By Jack M. Angelo, Senior Content Producer
When Drake’s most recent album Scorpion debuted, the Billboard charts were plastered with it. In fact, save for a few weeks, the Toronto, Canada, native has been on Billboard for almost 10 years straight. Drake may seem like a staple in the music world in 2018, but at one time, he was just a kid from Canada, not exactly a place historically known for producing charting rap stars. In this decade however, Canadians are all over the charts. Drake and The Weeknd are the two Canadians that have enjoyed the greatest success in the genre this decade, but compatriots such as PARTYNEXTDOOR, Nav and Tory Lanez have broken through to the mainstream as well.
The latter artist, 25-year-old Tory Lanez, rose to prominence in 2014 with his Lost Cause mixtape, and has been steadily releasing music and growing his audience ever since. Lanez had already released a dozen mixtapes prior to Lost Cause, but it was this project that led to his signing with Mad Love, Benny Blanco’s division of Interscope records, in 2015. His first album on the label, released in 2016, spawned two top-five R&B hits for Lanez, “Say It,” and “Luv,” each of which has been certified double platinum.
Since then, Lanez has continued to release music, including the album Memories Don’t Die, which debuted at number three earlier this year. None of the singles have caught on quite like his earlier work, but Lanez’s popularity is not falling off. His Memories Don’t Die tour sold out The Fillmore in Silver Spring on Friday July 20, 2018, filling the venue with a mostly black, millennial audience, all familiar with this artist’s body of work.
Upon entering The Fillmore, it is apparent that the show is sold out, with people filling the entirety of the space. The sheer volume of the crowd was overwhelming. Not when they screamed for performers, but rather speaking to each other. The crowd seemed to take their conversations more seriously than some of the opening performers, with talking nearly drowning out any music toward the back of the venue. The crowd did seem to enjoy the openers somewhat, but were mostly interested in dancing and talking with each other until the headliner.
After a long gap, where the DJ played music quietly enough that it barely seemed to reach the middle of the crowd, Tory Lanez finally took the stage. Lanez’s energy is impressive. He spent his first few songs jumping, kicking, and running from one side of the stage to the other, performing for the entire crowd, left to right, front to back. All of this he does with an equally impressive amount of jewelry on his neck and hands. Tory Lanez rips through much of his set, addressing the audience briefly and sparingly.
Tory Lanez’s unique vocal quality is often lost in this flurry of movement. Lanez’s voice, during his slower and more R&B focused songs, demonstrated that he is indeed capable of producing the sounds we hear on the records, but is somewhat compromised when providing his energetic style of performance. This dichotomy is to be expected in someone who performs so aggressively, yet has a uniquely soft and child-like singing voice.
Tory Lanez’s audience is strong and passionate, even with some of the people further away from the stage focusing on partying rather than obsessing over the artist. Those closer to the stage, however, were happily willing to scream along and literally prop up the artist as he rapped in the audience. The passion Tory receives from his audience is an indication that he will likely remain a steady presence in Hip-Hop for the coming years.
These incredible photos from Tory Lanez’s performance at the Fillmore, in Silver Spring, MD, on July 20, 2018, were taken by StayUp.News senior content producer and photographer Jack M. Angelo:
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