Canadian rapper Tory Lanez is one of the most talked-about names in hip-hop right now, but it’s not for a good reason.
It’s not because the talented MC dropped his new album Daystar last month, which is currently at 177th and trending down on the Billboard 200 chart.
It’s mostly because he’s facing felony charges of assault and weapons possession in California stemming from an incident in which he allegedly shot Houston-based hip-hop superstar Megan Thee Stallion. If convicted, Tory could be sentenced to about 20 years in prison.
With Tory Lanez’s name making so many headlines, here are 10 things you may not have known about the embattled MC.
1. His Rap Name Is a Combination of Two Nicknames
The title of Tory Lanez’s new album is the same as his legal first name. Daystar Shemuel Shua Peterson (who also has a mixtape called Mr. Peterson) got the rap name “Tory Lanez” from two sources.
“Tory” is a reference to The Notorious B.I.G., one of Daystar’s rap idols growing up. “Lanez” is a childhood nickname he picked up from a friend who considered Daystar a daredevil because he’d basically play in traffic lanes in their neighborhood.
3. He Shares a Hometown With a Lot of Famous People
Brampton, Ontario, Canada has been surprisingly potent in terms of producing celebrities, elite athletes, and entertainers. In addition to Tory Lanez, Brampton is also hometown to rapper Roy Woods (signed to Drake‘s OVO Sound label), hip-hop producer WondaGurl (who has worked with JAY-Z, Travis Scott, and Mariah Carey), and R&B singer Keshia Chante. The city has produced three NBA players, most notably NBA champion Tristan Thompson (Khloe Kardashian‘s ex), along with former No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett and Tyler Ennis. Popular comedian Russell Peters is also from Brampton, as well as actor Michael Cera (Superbad).
3. His Dad Is All Over Social Media
Sonstar Peterson is Tory’s father, who describes himself an author, motivational speaker and artist in his social media bios. Sonstar is a presence of his own on Instagram and Facebook, where he has a few thousand followers. He recently made headlines when he publicly defended Tory on Instagram against the allegations involving Megan Thee Stallion.
4. His Rap Influences Are All Over the Map
Tory Lanez was born in Canada, but after that, he lived in Miami, Atlanta, and New York as a youngster. As hip-hop hotbeds in the U.S., those are three very different locales with three different styles. Tory has named the likes of Nelly, Lauryn Hill, and Snoop Dogg as musical influences, in addition to Biggie Smalls. Tory has a name for his style: Swavey. As he explained in an interview with Nice Kicks, “The (Swavey) genre of music is the genre of fusing more than one together.”
5. He Got His First Big Break From Sean Kingston
Ten years ago, Tory Lanez was grinding it out as an artist trying to get noticed. He was dropping mixtapes and filming his own music videos to post on YouTube. Eventually, he caught the attention of Sean Kingston, who was only about 20 years old himself at the time but established as a star in R&B and reggae. Kingston signed Tory to his label, Time Is Money Entertainment, in 2011.
6. Tory Lanez Is An Accomplished Ghostwriter
As nice with the pen as he is as a performer, Tory Lanez has written for some big names in the industry. His (rumored) ghostwriting resume includes T.I., Akon, Meek Mill, Travis Scott, Casey Veggies and August Alsina.
7. Tory Refused To Appear On XXL’s ‘Freshman Class’ Cover
XXL magazine’s annual “Freshman Class” issue — celebrating the artists deemed the most promising newcomers to the mainstream audience — has become an honor that a lot of rappers aim for. In 2016, Torey Lanez was approached about being on the XXL cover, but he refused. Tory wasn’t “new,” considering he’d already released a lot of mixtapes prior to his 2016 debut studio album I Told You. He reportedly refused the “Freshman Class” cover because he believed he was on a higher level than the other artists involved. The eventual 2016 class for XXL was actually a star-studded group that included 21 Savage, Anderson .Paak, Lil Dicky, Dave East, Lil Yachty, Kodak Black, G Herbo, Lil Uzi Vert, Desiigner, and Denzel Curry.
8. The Timing Of Daystar’s Release Was Not A Coincidence
On his new album Daytar, Tory Lanez defends himself against the shooting allegations involving Megan Thee Stallion. The album was dropped on Sept. 25, 2020. One popular criticism is that Tory was tone-deaf and tasteless to go public about this alleged shooting of a Black woman on the day after the grand jury decision was announced in the Breonna Taylor case. But Tory says the release date for Daystar was no coincidence, it has nothing to do wth Breonna Taylor. Sept. 25 is the same day that Tory’s mother passed away, as well as her birthday.
9. Lanez Owns A Record Label
In a relatively short span, Tory Lanez bounced around to a few different record labels. He was like rap’s version of Paul George. Since 2011 when he started at Sean Kingston’s Time Is Money, he’s also been with Interscope, Mad Love and Universal. Along the way, Tory founded his own label, One Umbrella, which has grown in size as he’s grown as an artist. One Umbrella’s roster now features artists Mansa, Davo, VVS Ken and Mariah the Scientist. Earlier this year Tory wrote on Instagram, “I waited and calculated for 4 years to be my own boss. I own all my own masters, publishing, royalties etc. This may not mean nothing to y’all but seeing my record label at the bottom unattached to a major label is what we have worked this hard for.”
10. This Isn’t Tory’s First Run-In With The Law
Tory Lanez has been in a little bit of trouble prior to the Megan The Stallion case. Back in 2016, he was performing in Midland, Texas, and told the crowd to “f*** this place up” and called out the venue’s “b****-a**” security. A whole riot ensued in which several arrests were made. Tory himself was not arrested, but the venue was considering taking legal action against him for inciting a riot.