Rapper Tory Lanez welcomes Oakland family at Leo’s Music Club

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When one thinks about Canadian rappers, Drake is usually the only one who comes to mind. Very rarely do these rappers make a name for themselves on our very own American soil.

Daystar Peterson (a.k.a. Tory Lanez) is an independent rapper who hails from Toronto, who is beginning to do exactly that. While performing at Leo’s on Telegraph Avenue last Thursday, Lanez proved his ability to light up a stage.

Lanez began his set three quarters of an hour later than planned. Playing after two lackluster openers and a DJ who did little besides transition between Top 40 hits, Lanez set low expectations for his upcoming set. The crowd milled about idly, unamused by the various diversions that attempted to gain their attention. Many people actually sat on the stage texting, handing empty cups to friends and significant others for refills as the stoic DJ played what sounded like an iTunes genius playlist — probably scrolling through Facebook while doing so.

Lanez took the stage around 11:45 p.m. on that ordinary Thursday night. The instant he came on, the crowd grew invigorated with life. The venue was now half empty, but Lanez remained unfazed. He came on with high energy and showed regret for not playing a sold-out venue.

“How we doin’ Oakland?” he yelled into the microphone. His cry was met by cheers from the remaining group of loyal fans, all snapping like rubber bands back to life.

The rapper began by freestyling, both rapping and singing a capella, fearlessly showing off his vocal chops from the start. He instantly made the audience feel at home.

“You guys are my family,” Lanez cried from the stage. “Y’all are the first faces I’ve seen in Oakland and ‘cause of that, y’all are family.”

Lanez was warm and welcoming, peppering his performance with funny personal stories. He would break up the audience’s buzzing laughter with 15 second interludes of song and dance. He joked with the crowd and let them into a real, human side many rappers would never dream of showing. In a touching moment of the night, Peterson dedicated a song, “Mama Told Me,” to his mother who passed away when he was eleven.

Tory Lanez is an up and coming name, having recently been featured on YG, G-Eazy and DJ Mustard songs in the last year. His work has been picked up by producers such as Snakehips and Ryan Hemsworth, as is proudly demonstrated on his soundcloud. Although he may not have Kendrick’s show-stopping flow or Drake’s crystal-clean production, Lanez can still enthrall a crowd with his upbeat stage presence. Equal parts charm and passion, he knows how to get intimate without losing sight of his setting.

Tory Lanez is a diamond in the rough, but there remains little doubt that, in the near future, he might grow into a rapper who no longer just plays at a small venue down on Telegraph Avenue. With his admirable humility, modesty and passion, Lanez managed to turn a terrible show into a good time.

“I just want to let you guys know that it doesn’t matter to me that this ain’t a sold out show,” he told the buzzing crowd. “I don’t care that this place isn’t full. I only expected one row of people out here tonight so to see this many of y’all is more than enough.” He then proceeded to  close the show with “Diego,” one of his most popular hits.

All smiles and earnest energy, Peterson proves that he is the next rapper worth watching. Who knows? Maybe one day, when asked about Canadian rappers, Tory Lanez will be a name that springs to mind, eh?

Watch out Drake. This guy’s going to go zero to 100 real quick — real fuckin’ quick.

contact Eda Yu at [email protected]