Lloyd talks working with Drake & how his So Far Gone feature almost didn’t happen
New Orleans-born singer-songwriter and rapper Lloyd has been a mainstay in R&B for well over a decade, and has built up a respectable Canadian fan-base along the way. His penchant for hard work has helped carve out an illustrious career that also includes notable work in acting and dance.
He received a heroes welcome at his OVO Fest gig in Toronto on Aug. 4, and a warm response to performances of some of his bigger records like “Get It Shawty.”
Before hitting the scene as a solo star, Lloyd got his start in the late 90’s as a member of the Atlanta-based preteen R&B boy-band N-Toon. The five-man group—which also included Lloyd’s younger brother Chuckie D.—released their Toon Time debut on March 21, 2000 via DreamWorks, but were subsequently let go of the label in 2000. The single “Ready” was one of their most popular songs but N-Toon didn’t see enough success to save it from becoming victims of label reshuffling. By 2001, N-Toon had disbanded and, after a brief hiatus to finish high school, Lloyd returned in 2003 to pursue a solo career.
In 2014, after moving to New York and connecting with Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc. Records. Lloyd dropped the Ashanti-assisted “Southside,” his solo single debut and the title track off his album debut. It was at that point where his name started to resonate with heads up north, with Toronto rapper Drake counting himself among Lloyd’s growing fan-base. So much so that by 2009, Lloyd was approached to take part in Drake’s now-historic mixtape, So Far Gone. “A Night Off” ended up being one of the last songs completed on the tape, and also became a fan favourite off the release.
Lloyd has released five projects since dropping Southside, and tomorrow (Aug. 31, 2019) will mark the one year anniversary of the release of his latest and fifth studio album, Tru LP. The album followed his 2011 album King of Hearts and the 2016 EP of the same name. Most recently, Lloyd released the Yung Miami of City Girls-assisted remix to the Tru LP single, “Caramel.” The song has been streamed over three million times on Spotify to date.
While in town for OVO Fest, HipHopCanada had a chance to connect with Lloyd for a brief one-on-one interview at The Westin. We chopped it about his love for Caribbean food, working with Drake and how he almost missed his opportunity to be featured on So Far Gone, his thoughts on Canadian artists including Jessie Reyez and Daniel Caesar, and more.
HipHopCanada: This is not your first time in Toronto?
Lloyd: No, but customs treats me like it is. (Laughs)
HipHopCanada: Do you have any memorable experiences in Toronto? Specifically Caribana?
Lloyd: Nah, but I remember going to my first carnival experience in London, England. It was for the Nottingham Festival. I was there and I thought it was amazing, I thought it was the dopest shit, and people were like this one is cool but you need to go to the one in Toronto or Trinidad, of course.
My kids are Trini so this is apart of our family heritage now. This is actually my first time actually being in the city. I was here once to perform and I left like right when the shit started, I had to leave and I never got to see it. But now I’m apart of it. I’d actually prefer for this to be my first time then any other time, like what a time to be alive.
HipHopCanada: With that being said this is the 10 year anniversary of the So Far Gone album. You were on that. Can you talk about working with Drake?
Lloyd: Ima tell you what’s funny, I almost missed out. I didn’t know nothing about him other than what people would tell me. You know Jas (Jas Prince) is the reason I knew anything about Drake. Jas was kinda helping him to set this first project up. I think he knew what they had before we knew. So when Jas came to me and said, “I got this kid from Canada, he’s a big fan of yours and we have a dope record, and we want you to fuck with it,” and I was like, “Yeah yeah, sure sure.” And it literally slipped my mind. Not like “fuck him,” it was like I just forgot. Then Jas called me and said, “it’s the last day you gonna fuck with us or not?” And I was like man let me go fuck with this shit. So I went in and listened to it and when I first heard it the first thing that came to my mind was, “Oh my God, I almost missed this.” It was so dope, 40 on the beat and it was just so locked in. It was Taylor Made for me. Till this day it ended up being one of my favourite songs I’ve ever done. I remember that session, it was that last night they was working on the record and they turned it in and the rest is history. 10 years later and look at where we at.
HipHopCanada: And now you gonna be on the OVO Fest stage.
Lloyd: Yeah, now I’m performing at this niggas festival. (Laughs)
HipHopCanada: Aside from Drake, we have a lot of other talented artists from out here. Is there anybody else your listening to?
Lloyd: Kardinal was one of the first to break through.
HipHopCanada: Oh you know about Kardinal?
Lloyd: Yeah, I believe Bieber has some kinda roots out here also.
HipHopCanada: Yeah, Bieber is from here in Ontario. How about Jessie Reyez and Daniel Caesar?
Lloyd: Oh, they Canadian?
HipHopCanada: Yeah, both from here. I just wanted to know if you were listening to anybody else other than the Drakes and Tory’s? Like is there anybody on your radar from Toronto or Canada in general that you feel is up next?
Lloyd: News flash. Lloyd is probably the biggest fan/star that you’ll ever meet. So yeah, I play the role of the star but prolly 90% of my day consists of me being the biggest fan of these people. I listen to pretty much everybody that’s doing their thing. I understand what makes them special and I can relate to all of it. Daniel is one of the smoothest. In fact, I see Daniel and I wish I started off with the guitar. I just added the guitar to my repertoire after realizing there was something more to the music I could of been doing but Daniel came in with that shit. He’s one of the smoothest. I mean Jessie’s voice is amazing. It just ends up being this untapped resource of seasons and that’s a beautiful thing to realize. And like everybody had their season. Like I’m from New Orleans, we kinda kicked out that you know Soulja, Hot Boys, Weezy. Then ATL; I grew up in Atlanta we had a big season. Tip, TLC… even went to St. Louis for a while. Like it kinda hit all these spots but it never came up here. Until it came up here and next thing you know y’all some of the best. So I respect it, you know what it does for me. Everyone talks about the American Dream growing up. You start from the bottom and make it rich. You come over from somewhere else, you can make a good life for you and your family, but that Canadian dream was something nobody was really speaking of but that Canadian dream is sweet too, it’s dope to watch.
HipHopCanada: With it being Caribana and your wife being Trinidadian. What’s your favourite Caribbean food? Or something you wanna try while your out here? Roti?
Lloyd: I fucks with the doubles.
HipHopCanada: The doubles, eh?
Lloyd: Yeah, but I don’t like my shit spicy. (Laughs) Yeah, I like the doubles but I been looking for the Bake and Shark but I can’t find that in the States nowhere.
HipHopCanada: You’re gonna find that here for sure.
Lloyd: It don’t exist in the states the Bake and Shark and I really like callaloo.
HipHopCanada: Oh you on the callaloo. You like your greens.
Lloyd: And weed. I like that too. (Laughs)
HipHopCanada: That’s legal here, it’s a green light.
Lloyd: I love the other callalou. (Laughs)
HipHopCanada: Appreciate it.
During his stay in Toronto, Lloyd was taken care of by The Well Connected who gifted him with various goodies from sponsors including A&Co. Clothing, Mr. Fashion House, Topik Wear, Daneson, Herschel Supply, McGregor Socks, and KYSO Socks.
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