In most comics (or films), being a superhuman is a gift and a curse: you have abilities far greater than those around you, but that separation also creates conflict. Such seems to be the case for Daystar Peterson, better known as the star Tory Lanez: a young prodigy whose gifts have allowed him to create music (hell, art, period) at a level that rivals literally any person you can name — doesn’t matter the genre, something that he’s proven time and time again.
His work ethic matches his talent: last year saw Tory deliver two top-tier albums (Memories Don’t Die and LoVE me NOw?), along with features for the likes of A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and the (now-disgraced) 6ix9ine. He’s got a bonafide Latin album on the way. He’s shut down your favorite lyricist (he continued to do that this year as well). What can’t Tory Lanez do?
Recently, RESPECT.’s Ayana Rashed had the honor of speaking to Tory on his achievements, the detractors, misconceptions, his forthcoming project Chixtape 5 and more. You can check that out below.
I’m stating this as (probable) fact: Tory Lanez is better than you.
Your name is Tory Lanez, 26 years old from Toronto.
You can pretty much do it all, you rap, sing, produce, you’re a songwriter is there anything you can’t do?
Nah. I can do everything. All things through Christ.
Out of all those things: which one do you enjoy doing the most?
Making music. Music is my first love. So it all stems from the music. Just creating beautiful music that the people can listen to and really enjoy. That’s really my goal.
When people tell you that you sound like another artist, what do you usually want to respond with?
I don’t really care. I don’t really know who I sound like now. When I was developing I sounded like alot of people because I was trying to find my sound. But now, I don’t know an artist in the game that can do what I do. I don’t know another artist in the game that can rap on a level. There’s not another artist in the game actually physically breathing right now that can sing better than me live, that can rap better than me, can change into trap or lyrical rap like me.
It’s nobody out there that’s more versatile than me and can actually do every single area of music to the top key like I can. At the end of the day, you telling me I sound like somebody is impossible. I write for a lot of other artists. A lot of people tell me I sound like the same artist that I write for. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to me.
What is the most awkward artist comparison you’ve heard in your life being Tory Lanez?
One time someone told me I sounded like Lil Uzi. I just didn’t understand.
Does it bother you that there are artist/people who consider you arrogant, cocky or conceited?
Nah it doesn’t bother me that’s just their perception of me. I’m a very nice guy, I’m a people person. Every-time I’m in the room with people I’m a very talkative guy, I’m social, I’m a very friendly guy. I just feel a certain way about my music because it’s my passion and at the end of the day people take it as arrogance because I won’t put a limitation on myself.
That’s not arrogant, that’s just me not putting a limitation on myself. Number 1 it’s not about them n***as who are hating on me or telling me this about other people saying “Oh you’re arrogant.” It’s about me sparking an inspiration for the next youth mind to tell a young youth like, “yo brother, If I believe I can take it all the way to the top, you can too.” What about you that’s different from me? Not a damn thing. So at the end of the day, I just preach what I want to preach to the youth.
Do you ever read social media comments or you never really put too much energy into them?
I read them sometimes when I’m having fun. When I want to respond and talk to people and s***. It really depends on what’s going on or what I’m looking at. One thing that I started doing more is kind of just going on my peers pages and just dropping comments on their videos and tell them to keep going or just saying some motivational good s***.
As a kid, did you have dreams of being a huge star?
Yes definitely. I thought I was gone be a preacher though. But I always knew somewhere down the line I’d be on stage with a mic.
As a young artist in the industry, do you feel some of the legends give the youth a hard time?
Yeah, definitely. Some legends is cool, but some legends be feeling like we owe them all the respect and to be honest, I don’t give a f*** what you did. At the end of the day dog, we’re all here to be legendary. One day we’re going to be in your situation looking down at the new young n***as coming in. At the end of the day if all you gave us was hate are you trying to make me transpire that onto the next kid?
So my thing is, I respect who I respect. And at the end of the day I don’t really care about people hating and the legendary people feeling like I’m such a legend you should just listen to me. Because once they come at me like that. I don’t care about whatever the hell you did, just leave me alone.
Your latest album cover for Love Me Now reminded everyone of The Brady Brunch. So cool & creative. As an artist, do you feel like creativity is a thing that can take you from a strong 5 to a strong 10?
Yeah definitely. Sometimes it’s just about the presentation of things and how you do them. I think there’s definitely an art in presentation. It’s definitely a feeling and a vibe that creativity gives you. No matter if the music is wack. Somebody’s CD cover could be so dope that you listen to the album and see what they’re about because the album cover was creative, it makes you curious about the music.
