Tory Lanez Menswear Cover for FAULT Magazine 28

Tory Lanez X FAULT Magazine

 

Photography: Miles Holder

Stylist: Rachel Gold

Grooming: Shamirah Sairally

 

Words: Trina John-Charles

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].

 

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FAULT FOCUS: Keeping Up with Mykki Blanco

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It seems that everything is falling into place for Mykki Blanco, a poet, rapper, and performance artist who is on the verge of dropping her debut album. Those who have been following the North Carolina and California native turned New York tour de creative force shouldn’t be surprised. Her 2012 single “Wavvy” was just a small albeit impressionable preview of Blanco’s eclectic rap persona; the compelling body of work that has followed is fueled by a mixture of urgency and determination that Blanco (27-year-old Michael David Quattlebaum Jr.), has not denied. The genesis of Mykki Blanco was sparked by a consistent connection to the arts from childhood to young adulthood; she moved to New York in 2008 and took on performing as her main career in 2010. Her diligence has catapulted her across both ends of the globe, from national and international music festivals (Afropunk, Distortion Fest, Roskilde, to name a few) to fashion campaigns and artist residencies. While staying in Copenhagen, Blanco had a few minutes to chat about the current state of culture in addition to reflecting about her artistic trajectory.

 

FAULT: Hi Mykki, where are you at the moment?

Mykki Blanco: I’m in Denmark right now; I’m in Copenhagen.

 

Are you working on new songs?

MB: Not yet. When I go to London next week, I’ll start recording.

 

That’s awesome.

Yeah. I’m taking-we’re taking about a nine day break before I start to go to Australia, so it’s gonna be a nice, relaxing time.

 

It seems like you’ve been all over the place…and I saw that you’d played the Distortion Fest last weekend in Copenhagen. Was that the biggest festival you’ve played so far?

Oh, not at all. I played Roskilde last year and Slipknot and Rihanna played that festival. I played–last year, when my EP came out, I played almost like every size, I literally–almost every festival in Europe…so this year, I’m playing a few festivals and more club shows. Basically I’m touring all summer because in September I start working on finishing my album.

 

Speaking of festivals, are you going to be at Afropunk this year?

Not this year. I did it last year.

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Photographer: David Lotri?

In the process of working on songs….who would you say is your current inspiration or inspirations?

MB: I’ve been listening to Ghostface, who I always listen to, I always listen to—-I’ve been listening to Nicki Minaj and and The Carter…One of the critical things about myself that I wanted to work on was I felt like all the songs I’ve written are kind of long, so I wanted to try to get better at closing a song out at like….2:40, 3 minutes…in-out but it still packs a punch.

 

Blanco is quite active with her fanbase via Twitter and Facebook, in addition to vocalising her opinions concerning the politics of the music business and pop culture. Knowing this and the way that the social media can start activism, I ask:

Do you think that those kind of things help awareness or do you think that they cause more problems than intended?

I think to have such a rigid opinion actually would be the wrong thing. I think that intelligence breeds awareness and I think that people are more socially intelligent now than ever before. If intelligence and awareness goes hand in hand-I’m not saying that there are more geniuses in the world than there were 10 years ago or 20 years ago, I’m not saying that, but I do think, in my opinion, that people, in general, are a little bit more socially intelligent. I don’t think it’s this rigid back and forth between between whether it trivializes or whether it shows awareness, obviously it’s both, obviously both are in symbiosis with each other.

 

When I ask Blanco about upcoming projects planned for the near future, she is hesitant to reveal too much. However, she does say that she’s thinking about going to Moscow to collaborate with a “secret weapon” of a producer. She also confirms that she will be shooting the video for “Wish You Would” with the track’s co-MC and fellow downtown underground visionary, Princess Nokia, in Paris. The most revealing of all: before we share our goodbyes, she tells me the name of her album: Michael.

 

Words: Vanessa Willoughby

Angel Haze – exclusive shoot for FAULT Online

Angel Haze by Miles Holder

Bomber Jacket: D’Albert
Trousers: Jean Pierre Braganza
Boots: Dr Marten
T-Shirt: This Is A Lovesong

Last week, Angel Haze took to the stage at Heaven for her headline gig and told the assembled masses that “fans of Angel Haze are fans of themselves.” Amidst the crowd of people crying, screaming and hanging on every lyric, there is no denying that Haze has forged a rare bond with her fanbase. Sitting in the make-up chair before her FAULT shoot, she explains that “people who get me, get me because they are me in some sense….they take my music and they make it what they need.” Haze has overcome unusual adversity; she grew up in a religious cult and suffered abuse throughout her childhood, before taking on the music industry with her unique brand of raw, lyrical rap. The aggression in her music is high-impact and searing, with lyrics that possess a brutal honesty and a surprising spirituality. On stage, she has a religious quality; equal parts saint, sinner, preacher and, on the harshest tracks, appearing almost exorcised mid-set.

Angel Haze by Miles Holder

Jacket: Napsugar Von Bittera
Shirt: Joy Rich
Trousers: Carlotta Actis Barone

Perhaps this isn’t far-off; “I wanted to use music as catharsis…to rid myself of all my demons and all the shit I couldn’t deal with alone.” Having put her life so much in the public domain, it would be easy for her ‘story’ to become a burden, and she admits that “once people relate to you, they will run to you.” Haze seems to fear being pigeon-holed, although she is resigned to the fact that “people take your demons and run with them….they become who you are.” Taking a breath, she looks around the room before asserting that “my story isn’t the only story I have to tell.” The story Haze refers to is one of “prosperity, of becoming a better person” and it’s a story ongoing. Her latest single Battle Cry features a vocal from Sia and has already broken into the Top 20, jumping 62 places in a week.

Haze is accustomed to this rapid, viral success. “I got famous from Tumblr”, she laughs between texts on her phone, “and I’m not even as famous as I’m gonna be.” By her count, it’s taken two years to transform her life and she appears incredibly introspective (and honest) for such a rising star. When I compare her to other rappers and their declarations of status, swag and self-deification, she almost timidly confides that “the braggadocio shit doesn’t come easy to me.” Instead, her lyrics are about “being honest with myself and obsessed with love”, filtered through her honest voice and confessional verses; “there’s an immense loneliness to my life.”

Angel Haze by Miles Holder

Jacket: Joy Rich
Trousers: Jean Pierre Braganza

Haze seems both born for the life she is living now, but also so clearly  conscious of where she has come from and, more importantly, what she has overcome. Over the course of our time together, boxes arrive from Chanel, messages get sent over from Karl Lagerfeld (in London for a store opening,) and at one point John Newman texts her to be his date for an event that evening. Haze is that rare thing- the humble rap superstar, with something to say that is truly her own, and a sense of self grounded in her lyrics and not in her designer labels. Amidst the chaos of the set- of publicists and hair people and rails of designer clothes- she pauses and reflects on what she refers to as her ‘process of becoming’ who she is now. “You change, you evolve, and you never want to go back.”

Words by: Will Ballantyne-Reid
Photographer: Miles Holder
Stylist: Denise Brown