Photography: Miles Holder
Stylist: Rachel Gold
Grooming: Shamirah Sairally
We bundle out of the photo shoot and into a waiting car. Tory Lanez is clearly rattled by a previous incident and I believe everything he is threatening to do if the car doesn’t move promptly. Although quite intimidating when the switch has been flipped, he remains polite and quite chatty with me – revealing some amazing tidbits off mic, but sadly, we are not that type of publication. As we weave in and out of the busy central London traffic, Tory rolls the biggest blunt I have ever seen and our 20-minute conversation about the new album ‘Memories Don’t Die’, the cultural appropriation police and derogatory terms in music, begins…
FAULT: On the song ‘Happiness’ you talk about losing your mother. How difficult was it making a song like that?
Tory Lanez : I had to record that song like, four different times. I just kept crying every time I tried to record it. I knew it would resonate with people, because of the way it resonated with me.
FAULT: People always talk about stark similarities between the street culture in London and the street culture in Toronto. Having been here many times, have you noticed this yourself?
Tory Lanez : Definitely. Like, they way we talk… the way we say, ’mandem’, or when we talk about somebody we’ll say, ‘a man did this’. I think it’s the way we are all brought up. It has a bit of a Caribbean edge to it. I think that’s where the similarities come in.
FAULT: Are you planning on working with any other London, or British based artists?
Tory Lanez : Of course, I want to work with a lot of people from here. I want to do a whole project thats just with people from here. I definitely want to work with Nines, Stefflondon, J Hus, Dave, Stormzy… of course Skepta.
FAULT: Keeping the British theme, there is a Zayn Malik sample on the new album. It is done in a great way and it isn’t the most obvious choice. Why did you choose that particular sample?
Tory Lanez : I didn’t. I didn’t even know it was a Zayn sample until after I was trying to clear it. That’s when I found out it was a One Direction sample. The producer, Christian Lou, brought that beat to me.
FAULT: …And Sting’s influence on the album?
Tory Lanez : Sting specifically asked us to use his song instead of ours. We had like an interpretation that sounded like his song and Sting said, ‘no, I want them to use the real one, the real song’… so that’s what happened with that. Sting loves it… It’s dope that he allowed us to use his song and was like, ‘use the real song, I don’t want you to use something like it, I want you to use the real thing’.
FAULT: When you talk about being younger and people trying to bully you, it’s almost like you developed a very defensive ‘fuck all of you’ kind of attitude. Is it fair to say you still have that now towards negative people?
Tory Lanez : Yeah. I’m always like that. I grew up like, you fend for yours and if somebody tries to take yours, you show them why they should have never tried it. So for me, I’m the type of person… I just don’t take no bullshit – with anything.
FAULT: You have already addressed the issue you had with an upmarket clothing store assistant being rude and dismissive towards you, because of your appearance and in retaliation you spent $35k (of record label money) with a different assistant to prove a point. There was a lot of chatter online about this not being the best way to handle the situation. It is great this conversation is being had because this is something that has been happening for years. In retrospect and if it was your own money and not the record label’s, would you have dealt with the situation in the same way?
Tory Lanez : Some of it was my own money… and yeah, I would have still dealt with it the same way. I didn’t do anything wrong. All I was doing was shopping for clothes. That store being the only store that sells high end designer fabrics, I still had to buy what I was going there to buy, I just didn’t give the commission to the person who was looking down on me.
Do you know what’s crazy… what the actual fucked up part is? The black mentality… and this is so harshly and blatantly true… the black mentality, because we have been oppressed for years, when we do feel like we are no longer second class and we have made something of ourselves, we have gotten our money and we have acquired whatever it is that we have acquired, when we go into stores, there are certain things we don’t want to happen. You don’t want to go into a store and ask for something and they bring you something less expensive. You don’t ever want them to act like you cant afford it… and because, as black people we feel so under privileged our whole lives, the fact that we are in a situation of more privilege, we tend to take more of an advantage of it, to prove to whoever the authority is, that we can do it to. It’s really stupid, but the pride and the underprivilege leads you to it.
FAULT: Very loosely leading on from that, Skepta recently in an interview that the term ‘white bitch’ is racist and should not be used. Some people agreed, some disagreed. I just wanted to know your thoughts on that, as you use the term on the album.
Tory Lanez : Is black bitch the same, or no?
FAULT: Well, Skepta argued that nobody would ever say ‘black bitch’, because there would be such uproar…
Tory Lanez : I’d say black bitch, or white bitch …and feel absolutely no way about it, what do you mean? When I say ‘black bitch’ I don’t mean, black bitch. I am not calling a woman a bitch. I’m not saying, ‘Yo, you black bitch’. When I am with women, or when I am with girls, they will say, ‘I’m with my bitches’… A bitch is a female dog. My friend is my dog. If I say, ‘this is my dog’ I mean this is my dog, he’s my friend, he’s my companion. If I say, ‘I’m with my bitches’, they are my dogs too, just the female type. It doesn’t matter if they are white or black. What people should really be mad at, is the fact that I’m saying bitches. If you are mad at me calling you a bitch, then be mad at me calling you a bitch, but don’t say white bitch is more racist than black bitch, or that I would never say black bitch so why is it ok to say white bitch. If you are going to have a problem with that, just have a problem with the word bitch, don’t have a problem with the colour. If a girl is a whore and she is white, she is a white whore. If a girl is black and she’s a whore, she’s a black whore. I hate for it to sound so blatant and so rude, but you have to get mad at the word, not the colour it’s associated with. You cant get mad at someone calling you a black bitch, be mad at the word bitch… you’re black, that can’t change, be mad at the word that is derogatory.
FAULT: Finally, what is your FAULT?
Tory Lanez : My only FAULT is that I was cursed with like these devilish, devilish good looks. It is not the worse curse to have, but that’s my fault, Sorry. Sorry to all those I may have offended with them [laughs].