Along with Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla Sign, and Bryson Tiller, Tory Lanez is in the vanguard of hip-hop artists defining a new sound for the potential future of popular music—soulful yet robotic R&B vocals, combined with cutting edge trap beats. The Swavenation leader's current single, "Say It," is purportedly from Lanez's long-awaited debut album, and represents another surprising sonic twist for the artist also known as Argentina Fargo. It's deeply soulful, distinctly retro, with only light flourishes of contemporary production techniques; in it, the Torontonian forgoes rapping, instead delivering melodic fireworks in rapid succession. It's like nothing Lanez has done before and makes the anticipation for his pending debut all the more tantalizing.

Tory Lanez arrived onstage at the Analog Cafe on Wednesday for a very early and very all-ages show, after a perhaps slightly too long but talented troupe of opening acts. Adorned in an instantly unforgettable fur jacket and armed with tons of stage presence, Lanez needed no time to win over the already devoted audience. Even still, he was able to raise the youthful crowd's energy a step further with a high intensity performance—once he put down his trap phone, that is (a pronouncement that got big laughs).

Lanez weaved through his diverse range of mixtapes in tight coordination with his DJ, and the audience complied with all of his requests to move closer, raise their hands, say "Fuck Voodoo Doughnuts," and turn on their phone lights. He also crowdsurfed four times on top of the adoring crowd, culminating with him shirtless, hanging from the rafters, and rapping the last song of his set, "Diego." He was pulled down forcefully midway through the song, which led to a preemptive end to the set. Even still, the crowd left buzzing, realizing how unlikely it is that we'll have an opportunity to catch the rising star in a venue this intimate ever again.

Lots more photos after the jump!

  • Minh Tran