An interview with the West Island rapper following the release of his anticipated album, …At Least My Mom Loves Me
Maky Lavender’s trajectory to becoming a common name in the top contender category of the Montreal rap scene has been unique. His slow-growth over the last few years has been organic—word of mouth between those in the know with their ears to the ground, listening for the city’s next up-and-comers.
“There’s always things that come out through the cracks, and this time, I think it might be me,” Maky said with a hint of optimism. “I don’t get streams but I still get some attention because of the music, I’d like to think. It’s rare to see. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen it, maybe with Chance the Rapper or something, but it’s fun to be independent.”
Maky may have spoken too soon, as the recent release of his 4th studio album, …At Least My Mom Loves Me, has been positively received, and widely spread, among the Montreal hip hop community since its debut on Feb. 29. While this isn’t Maky’s first project by any means, the hype, legitimacy, and seriousness of it all makes it feel like it’s a new chapter.
“I feel like this is the first album,” he said. “Everything else before matters to me, but as an album, this is the first one.”
Maky’s discography differs depending on what streaming platform one uses. On Apple Music and Spotify, Blowfoam 2 is listed as his first album. “That’s good, we start with a sequel,” he laughed.
On Soundcloud, one can delve into his earlier cuts, Lavender Fields and BLOWFOAM. As for the first mixtape he ever released, that one is wiped clean from the internet.
“I started with dance first and then making music when I was 13, 14,” Maky recalled. “The first project was a little student mixtape. I made an album cover and people asked me where the album was, so I had to make a mixtape. So that’s where my music career really started.”
Despite the three year gap in between his most recent releases, Maky has stayed busy. His consistent rollout of singles such as “Cheese” and “TikTok” have kept him relevant and most recently gained the attention of local bookers for the upcoming festival season. In May, Maky will perform alongside industry names like 50 Cent and Booba, playing on the Saturday of Montreal’s second Metro Metro Festival. The following day, he’ll play the Santa Teresa fest in Ste-Therese. Last week, he participated in a promotional campaign with Reebok and Off The Hook boutique for the release of their new sneaker.
“I don’t trip about being overlooked or underrated,” he said. “I know that it’s really only because someone hasn’t told them about me yet.”
Maky’s achievements may seem sudden to some, but the artist has been chiselling away at his craft for years now. Working what he guessed to be over 10 or more jobs throughout his life, Maky enrolled in audio engineering school following a few years of CEGEP. While he produces a lot of his own material, Maky is working on earning respect as a rapper before asking for respect as a producer.
“I bet on myself a lot,” he said. “I went to school for this shit. You can’t get the credits to do everything though, so I’ll take the rapper credit. You can’t force people to give a f*ck—it doesn’t matter. It’s just about the music.”
…At Least My Mom Loves Me was first teased with the February debut of “Bloom,” a single accompanied by a well-received music video that acts as social commentary on the frequent racism experienced as a black performer, aptly released during Black History Month. The album title, commonly a response given to oneself in times of self-doubt or poor decision-making, is also a commentary on the world around us. Maky speaks about his patriarchal family history as Black men whose life circumstances and opportunities revolved around the time they were born in. With some relatives facing slavery and others who were soldiers at war, men were often consumed with toxic masculinity as a product of their environment and the times.
“The world just closes down so bad that you have nothing else but the woman who put you on this earth,” he said of the album title. “My mom has been good with this shit forever, she has never crossed me or done anything wrong, she’s always been there. Only women can have that way of loving something that they make. I think that was an important thing to say—that I’m a momma’s boy. People hated on me when I was growing up, calling me a little baby. But my mom never faked, she was always real. That album cover is actually a picture of my parents, with the lavenders.”
Maky is a proud and self-proclaimed momma’s boy, but he’s not perfect by any means.
“I know what it is,” he said. “I’m not an angel. You have songs like ‘Billy Gin’ and ‘5 Stars’ where I’m talking rowdy shit, but you also have songs like ‘Bloom’ and ‘Funkds.’ I think it’s just growing up and figuring out what the fuck it is—that’s just life.”
Photo by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil.