London Hip Hop artist Left Lane is hoping his brand will become synonymous with the Forest City. His love of the city is stronger than steel and his lyrics speak proudly of his hometown.
We caught up with the up-and-coming rapper to find out what makes him tick and why he loves London, Ontario so much.
What does the 519 mean to you?
When I think of 519, I think of this city, I think of London. Just like when everybody says 416 and they’re automatically referred to Toronto. So 519 means to me it’s where I’m from. I’m based out of London, Ontario as an artist and created all this content with this London to London vibe but all this music. I met Soapy in the 519, I met Jammin’ in the 519. So the 519 means everything to me. It represents London, Ontario.
You said it’s your home. What else makes you proud of London?
The Forest City is a beautiful city at that. The community itself is a great place. Unlike Toronto, it’s not that big, there are millions of people, it’s not so local. London gives you that local feel when you’re in the 519, it’s almost like everybody knows everybody and every corner of the city knows everybody. So I kind of like the 519 for that local feel.
Is that why you chose to stay in London? Because you could have pursued this in Toronto.
For sure, I could have pursued it in Toronto. But London, Ontario, is where I’m from. So I’d rather come out of, the city that kind of raised me and not be oversaturated from all the Toronto population and all the music. Cause there’s a lot of music and a lot of vibes going on in Toronto right now, everybody’s an artist. Everybody in London can say, “Oh I rap.” But in Toronto, it’s oh my gosh. “Yeah, you’re a rapper because everybody’s doing it.” So it’s an oversaturated market.
The last couple years have been good for London with plenty of high-end events coming to town. Do you think the country is starting to catch on to what you’ve known all along?
It’s not easy to even capture your hometown’s attention because, it’s all about what’s going on in the States or even to say what’s going on in Toronto. So it’s just all the work I’ve been putting in and finally people are starting to realize that they like the music, they like the vibe and they can relate to it and not only being that, but it’s from their city. So it’s something to support now, whereas before it was something that kind of just passed them. So now that’s been good that they could support and who knows what happens next, they are bringing the whole city with me.
Not many people have that passion for their hometown like you do. Where does that passion originate from?
I guess it originates from where I’m from, and that would be 1481 Limberlost, London, Ontario, is where I was first creating my first vibes of making music or rapping my first words at the local park. It comes from being here and experiencing that and turning into content today that I’m still making. And then all of the experiences that I’ve had coming out of the city, traveling to different countries and them knowing where I’m from, it coming back and being able to bring that back to the city with me. That’s a passion. And that’s where it comes from. Just being able to say that, this is my home other than anywhere else.
I was hoping you could tell us about London to London.
London to London is a project that I came up randomly. It was an alter ego thing. It was trying to connect London, Ontario to the world without being from Toronto or being from the State. So I wanted to try to relate London, Ontario to London, England because there are similarities with the Thames River and all the street names. So London England has a huge hip hop grime scene, real big grime scene and it’s on fire right now. So I was inspired by that.
Not only just hearing the music, but this idea just came to me sitting here like “Okay, so maybe I could be from London, Ontario and then have an alter ego side, which is from London, England,” which is a grime site, which is kind of darker. We got deeper hip hop, which there’s a lot of that around the world. There was a way to relate both and on top of that, taking it in a different direction, not going through the States, but going to Europe, you take something out of spots, that a regular London rapper wouldn’t come up with, or even a Toronto rapper, because it’s not really being done any way yet, with any city. So it’s just an original idea.
Have you been to London, England before? If so, what was your experience like?
I’m actually going to London, England for a promo for the London to London, and I’m going to be shooting there. I’ve actually spoken with artists and producers down there, so that’s one of my next trips to go do that London to London tape, which is why we haven’t fully dropped the whole tape yet. We’ve given ideas of snippets and we’ve been promoting it through radios and interviews just to let them know what’s coming because everybody’s really intrigued by that. Shout out Rogers, shout out CBC radio, they were very adamant on the London to London project, that it’d be big for London, Ontario. So I’m building it up so that when I do go there and I do drop the footage and everything, it’s just, unbelievable.
I want to talk about the track Richmond Row Flows. It’s a key track on your album and it’s also a key end of town in London. How did that song come about?
My London, Ontario, native Jared Hamori aka LryBrdBtz, I went to high school with him. We went to Mother Teresa and we’ve always been connected since high school. He’s one of those friends that I never really lost touch with, and he was making beats and throughout the years and seeing that I was rapping and then we always sent each other vibes. So I made a couple of songs and mix tapes off of just his music. So around January 2018 he had sent me his regular packs of beats and the first word that came out of my mouth when I heard that bass drop was Richmond Row, Richmond Row Flows.
But I just thought it was the connection between all being from London, us all experiencing this Richmond Row, how to relate the city to my music was the perfect symbol. So shout out to LryBrdBtz for always keeping me on my toes because it was just what the content of Richmond Row, and at that time I was also shooting a lot of footage on Richmond Row. I was staying within the Oxford and Richmond, so I was always there. So it was just something a bit different, of the single for me.
