Tory Lanez has something say, and his timing couldn’t be more perfect. As he preps the finishing touches for his new album Memories Don't Die, the multi-platinum artist is taking himself to task, and addressing any and everything he sees fit to. In fact, his as-of-yet unreleased, sophomore set has already provided a platform for him to get some things off of his chest. The visual for the project’s first single “Shooters” is an example. With over 20 million views amassed so far, the controversial video delivers a message that he feels needs to be heard. “Whether or not we shoot cops or cops shoot us, nobody wins. Basically, violence begets violence and hate begets hate,” says Lanez, who promises to exercise his freedom of speech throughout the album that could arrive at retail shops as soon as January 2018.
While the Canadian singer, songwriter and occasional spitter may be extra expressive on Memories Don't Die, he guarantees that one message in particular won’t get lost in translation: Tory goes hard. “I’m a whole different beast this time around,” declares Lanez. “I Told You was a great project, but I’m a different animal this time. I’m coming at this whole thing with a different kind of energy, right now.” Although his debut was a commercial success, it didn’t fully satisfy his creative needs. But rest assured that he’s prepared to resolve that issue with his forthcoming album. “I’m with upping the bar. I made sure I Told You couldn’t fuck with this album. Period. Point blank,” he says. “Because that’s where my bar is. I’m trying to beat myself each time.” As Tory Lanez, who patched up past beefs with both REVOLT and Drake in 2017, looks to conquer 2018, he stopped by our offices. During his visit, he discussed the memories that inspired Memories Don't Die, why he won’t stop freestyling and working with PartyNextDoor.
Why did you choose the title Memories Don't Die for your next album?
It comes from a summer. All of the music besides a couple of songs are from this one summer. I was like 15, I think, and I use to chill with this group of people. At one point during that summer, they betrayed me in the craziest way. I was stabbed in the back in the craziest, most disrespectful way possible. I remember leaving that circle and being like I’m never going to let the memories of this time die. So much crazy stuff happened in that time that it created these memories that I still write from today.
Why did you want to tap into those memories now?
I want to talk about what’s deep. I want to talk about what means something to me. I want to talk about the stuff that made me cry. I want to talk about the stuff that made me angry. I want to talk about when I felt like nobody gave a fuck. I want to talk about how being down and out feels. Those are things that make me feel. In these days and times, when life is going so fast and you are accumulating so much money so fast there are only so many things that give you a certain excitement. My excitement comes from feeling like those real situations are in front of me, so when I make music it’s really just to put that feeling back. Otherwise, I’m kind of numb. That’s what this is about.
I saw somewhere where you said that although you freestyled throughout your debut, you had plans on writing lyrics down for Memories Don't Die. Is that still the case?
That was like that for the first like 11 songs, but I’m so nice at freestyling, why am I not going to? I only touch a pen when it’s super intricate. Other than that, I don’t need to touch a pen.
People were talking about the samples and I told them that there were no samples on this album. I didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to sample music. I just meant that I wasn’t going to sample and recreate songs like I did with songs like “Luv” where you know where the hook originally comes from. I’m not doing that. I have too much incredible original music. I don’t need to do that. Of course, there are still classic hip hop samples. There’s a sample that me and 50 Cent did. Me and 50 did a song on the album. It’s one of the craziest songs on there. It’s a Sting sample. Sometimes there’s going to be samples. I sampled the beat that JAY-Z used for “Song Cry.”
You’ve promised that you’ve raised the bar for yourself with Memories Don't Die. On the album, is there a record that displays how dope you are?
Nah, I have a couple of those where when you listen to it it’s like this kid is just retarded. I want people to understand that, because I feel like on I Told You I didn’t express all of my talent. That was part of the problem I have with that album. I think it’s an incredible album for what it is. It’s actually one of my favorite albums, but I didn’t express my creativity into those 16 songs.
Will skits play as big of a role on Memories Don't Die as they did on I told You?
Nah. I just want the music to be amazing and incredible. You get that story without having to hear a skit. It’s just through the music, which explains everything. It’s the most vulnerable and honest music I’ve ever done. That’s the thing, if I felt a way about somebody, you’re going to know. If I felt like I did wrong and I fucked up, I say it by name. You are going to know. If there is something going on, you are going to know. That’s what’s so great about this project, I’m so open.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from 50 Cent?
I can’t just give you one piece of advice. The other day we were sitting down at dinner and he told me to attain and learn new information. Just with that little tiny piece of a key you can bring stuff to the table every single day. You know what I’m saying? Have knowledge on new things every single day. Learn something new every day. Eventually, you’re going to know so much that you’ll have so many different ways and avenues to do whatever it is that you want to do.
A couple of records featuring PartyNextDoor called “More Than Friends” and “Leaning” leaked recently. Did you two work on those in the studio together?
That kid is cold. Those two records we sent back and forth. We did get in the studio one time in LA. He has a very different approach to his music. It’s very interesting to watch, and I’m just happy I got to watch. A lot of the times with people who are that creative, you don’t get the chance to get in the studio with them like that. It’s good to see that, and I learned a lot from him during that experience.
You perform your song “The Process” in The Champs Sports series, The Moment alongside Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid. How did that come together?
My whole mall experience was Champs and Footlocker back in the day. I didn’t really care about the rest of the mall, because I cared about shoes. With that playing such a part in my life, it’s an honor to be a part of it now. I was actually trying to use “Shooters” for that, but I think that because of the controversy and because you know Adidas and Champs are corporate, they can’t have that stuff. They were like, “We need you to make a song about Champs and Adidas and you can’t curse.” They gave me all of these regulations, because it had to be clean. I went in the same night and the next day I came out with that record, and that was the record they went with. That record was catered specifically for that campaign.