Understanding Tory Lanez
Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber have set the bar for Canadian R&B pretty high, but Tory Lanez might be the next superstar to come out of the Big Maple.
By Michael Tyler, University of Texas at Austin
In the convoluted world of Canadian R&B acts, there are a lot big names.
There’s a former child actor (Drake), a dark and brooding character named after the happiest days of the week (The Weeknd) and a young man who has gained so much fame that his fans have a religious appreciation for him (Justin Bieber). With his latest project this summer, 23-year old Daystar Peterson, b.k.a Tory Lanez, hopes to solidify his place among Canadian R&B’s elite.
No stranger to the music scene by any stretch of the imagination, Peterson has been formally producing, rapping and singing since 2009, when Sean Kingston saw him on YouTube doing freestyles over the beat for Lloyd Bank’s “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley.” After the YouTube recognition, Peterson put the bulk of his music out independently, gaining recognition across the United States and co-signs from highly respected industry names such as YG, Kirko Bangz, Dj Drama and Dj Mustard.
Since entering the music industry, Peterson has been able to carve out a unique niche for himself despite the saturation of the R&B scene. What sets a Tory Lanez track apart from a sea of R&B mp3s is his ability to pair Houston’s signature chopped and screwed style with fast-then-slow raps and icy falsettos, and then place it all seamlessly over a collection of downtrodden electronic beats with the most purple of haze.
Peterson’s ear for working with some of the most groundbreaking names in electronic music is one of his strengths: some R&B artists strive to push the envelope, but by partnering with relatively unknown producers like Noah Breakfast and Ryan Hemsworth, Peterson really does it.
Already with three highly regarded mixtapes under his belt, we fast forward to the summer of 2015. Peterson has done even more to refine his sound, continually pushing the constricting category of Urban R&B even further. His latest EP, Cruel Intentions, was released this summer and shows Peterson’s cutting edge vision.
The entire EP was created with trendsetting, Los Angeles based label, WEDIDIT.
The group of electronic producers, who aren’t known for working with too many outside of their own circle, spent one week holed up in their Los Angeles studio working with Peterson.
After recording the first track, a song that Peterson completely freestyled, the group realized the potential this EP had.Peterson’s ear for beats and impressive songwriting abilities are on full display throughout Cruel Intentions. The EP features production from electronic music heavyweights RL Grimes, Shlohmo and Baauer (of Harlem Shake fame), and is five tracks long. Each track is paired with a different WEDIDIT producer and mirrors their unique style.
In an interview with The Fader following the release of the EP, Peterson admitted that he recorded all of the songs on the spot and within a week’s time, making the EP a concrete piece of evidence for his unprecedented songwriting abilities.
Keeps an eye out for Tory Lanez going forward as he looks to join the upper echelon of R&B artists hailing from Canada. “Say It,” the first single from his debut album released in July, continues the trend of his music getting bigger and better, and with an album release slated for some time in 2016, Peterson’s setting himself up for a run to the top of Canadian R&B’s elite.