment a chick on her hair. ”I love the way you wear your hair baby” Cuz it don’t matter how they wear their hair! [Laughs] Anything I think, anything that comes to mind there on the spot— the bolder the better. The most outlandish shit I ever did to holler at a chick was to trip right in front of her. She was bad.
TL: Purposefully nigga. I was younger, but she was bad bro. And I still got the number! I literally went up to shawty when she was walking *gets up and fake trips* it was a stupid-ass trip like, “Oooh! You not gon’ help me up?” You feel me? Some dumb shit. She was like, “… Okay.”
You gotta understand, girls get pretty everyday because they want to get hollered at. That doesn’t mean they wanna give their number to every guy. When you go out and get fresh, you wanna get hollered at by some girl. You want a girl to notice you! All girls really want is to be noticed. You just gotta show them that you notice. I notice you in this world.
MA: Has a girl tried to do anything like that to you ? What’s the thirstiest thing a girl has done?
TL: When it comes to thirsty shit … I don’t think I’ve ever had a girl trip over me or do anything crazy like that. I guess because I’m such a rugged, blunt guy girls just go straight to the chase. Girls will come up to me, and just straight grab my dick. That’s just me. I don’t know how shit’s going on with everyone else’s life. You gonna be trippin if a girl grab your dick my nigga? [Laughs] That’s probably the thirstiest thing: girls coming up to me and tryna grab my dick and grab my ass like, “Hey lil sexy nigga.” Woah! You gotta watch out, you know?
MA: Speaking of woah, do you have a dream girl?
TL: Yeah, I never had that one dream girl. My dream girl … I don’t know … I just really wanna fuck with Taylor Swift one day. That’s where my whole thing ends.
MA: If you did a joint album with Taylor Swift, what would it be called and who would be on the album ?
TL: I don’t know. I couldn’t come up with the name but it would definitely be crazy. She would definitely have some ractchet-ass songs at that point [Laughs]. It’s just gotta come organically. It’s one of those things where she would have to be down to agree with my rachetness for like 30 min so we can create a song. Even if it never goes out.
MA: Even if it doesn’t work out, you know she’lll write an album about you.
TL: I hope I’m in one of her songs. She’ll proably make my rachetness seem so poetical and nice you know what I’m saying [Laughs]. She’s the best.
MA: Last question: go-to meal in Toronto and go-to meal in Texas
TL: Go-to meal? Eating? There’s a lot of things to eat.
MA: Is there a specific restaurant you go to?
TL: *Starts shouting in a Jamaican accent* I’m going to all the Jamaican spots. I’m going Sunrise. Sunrise is definitely poppin. You got Jimmy the Greek, that’s some Greek food shit and I don’t even eat Greek food. Jimmy the Greek is poppin’. Honestly, Imma fuck with Sunrise and it’s gonna be good Jamaican food.
Go-to meal in Texas? I’m the pickiest eater by the way, I just want y’all to know that. [My manager] has tried to take me to so many places and I’m not wit’ it. I’ve gotten a little bit better. Where do I eat in Texas ? Honestly, G shit in Texas bro. I’m making my own spaghetti nigga. And son … I put it down b.
MA: What’s the recipe for your spaghetti ?
TL: If I gave you that I’d have to give you my whole life, you know what I’m saying? You probably had some breezys at ya house cooking you up some spaghetti all crazy. Yo, [my manager] took me to this place called Perlas, it’s like seafood and a whole bunch of other good stuff. It’s really good. It’s probably the first time I went on some baller shit and ate oysters.
MA: I fuck with oysters.
TL: Yo! Like I didn’t fuck with them, cuz when I first saw them I was like, “What the fuck? Then we went to El Salvador and they put mad lemons in, and salt, and all this shit in it. And it made my chick horny, cuz you know how they’re like an artichoke … what is it called?
MA: Aphrodisiac [Laughs]
TL: Artichoke … aphrodisiac [Laughs]
Check out Tory Lanez’s latest mixtape project Chixtape 2 below, and make sure to keep an eye for Lost Cause when it drops this summer.