Toronto’s Tory Lanez recently released the album ‘I Told You’, a sprawling epic combining R&B and hip-hop. Just don’t ask him about Drake…
Even by the standards of a debut album, there’s a great deal of personal narrative in ‘I Told You’. Why did you feel it so important to tell that story?
“It was important because the narrative isn’t just a fake story; it’s my life on a timeline. A lot of times, people won’t be 100 per cent real with their story and I wanted to give people the drawn-out experience of the perseverance and the struggle that it took to get here.”
Is it true that your father was a missionary, a minister, who healed people through the power of God?
“A missionary preacher, yeah. He travelled all across the world preaching the gospel and healing people. He’d sit there praying in church. The whole church would sit there praying and people would come up and get healed. People would come in wheelchairs and he’d make them walk. It’s just the power of God. It wasn’t my dad;
it’s what God had instructed my dad to do.”
You’ve been feuding with Drake for years…
“I’d rather not [talk about that]. I’m off that subject. I just wanna make good music.”
Is it true that you were Justin Bieber’s hip-hop coach?
“Nah, I wouldn’t say all that. People started saying that at one point, though, because he put out a freestyle where he used eight bars of my song [‘Beamer Benz Or Bentley Freestyle’] when he was mad young. But he ended up being a great friend of mine. When I see him, it’s like seeing a cousin you don’t see all the time. He’s a warm-hearted kid; a good kid.”
What’s your ambition for this album?
“This is the best music put out so far in 2016. There’s no album in 2016 that’s better than my album. When you take the time to dive into it, you understand why. I encourage everyone to go out and get it – not because I’m trying to promote myself, but because you’ve been starved of great music.”