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A lesson in moxie from Toronto’s upcoming hip-hop artist Tara Lord


“Can’t let my dreams slip out of my hands no/I wanna go go go go, no hitting no breaks/Now I am on a go go go go mode/Whatever it takes/I was born for this life/ If you didn’t know/Now you know/Get it right/Motherfuckers don’t even know what it’s like/Threw out my hook, and I wished for a bite” — My Whole Life, by Tara Lord.


This is how the Canadian hip-hop singer Tara Lord etches her destiny as a musician in her song My Whole Life. “I know it's kind of a rare thing, but I've known that I wanted to be an artist since I was a little girl,” she confidently asserts when I meet her in February. At the time she had just released the single Mine Again, which came out on Valentine’s Day. With her latest single, Tara Lord experiments with new sounds, matching lyrics she’s long had in store with a nostalgic beat. “I got inspired to write that track because I wanted to make an R&B song with 90s/2000s inspired lyrics and that was just an innocent and relatable love song,” she said. “The song is about breaking up for the wrong reasons and realizing that it was a mistake. It’s about that feeling of wanting your lover back.” 


Tara Lord's path, like her passion, started from a young age. At only 8 years old, her dad — the renowned Canadian rapper RP Rap, a.k.a Top Secret — started training her. After four years she debuted with her first stage name: Little T. Growing up around artists, thanks to her dad’s career and his studio Top Secret, Tara Lord soaked up the atmosphere of Toronto’s old-school hip-hop scene. It explains why Lord, even with a childhood love for pop legends, ranging from Michael Jackson, Rihanna, to Beyoncé, ultimately embraced hip-hop as her signature sound following another idol, the rap Queen Nicky Minaj. 


Nowadays, trap beats from two New York-native rappers, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and J.I the Prince of NY, waft from her headphones. She also listens to her own music, not only for work purposes — memorizing the words and noting parts she wants to change or adjust — but also as a mature act of self-love. “Now I feel like I reached the stage where I am a fan of my own music and it was kind of a proud moment for me to be able to say ‘You know what? I'm actually enjoying listening to my own songs’” Lord said.

This self-confidence is even more important in a male-dominated industry and genre, where female rappers have the burden of proving themselves in ways their male counterparts don’t. “People are harder on females. I feel like it’s like this anywhere, but so far I have noticed it in Toronto,” Lord reflects. And she’s not the only female artist challenging  the double standard.  Even billboard-topping rappers like Houston’s  Megan Thee Stallion aren’t immune.  “A man can be as mediocre as he wants to be but still be praised,” she argued in an interview for Marie Claire. And regarding controversies following her hit single WAP, she added, “a man can talk about how he’s about to do all of these drugs and then come and shoot your house up. But as soon as I say something about my vagina, it’s the end of the world?” And even if nowadays people are talking about the ‘Renaissance of female rap’, the industry is far from creating an equal scene for all genres.


Social media has become an essential tool for artists to communicate and grow their fanbase, but one that can also damage confidence. “Social media is a blessing and a curse,” Lord continued, “[and] if not used properly, it can be very toxic to anyone but especially as an artist. Sometimes we set unrealistic expectations on ourselves and we worry too much about our followers, how many views we're getting, about the negative comments and things like that”. From her perspective, the best way to engage with online platforms is to find balance, acknowledging the importance of the medium and embracing the most positive aspects.


Tara Lord performed at Rolling Loud Toronto in September 2022, officially becoming part of Toronto's hip-hop history. “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to perform on stage and open for people who I listened to, which was a really unreal moment,” said Lord. Her next step is releasing her first EP and hopefully, soon, to start working on ticking off names from her dream artists collaboration list. A few of the collabs she’s eyeing include personal favorites like A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Jesse Reyez, Janae Aiko, Burna Boy and of course, Toronto’s reigning rap star, Drake. Talking about the near future she stays focused: “Right now I feel like I'm in this space where I'm just really developing my craft growing and learning as an artist making the music and just getting ready for this summer”.

04 XPULENT | MUSIC, MAR 18, 2023

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