Do you ever have to censor yourself when telling personal stories? On “From Time” you mentioned a “Courtney from Hooters on Peachtree,” and people tracked her down online. Do you ever feel the need to change names or details?
That was my biggest wake-up call. I’ve just gotten too big to do that. I never wanted to cause her any stress in her life, and I think she’s such a good, wholehearted person. They made up this whole fake flyer online [about] hosting parties, which she doesn’t. She’s like the best girl ever. It was tough for me to watch that happen. I repeatedly kept apologizing. I didn’t think it was that specific—she doesn’t even work there anymore. I don’t want to be looked at as a guy who exploits his relationships, but I feel it’s okay because I’m not saying anything negative. I’m just telling the story and usually in their favor, usually saying I was the one that fucked up. I don’t know if I’m ever gonna continue with that formula, but it definitely gives people a more personable listen. And I feel like I’ve established these characters. Paris Morton is a character—I always check in with Paris, like “this is happening, this is what it is.” I think people are intrigued, like “Who is this girl that’s your muse? Who is Bria? Why did she get an interlude?” With Courtney I just expected it to go a little better. It got blown out of proportion because she was too accessible. My apologies to her, formally.
On “Too Much,”  you speak about the effect that your success has had on your relationship with your family in Memphis.
That’s actually what the “Worst Behavior” video is about. I’ve been hesitant to go to Memphis. It’s tough there. I have a lot of family that I love very deeply, but it’s tough to go around people who could use your help and you can’t help everybody. As much as they love you, they’re gonna come to you. It’s like a guilt or a burden that comes over me, so I hadn’t gone to Memphis in a long time. I been there for a couple of shows, but I was in and out. I kind of refuse to address my real thing that I have there, which is vast family. Instead of just running from it, I just went and embraced it and shot this incredible, beautiful video with my beautiful family, and helped out as many people as I could while I was there. Now I can’t wait to go back. I feel I’m on good terms, and it’s one part of my life I have to accept that’ll never change. It’s always going to be tough.
 “Drake was listening to an unreleased Sampha song as I walked into the studio. I heard 'Don’t think about it too much' and was like 'Whoa, that’s perfect!” —Nineteen85
Tennessee is a lot more segregated than Toronto. Did you have any eye-opening racial experiences on those childhood summers in Memphis?
Yeah, not even just Memphis. My dad would come pick me up from Toronto the day I got out of school and drive back to Memphis. So we’d be on the road for 28 hours in a Mercury Cougar. We would stop off in places, like, bad places. Places where there’s nobody at the tables, but they look at you, like, “Nah, we’re full.” That happened to us before.
Was that surprising to you?
It was different because Toronto is a mosaic. I had friends from all walks of life, and there’s very little visible racism or profiling in Toronto, as far as law is concerned. The racism I experienced was being Jewish. Jewish kids didn’t understand how I could be black and Jewish, ’cause we’re all young. It was just stupid, annoying rich kids that were closed-minded and mean, so I dealt with that more than anything. But it had everything to do with being Jewish, not being black. Like, “Why is this guy having a bar mitzvah?” It was just tough for them to understand.
On “Tuscan Leather,” you say “my life’s a completed checklist,” which we’re not nearly naive enough to believe.
What else is on your list of goals?
That line pertains to where I’m at right now. I’ve achieved so much. I have new goals every day. I went to go see a house the other day I fell in love with. I can’t afford it. [Laughs] That shit’s expensive, on some [Mike] Tyson shit. The ultimate goal, that one never really changes. I wanna raise a family, be a good father.
Big family or small family?
I don’t know, man. I’m not ready for all that. I just wanna be a good father. I don’t wanna not have time to do it. That’s far off. It’s time to go in now. I just want people to look back one day, like, “That guy dictated so much in my life. He was the soundtrack.” I listen to my father and uncles talk about old soul that way. I just wanna be remembered as being honest. And I wanna be celebrated in my city. It’s showtime. The lights are on. Chubbs—that’s my guy—he says, “The lights on you, what you gonna do?” That’s my life motto. “The lights are on me, so what am I gonna do?”
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