You’ve stepped up your fashion lately; your pink suit for New Year’s was fire. Was that all done by the stylist or was styling all on you?
All jokes aside. I have no stylist. I been dressing myself for however long. I’m literally driving to the mall to get clothes for this photo-shoot. But I definitely get alot of fire stuff from this brand called ‘Sandro’ who I buy alot of their stuff. They helped me get that pink turtleneck from Sandros. I like to do alot of different things. I like to dress myself. But, i’m definitely coming way crazier this year with the swag it’s about to be on a whole another level. I’m one of those people where I find like really weird stuff like everywhere and I just wear it. I look good in it sometimes.
Congrats on having a baby! Tell us how that has changed you and inspired you?
My son definitely changed my life in a major way. Not for the reasons that I think like a lot of other people be saying though. “Like you know ever since I had a son my life has just changed completely.” Like nah I’m not one of those guys. My son gives me alot of joy, it makes me want to be able to leave more stuff back for him. It gives me more of an urgency to leave a legacy behind, regardless I was already going to do that. But, now having him here I have to make sure that certain things are left here. It just pushes me to be a better man and a better father for my child.
You created your own lane and you’ve had much success doing so.
I mean honestly, all I want to say is I’m just happy to be here. I’m at a place in my life where I’m in full creativity mode and I’m in a good space creatively. I know I sound like I’m babbling but there’s really no way to describe what I’m talking about here. Just me creating that sound and people just doubting that sound for so long, the fact that it is my own and the fact that y’all have music to look forward to that’s going to be totally different than the music you’ve heard. I just think it’s self-defining. It speaks for itself.
Chixtape 5. One word that comes to mind.
Undeniable Is the word. That’s what it is.
Who was your favorite artist to work with for this project?
So far, I would have to say T-Pain. We did a legendary sample of one of his biggest songs and he went back on the song and to have him go back on his song to me personally is just an insane moment to me, it’s very amazing. I’m honored that he went back and went on my record even though it was his record (laughs).
What do you feel about this generation of Rap? Is it evolving or staying the same?
I think there’s a rotating tire on rap and what happens with rap. Sometimes you get to a place with music where you’re like yo this is fire, that’s dope and I like this. But then I feel like sometimes you also get to a place where you’re like this music has gotten really simple and dumbed-down. Then some other guy comes with lyrics again and then some other guy comes with some dumbed-down shit again then we go back and forth. It’s like tight clothes and baggy clothes it’s like it goes out then it goes in then it goes out. You know (laughs).
You worked with 6ix9ine before he was sent off to prison. What has his story taught you about life in general.
Just stay true to you dog. Stay true to who you really are.
You were definitely ahead of the game in regards to collaborating with a big Latin artist, and now you’re coming out with an entire Latin album. Tell us about that?
Let me say one thing dog, it’s a lot of artists all of a sudden that want to come out with the Spanish stuff. Just let me do my thing, wait until my album drops and you’re free to do whatever you want to do. I want everybody to know that I was doing this first as far as a young black dude that’s not from a predominantly Spanish country. I came up with this idea to do the music predominately Spanish, from somebody who wasn’t rooted there in any kind of way, that was the point.
Just for me, I’m very proud of it, because number one it’s very hard to do that. It’s not easy being able to write and sing in Spanish and to understand it and to try to still use your own style, it’s not easy. I just feel like when people hear it I just want them to understand that I was in the learning process as well and I was doing my best. I honestly think from a legal factor it’s really just a good project and I did say all the words properly. I did my best to make sure everything was natural. I didn’t want anything to sound fake or forced. So it’s a very organic project. I’m going to continue to work with bigger artists in the Latin American industry.
What has been one of the biggest lessons for you starting off this year?
My thing is stay humble, have humility towards people who are everyday regular people who are not celebrities. For the people who don’t believe in me as a person or the people who are just like you’re not going to get to your goals, don’t be humble with those people. Take it to the top and shine on em. At the end of the day but be humble with the people that deserve it. People who don’t deserve for you to be an asshole don’t ever be an asshole with them. Don’t ever be arrogant with those people, don’t ever be like that.
Have you accomplished everything you’ve wanted, just yet?
Not even close. My foot is on n***as necks out here. Not even close. What I’ma do first and foremost before all this is over — unless they kill me before I get to GOAT [status] — I’m going to be the biggest artist in the world. Period. Once the world knows that I’m the biggest artist, that’s when I’ve reached the goal.