Drake: I Remain Calm (Cover Story)

Drake: I Remain Calm (Cover Story)

What Drake is doing is appealing to the widest array of fans possible. Yeah, girls love him the way they used to love LL Cool J, thanks to his melodic love raps. But it's dudes, even those considered to be "true heads," who have really hoisted Drake to his current level. Why? Some say it's his affiliation with Cash Money Records that allows him to play in both sandboxes, that because he's backed by Birdman and Lil Wayne, he seems to belong on a track with Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy as much as he does on a song with Mary J. Blige. And what's wrong with that? Nothing, especially considering that Mr. Carter is slated to serve up to a year in prison for weapons possession charges stemming from a gun found when the NYPD raided his tour bus in 2007. With Cash Money/Young Money's primary breadwinner behind bars, someone's going to have to fill his Supras…

How's the atmosphere at Young Money now that Wayne is about to go to jail?
Drake: We don't really talk about it. It's surreal to me still. I guess on the day that it really happens, I'll start thinking about what I gotta do. I wanna have a talk with Wayne and ask him what he needs from me.

You and Wayne share an ability to cross over to diverse groups. What do you think it is that attracts polar-opposite groups to enjoy your music? Is it the Young Money affiliation alone?

My mom's friends listen to my music and don't feel weird about it. They feel weird listening to Wayne.

Drake: I'm not talking about a thousand rounds in a chopper or payin' 24, 23. It's just delivery. One of my favorite rappers in the world, Jeezy, is somebody who loves my music. For him to not only co-sign what I'm doing but also to want to make music with me is crazy. Wayne had this conversation with me like, "You're in a position where you could be a star. Not just a rapper star. A true star." Me being biracial, me being from Canada but having success in the States, I have all these moments in my life where I'm jumping roof to roof. Black to white. Singing and rapping. My mom's friends listen to my music and don't feel weird about it. They feel weird listening to Wayne.

Does anybody in your extended team ever push you to be more...anything, I guess?
Drake: Never. Nobody's ever come to me and said, "Yo, you need to start rapping about this." Not Sylvia [Rhone, president of Motown/executive VP of Universal], Wayne, Doug Morris [CEO of Universal]. Nobody's ever said that to me in my life. I don't think anybody could ever do that. I talk about my real life. That's undeniable shit.

I think it's just that you were so far from what people expected when they thought "Young Money."
Drake: Everyone seems to have a comment for me about Young Money, "Fuck Young Money" or "Why are you with them?" But what people have to understand is maybe there was a way for me to be successful without Young Money. But we'll never know. My loyalty is to Wayne, and that goes for anybody who genuinely believes in me. We don't have the most personal relationship where we hang out every day or we talk that much, but Wayne's admiration and respect goes without being verbally said. He put his neck out there for me at a very early stage, and those actions tell me everything I need to know about how he feels about me as an artist.

Take me through your songwriting process.
Drake: With R&B, I know my sound. I know I make records to fuck to.

[Laughs.]
Drake: The way Jay and Wayne write rap, I write R&B. I don't write lyrics down on paper. The other day, I was in the studio with Alicia Keys, and I wrote two songs just speaking to her. I wish I could write that way for rap. With my rap songs, there's so much of me I have to give that I don't know if I could ever just flow. The thing is, I'm a great rapper. There's two elements to rap: having the thoughts, and then being a great rapper. I can really rap the shit that I write. My tone, my inflection. When I listen to myself on records, I don't feel like I don't belong there. When I listen to "Forever," with three of my heroes, I fit right in.

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