Maky Lavender

Maky Lavender’s album helped him rebuild after self-destructing

An interview with the Montreal rapper about graduating from being an angsty teenager.

“This shit stinks,” exclaims Maky Lavender upon whiffing a square of le Vieux Pané cheese. Its gooey texture is also a huge turnoff for him — the West Island-bred rapper is more of an American cheese type of guy. “I like the garbage cheeses, the ones for melting…mozzarella and cheddar.” He rates the camembert at a soft “5.9 out of 10.”

The two of us sit in a food court in downtown Westmount, munching on the divisive snack alongside some crackers to celebrate the release of his new track, “Cheese,” which serves as the lead single off of Maky’s forthcoming debut album. The song, featuring JT Soul, has been dubbed by Lavender as the “#1 rap song in Montreal.” It oozes with this same confidence his description bears, with both artists shit-talking at elite levels.

As Maky reaches for the plastic butter knife to cut another piece of cheese, I notice a newly finished tattoo lies on his hand. It’s a superimposed photo of his parents from an old photoshoot. The design also serves as the rapper’s album cover. Maky’s mother and father have been a well of inspiration for him, both in and out of music.

“My dad is like, the nicest man in the world. He helps everybody out. My parents are fucking cute! They still love each other, and they started dating in high school.”

The album, which is set for release in early 2020, includes additional guest spots from the likes of Fouki, Speng Squire and Zach Zoya. Lavender shares that he used the album as an opportunity to unite all sectors of Montreal.

“I want to be a bridge between both sides [of the city]. Both sides often just don’t understand each other because nobody speaks to each other. I want to put it all together. I put people from the East End, the West, English, French, let’s all do a song together. Let’s all collab, let’s all care about this shit.”

Maky’s musical execution is comparable to Future: his album’s songs are fun and playful on the surface, yet the lyrics unveil certain levels of pain that come with too much partying.

“I used to get fucked up heavy,” he explains. “I haven’t gotten drunk in months now. I think you have to go through understanding what the fuck is up with you. I was single, I was wildin’…I think I needed that time to reflect. You learn who you are but you have to learn through experience.”

Maky cites self-reflection as a reason for his recent level-headedness. “I ain’t no saint,” he clarifies. “I still get fucked up here and there!” After all, the rapper has also been known to go by the alias of “Tanqueray Timmy,” though these days, he sticks to a light “gin and lychee juice” instead of sipping straight from the bottle.

Maky Lavender’s album helped him rebuild after self-destructing. Though extremely personal, Lavender also strived to keep the project light-hearted in its sonic essence.

“When I started making music, it was more expressing myself on some angsty-teenager, ‘Fuck this shit, hey, I hate everything!’ vibe. Dancing has always been a part of my family. My mom really likes what I do, she supports everything. She wants to listen to the music and I do not want my mom to be listening to songs where I’m talking some crazy shit.” ■

For more about Maky Lavender, please visit his Bandcamp page.

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