It was on a Sunday, I was scheduled to meet up and coming music artist Langston Francis, a seventeen year-old musician from Toronto making waves in his city with tracks like These Nights, FKDT IT UP, and Fall From Grace. He’s currently in the middle of his Canada tour and was scheduled to perform at the Rec Room that same evening. We were scheduled to meet at 2 pm in front of Chapters on Whyte Avenue so I could take Francis to Foosh, a local streetwear/shop located along Whyte Ave, an arterial shopping street in south-cental Edmonton. I met Langston in front of Foosh just after the 2 pm mark. He went in for a handshake but I insisted that we hug. After we embraced, he followed me into Foosh where I would show him some fresh sneakers and streetwear garments while we indulge in a conversation about his music.
After meeting Foosh employees Gemma and Mack, I took Langston over to the front of the shop where an array of sneakers were displayed on the wall. From the Nike Cortez, Air Max 97 in Summit White, to Old Skool Vans, Langston was no stranger to options. I told him he could try on any pair he wanted and I would snap a few shots on my camera. He walked over to the sneaker wall and hovered over two pairs of Special Field Air Force Ones. I immediately came to the conclusion that this dude has great taste in kicks for the Air Force 1 sneaker is not only a classic, but continues to be revolutionized in terms of colorway and style. One pair was black nylon with the tumbled leather and a white sole. The second pair was in the Desert Moss green colorway with the gum sole. Langston immediately gravitated towards the black pair but due to limited sizes, he went with the Desert Moss pair.
Langston had a chill vibe to him, even right down to the Roots crewneck and sweatpants. He told me he got his style inspiration from his older sister while growing up in Kensington, Toronto. She was big into thrifting and loved the hunt that followed when it came to looking for grail garments while not breaking the bank. He respects the designer brands but feels it doesn’t match to who he is as person, and in a musical sense. We slowly made our way to the clothing area where I showed Francis the brands that Foosh carries. From Stüssy, Air Jordan, Alpha Industries, Nike, Levi’s, Adidas Originals, FairPlay Brand and more. He tried on a green Alpha Industries bomber jacket and looked in the mirror with his hands clasped in front of his chest, showing off his rings. I told him to pose and he did it so quickly and effortlessly. He smirks and says that he was so shy when it came to posing for pictures but when he got more into music, he broke that cycle due to practice.
Langston is named after Langston Hughes, an American poet and novelist from Missouri. Francis was raised in Kensington, Toronto and developed an ear for sounds outside of the primary hip-hop genre. He enjoys sounds of folk and appreciates the infectiousness of “honest pop,” a genre that he says takes on a more urban sound as opposed to pop music that is repeated on the radio. His music taste is versatile for he is not afraid to try out new sounds. When he said this, Kendrick Lamar came to mind for he’s an artist who likes to study outside his genre and incorporates each music sound into each album he puts out. Langston is not only explorative when it comes to music sounds, but he plays instruments such as the piano and guitar to which he credits his mother for she enrolled him in music lessons. During our walk, he picks up a Stüssy long sleeve tee and admires the logo on the left sleeve for a photo op. The Air Jordan freak in me shows him the satin jacket and pants before we make our way back to the front of the shop.
We walk back near the front entrance of Foosh and sit down in front of the window. I was curious to know how long it took for him to do a song. For his track FCKD IT UP, the first and second verses took 20 minutes for it flowed nicely with the beat and hook. I mentioned Kanye West who is a well-known perfectionist in areas of production, lyricism and just overall creativity, hence why it takes him longer to put out music. Langston nodded then said that imperfections is what makes songs better for it allows more room for growth, puts your ego in check, and in Langston’s case, gives him more opportunities to expand his sound. We got up and he went over to admire the array of Stance socks, I paid close attention to which ones he touched to see if his choice aligned with his musical personality. He picked up a pair showing Andre 3000 from the cover of the Stankonia album and I wasn’t surprised considering both artists serve as the epitome of what is means to be musically diverse.
Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to get to know Langston based on his music but getting to know him in a different setting without structured questions allowed him to talk about his craft and I could tell by how he talked, the passion was there. It let me know that although this young man is on his way to greatness, he’s still learning the game and doesn’t let his ego get in the way. As long as he gets to do what he loves and has the support of his family, friends and fans, it doesn’t feel like work. What blew my mind was that this young man was so dedicated to both his music and being a student on the side. He is adamant on finishing high school, blessing his listeners with more music and headlining more shows in that order. I just peeped his instagram this morning only to discover that he will be performing at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal this weekend! The universe works in mysterious ways and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Langston Francis. Your future is looking bright my man!