Wonderland.

ROLLACOASTER: TORY LANEZ

Read our interview with Canadian rapper Tory Lanez following the announcement of the release of his debut album I Told You on 19th August.

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Khaki green cotton jacket and trousers both by VALENTINO, jewellery MODEL’S OWN

Forget kites, Tory Lanez — real name Daystar Peterson — is sat with me on a hotel roof in Shoreditch and he’s as high as a Boeing 747. He’s rolling a blunt whilst we wait for one of his tour crew to deliver some boxer shorts. Understandably, being so high, he’s forgotten to put any pants on and is (politely) refusing to be shot without wearing some. I’d normally be pissed off at such cliched behaviour, but the sun is beating down, the prosecco is flowing and I’m enjoying watching the hotel staff debate who should approach the sometimes-rapper, sometimes-singer to tell him he’s not allowed to smoke weed up here. It’s as close to a perfect Thursday as I’ll ever get.

It helps that Peterson is so charming. He peels back the gold foil on a bottle and pours a glass, holding it up to his eye before he splutters and giggles about how “mad” the bubbles are. He hasn’t entirely lost sight of reality, though: Beyoncé flashes up on a flatscreen TV nearby and he begins to gesticulate.“Beyoncé makes girls feel pretty. Rihanna makes girls wanna be bad,” he peers around to wait for the reaction of everyone around him. Taking the bait, six of us launch into a furious argument that doesn’t really end until we leave. Peterson observes us in the same way I watched the hotel staff.

When I call him for a follow-up a week later, he’s entirely compos mentis. The 23-year-old is driving from Maryland to New Orleans on his Level Up tour, accompanied by “Line Up The Flex” collaborator, A$AP Ferg. Having yet to release an album to bulk up his setlist, Peterson’s live shows have become notoriously dramatic.“Thank you ma’am,” he says, that endless charm evident once more, when I commend his ability to scale venue walls.“I take my performance very seriously, I take the craft of performing just as seriously as I take the creation of music. I just need to top myself each time, every time I go out there I never plan on giving everybody the same set.”

“We got a show that’s selling out around the country, all around America,” Peterson adds. I can’t argue with the facts, but teasing his confidence, I’m quick to remind him it took seven years and a personal rebrand to reach this point. After two years going it alone, at 18 Peterson signed to Sean Kingston’s label Time Is Money Entertainment before taking a break after three lacklustre years. “The whole time when I was signed there and even before that, I was still independent, still working on my own crap by myself,” he insists. “Before, it was a little bit of me trying to be everybody else, but now I’m comfortable with just being me and allow[ing] people to just see me for who I am.”

Was it age and inexperience holding Peterson back the first time? “Definitely,” he agrees. “Certain things came with time and maturity… And knowing that I had to become the biggest artist in the world, it was like, I had to change a couple of things in order to get to that point.” It’s a fine line between arrogance and self-assurance, sure, but it’s also hard to disagree with Peterson when he makes such audacious claims. “Say It”, his first single on his second signing to Benny Blanco’s Mad Love Records, has just gone platinum. “For me, personally, in my heart I’m always number one,” he states, deadpan. “Whether or not [the public] can or can’t see it now, I’m always number one.” I kind of believe him.

The album is coming this summer I’m told: “Before anything crazy happens. You know like, the world’s about to end!” I’m expecting pure sunshine beats, turnt up to the max. Peterson’s track record so far consists of the oddly guitar-based, punk- pop inflected “LA Confidential”, the bass-pumped gospel-esque “Say It” and a handful of mixtapes and EPs bridging the gaps between R&B slow jams and trap. “Right now, music needs this,” he says when I inquire about the sound of the forthcoming record. “I’m very excited to be the person with the thing that music needs right now. It’s like running around with the star, like in Super Mario.” I’m none the wiser, but he’s really selling it to me. “You gotta understand that [the album] is a different breed – this is [like my mixtapes] on 50,000 steroids.”

If Peterson’s career is on the track he projects, he’s pretty close to enlightenment. “My idea of a perfect world would be where Tory Lanez is the biggest artist in the world,” he sighs dreamily. “And hopefully that I live with some wild European girl who has a sexy accent, like yours.” Consider me charmed.

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Khaki green cotton jacket and trousers both by VALENTINO, jewellery MODEL’S OWN

Fashion: Toni-Blaze Ibekwe

Photographer: Leonn Ward

Fashion Assistant: Nyesha Rose

Words: Lily Walker

ROLLACOASTER: TORY LANEZ

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