Updated: Feb 1, 2020
Words by Amy Ryan
It’s an exciting time for Toronto’s music scene. With so much buzz around the city, artists are continuously experimenting with ways to stand out and Toronto rapper Tino is no exception.
Tino’s passion for music can be traced back to the fourth grade when he got his first taste of performing. One day while on the playground, Tino was thrown into a circle and rapped a couple lines that happened to rhyme, leading his fellow nine-year-olds to freak out and sparking his curiosity in music. Fast forward a few years to his early high school days, when Tino began seriously getting into music by studying different artists and genres. It’s also when he started writing songs about girls, coke, and lean despite having never done coke or lean. He was regurgitating what he heard, trying to emulate different rappers.
Throughout the years, Tino continues to write new songs almost every day. The Toronto native recorded his first project his first year out of high school, but took it down after only three weeks. Although the project gave him confidence, contacts, and got him over his fear of putting himself out there, the project ultimately wasn’t the music he wanted to create.
“I learned along the way of what I have to do; how to approach things properly even down to writing - not just writing a bunch of lyrics and finding a beat for it. It's about feeling out the moment, thinking of an experience beforehand, going into it with an idea. Now I'm at a place where I know I can do what I want to do” Tino explains.
Any free time Tino has is dedicated to making music. Right after Minutia released back in June, Tino was already on the phone to Lance, the album’s sole producer, to plan time to start recording for the next album.
“I’m trying to work as much as I can, but at the same time, there’s nothing really to be proud of right now. We’re still slaving away with part-time jobs. We’re still in the same position as we were before we dropped the album. The work isn’t done. I can be content in the moment with the music, but at the same time, the work isn’t done; there’s still a long way to go. There’s no stopping till I’m at a place we can do this full time and make a living off of this” he says.
Each session is different for Tino. Some days he and his team produce multiple songs, sometimes they struggle with one. Their process starts with the beat, then they find something to fit it. When putting together the lyrics, Tino looks back to random ideas he’s written down or certain topics he’s been meaning to explore, but it all comes down to whatever comes out best in the moment.
“The energy has to be right,” explains Tino, “when you’re listening to something you should be able to picture a scene in your head. You’re not listening just to listen to it.”
As for his next project, Tino has already started recording and though it’s still in its early stages, it is already closer to the type of music he knew he eventually wanted to make, explaining, “it’s a lot more personal and more of a risk.”