Tory Lanez has been busy—just take a look at his DatPiff catalogue, and you’ll find 10 mixtapes he’s released since 2010, and those are just the ones he hasn’t had taken down in a fit of history-cleansing. Now, three years after releasing his debut tape Just Landed (captioned “Its A New Genre Of Music !!! CANADA!” on DatPiff), Lanez is having a reinvention of sorts.
No longer struggling to find confidence in his voice or message, the Canada-by-way-of-Houston rapper/singer has found a creative sanctuary in the Southern-tinged soundscapes of Florida and Texas, and has employed them in his new tunes. His progression is most evident (and most successful) on his recent breakout hit “Know What’s Up,” which features a verse from H-Town hero Kirko Bangz, video cameos from Bun B and Slim Thug and a slapping, outer-space beat from DJ Mustard.
While Lanez may be more prolific than he is well-known, he’s hoping that’s about the change. And with the video for “Up” now garnering close to half a million views, Tory’s finally come out the other side of the grind with all eyes on him. Before the release of his new mixtape, Conflicts Of My Soul (out tomorrow, August 8), XXL sat down with Lanez to discuss the video, his hometown of Toronto and finally coming into his own. —Dan Buyanovsky