Who is Vory? Well, you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask—and that’s entirely by design. The Houston-born, Louisville-raised rapper seldom frequents social media, and when he does, he rarely shows his face. Don’t confuse the black mask he wears in public for a disguise, however. Vory likes to maintain an air of mystery around himself, but he has nothing to hide.

It’s a dreary Wednesday afternoon at the Roc Nation offices in New York City when Vory walks into a serene matte black conference room and greets me with a smile (contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t always cover his face in the mask). The veil doesn’t lower often, but behind certain closed doors, it comes off completely. 

The 24-year-old artist prefers to do his talking through music, but after a long day of meetings in preparation for the release of his new project Lost Souls, his positive energy still manages to fill the space. He speaks in a low, rumbling tone as he answers questions with patience and poise, operating with the composure of a rap veteran, because in some ways, he is. 

Despite the fact that he’s just now showing up on the radar of some mainstream fans, Vory has been working with high-level talent for nearly a decade now. He was featured on Bryson Tiller’s “Breaking Bread” back in 2015 and later co-wrote Tiller’s smash hit “Don’t.” He even earned a Grammy at 21 years old thanks to writing credits on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s 2018 song “Friends,” before meeting Meek Mill in 2020 and joining his Dreamchasers label.

He’s unphased by all the accolades and recognition he’s received, though, because that’s not what motivates him to make music. “I don’t get excited about stuff like that, like awards,” he tells me. “It’s like a report card to me, it just shows that I did good. I already know that I did good, that’s what I’m supposed to do. You supposed to be in it to win it.”

All of these accomplishments represented significant milestones in his career, but nothing put him on the mainstream music map quite like his work with Kanye West. He delivered a standout performance on Kanye’s Donda, contributing vocals to three songs, and stole the show with a mix of somber crooning and blissful melodies. Fans couldn’t get enough of his voice, and it turns out he was initially supposed to show up on the album even more. “I was originally featured on Donda five times,” he reveals. “And [Kanye] was just like, ‘Bruh, we damn near got an EP on this thing.’ So I guess his team decided that three times was enough.”