I wanted to ask like, how did Jordan become Left Lane?
That’s funny. I guess in a way it’s more, how did Left Lane become Jordan? I guess I was always the person to be the different in lane than everybody else. Just in general, my friends, I’m the outstanding person with the colorful clothing and it was just being, ahead of people I thought. I’ve always wanted to be fashion forward or be speeding in a sense. When I think of how Jordan became Left Lane, it’s really keeping at a higher speed than everybody else and trying to focus on something in a lane where there’s just tunnel vision and I’m passing everybody and everything.
As a child, I was always, wanting to have the craziest costume, the best style when it came to Friday. Then when it came to my music, my flow was just different. So the originality from Left Lane and Jordan, it kind of mended with one, my whole life from childhood. The name, Last Lane came from my best friend Richie Blacks when we started our little group. He was Richie Left Lane Blacks and I was Left Lane Swags. Then I ended up cutting the Swags on the last name for rebranding purposes.
What inspires your rhymes?
Mostly what inspires my rhymes are our daily experiences. All my friends, my content comes from real life things that I’m doing. Richmond Row Flows is strictly about Richmond Row. I wouldn’t be able to be inspired to make music if it wasn’t for the experience I was blessed with, of traveling and meeting people and doing things, trying to get to this next number. So everyday my writings are inspired from when I wake up, when I open my eyes to that experience and what I’m doing, it’s my inspiration. My best friend Richie Blacks, I’d mentioned he’s a great rapper. And when we all started, he was my biggest inspirations to make music because his music is so good and I’ve always wanted to be on the level of making the type of music he makes.
You’ve enjoyed the same stage as the Weeknd and Snoop Dogg, that’s amazing.
It was a blessing in general from the Weeknd experience to Snoop Dogg. Like I said, when Richie Blacks was on fire, I was there. I was absolutely blessed to be a part of all of that and that’s what kept my fire going. To know that, I’ve already done all of that. And now, for me to breaking out as a solo artist and creating my own path to be on these stages.
I wanted to ask how the experience was, at the Junos, because you opened for, Canadian hip hop legend, Maestro Fresh Wes, at the Junos concert. How was that experience for you?
Well first and foremost, I’d like to give a shout out to the Music Hall. I’ve always worked with them for many years with all of these performances. They make it possible allowing the local artists to be a part of this and Maestro Fresh Wes, great legend. I actually got to meet him after my performance as he was arriving and he talked and took pictures and things like that. When the city was holding their Juno Fest, it was very important to have good local artists and to be part of that, I was inspired by the legend, by the performance. It was my birthday that week also. So being able to do that, which was amazing.
That’s a great birthday present!
Yeah, it was a great gift, to actually have a media week, I was on Rogers TV on the Tuesday, and then had an interview on the Wednesday. I had literally a week of media I was doing. So it was crazy. I would like to shout out to my PR agent James O’Rourke aka Jammin and his team for organizing everything.
What is AutoBahnOgraphy?
AutoBahnOgraphy, back in Latin America and in Germany. The autobahn, which there’s no limit on the highway, it’s unlimited. As long as your tires are at the proper PSI, you can go as fast as you wanted, and that’s fast. I created this chain called the AutoBahnOgraphy, which was basically just a bunch of my music, related to obviously the lanes, beating super fast because I’ve been creating hundreds of tracks in the last year and a half just nonstop in the studio. So I just wanted to release something. So we came up with a concept of five videos that we were just going to shoot back to back to back and just release them within a matter of a period of five months. And it was just to show the speed I was at. So the AutoBahnOgraphy was an idea we came up with, in order to present that.
Minutes is one of your newer videos.
I would like to give a great thanks to The Cowboy’s Ranch, they let us use the venue and it was an idea we came up with, a lot of the videos are a different directions, but I wanted to go in the direction of a parody, a cowboy parody of not something you would normally see me in. And so the song had really no concept being what the video was, but it matched with the video because of how we shot it.
We shot a minute intro, so the videos called A Minute, so we have just an intro for starting with video, which was great. Shout out to CentrFilms, its Donnie, that was in the video and Cowboys once again because without them we wouldn’t have got the look we wanted and just a whole different vibe. And I think it was just a minute promo basically, hard rap, quick take video was shot. We go through videos like that, and we shoot very quickly because we want to get the content out and those two songs, they’re new songs I just want to get rid of and we’re working on four more right now.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be leaving within the next couple of weeks and traveling back to LA, potentially. Given that I’m there to work on more music and just releasing music and getting new content and visuals, it’s all about persistence. I’m going to be releasing about 12 singles, a single every month with a mini EP every month in order to follow it. And I’m just going to push and see what catches fire. So that’s what’s next for me, continuing to work, I’ll be working nonstop.