Born Lorenzo Lee-jae Wright on February 11, 1989 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he is the son of Jamaican immigrants. He grew up in Parma Court, a low-income neighborhood in the city’s east end. He was given the moniker “Lean” as a child, after a friend mistook his mother calling him “Lee” a short form of his middle name “Lee-jae.” He later went on to use “Big Lean” as his stage name.
He was one of three children. His parents split up when he was a child and his mother was left to raise him on her own. She was very supportive and told him he could do anything he wanted as long as he put his mind to it.
In his early years he was enrolled in a top-level basketball program, the Scarborough Basketball Association (SBA), but had to drop out due to financial difficulties. With nothing else to look forward to, it wasn’t long before he found himself hitting the streets and getting into trouble.
Sadly, 2002 was a tragic year for him. It was the year that his older brother passed away. Lean described his brother as an amazing person and a major influence in his life. “He was the reason why I never smoked weed,” Lean said. “He would say ‘If I ever catch you smoking weed I’ll kick your a**.’”
The death of his brother made him more focused on the streets and less on his schoolwork. He attended several different high schools, and eventually got expelled due to a poor attendance record. In frustration, he dropped out before he could complete his senior year.
He discovered his passion for rap when he was 19 years old, 2 years after his friend Blitz, a local rapper died. Lean had never thought about rapping before but somehow felt it was his duty to carry on his friend’s legacy. Hush aka Young Tony, a fellow Parma Court artist and friend was Lean’s rap mentor. “I learned a lot from him, just by watching him and listening to him rap,” said Lean.
When asked how he wants to be known, Big Lean had this to say: “I want to be known as the kid from Toronto, Canada, from metro housing, the projects, who did it big from the ground up and never forgot where he came from. I’m doing this for the people in my neighborhood and the people in housing projects around Toronto. I want to show them that just because we’re from that environment it doesn’t mean we can’t make it big.”
Big Lean released his fourth mixtape, Enough is Enough, in 2015.