Are there other rappers you bounce ideas off of that may give you a line?
Drake: I've done it with three people. You don't want to have clowns in the studio being like, "You should do it like this!" That shit'll get annoying. But when you have a valid opinion around, it takes a lot of the pressure off.
Is one of those "valid opinions" from a rapper named Nickelus F.?
Drake: Not really. Me and F worked together at a younger stage in my life, but I can't really say that I all-the-way utilized Nickelus for anything on So Far Gone. F's one of the most gifted people I know at finding flows. I like to write for myself, though. He's helped me before, just not on a consistent basis. But yeah, F is dope.
At the moment, you're in Atlanta working on Thank Me Later, but mentioned you still need to get in the studio with Wayne.
Drake: Me and Wayne have done so much already, but if anybody has a repeat feature on this album, it'd probably be Wayne. We have a formula, a musical bond that works when we come together. I just wanna do it super-big—bigger than "Every Girl," bigger than "Best I Ever Had." I'd love to have a number-one record with Wayne. That's the only record on the album that I think that way about.
Do you know what you want it to sound like?
Drake: Yes and no. We tried to go into it with a song called "My Darling Baby," but it leaked. It was me and Wayne using our wit to entertain women, alternating mini-verses. They're all cool punchlines and nothing sounds repetitive. When I think of a record for me and Wayne, I want to do something that's sexy. Something that still has us rapping, but for women to enjoy.
Would that song have made the album?
Drake: Definitely. I write best about two things, which is evident from the cover of So Far Gone: the constant quest to understand love and money. I want it and I want to understand it.
Where does that need come from?
Drake: The relationship I was in before So Far Gone influenced a lot of lyrics. A lot, a lot of the lyrics. The first five records on the mixtape are sort of like a timeline of that relationship, you know?
Drake: You wouldn't know her. She's great; I was able to walk away with moments, which I guess is better than walking away with nothing. But ultimately, I'm still trying to figure it out. I come up with the answers, about myself and my own thought process when it comes to love, as I'm writing. That's when my realest thoughts manage to make their way out.
So we're going to hear that on Thank Me Later?
Drake: This album is me trying to catch my footing again because everything's changed. It's a beautiful thing, 'cause I've just been waving, like, "Hold on, stop." Part of being able to make a new album is taking things day to day, being observant, being able to write about the shit that's going on.
How much will it have in common with So Far Gone?
Drake: I'm not really worried—there's no "This has to fuckin' change the industry." Six months is the most you can ask of any fan in this day and age, with the Internet and all these new artists. I understand that my music is in a lot of mediums. It's in clubs, it's on the radio, it's at basketball games, it's the theme song when girls wanna get naked on WorldStar HipHop. Some people want me to make an R&B album. Some people want me to never sing again. I just don't want people to be able to draw comparisons between my old songs and my new ones.
So what differentiates them?
Drake: I always view my music like a city at night, like Atlanta. I view my music in lights.
What kind of lights was So Far Gone?
Drake: So Far Gone would be my experiences in Toronto at night. Houston really inspired me, and a little bit of L.A. Whereas with this album I wanna do it like L.A. at night, New York at night, Atlanta at night.
So it's more major this time around?
Drake: I don't want to lose the other people in the cities I mentioned, but it's more major.
Our very first interview, which was just about a year ago, I remember you saying that when you did an album, it would keep the mixtape feel. What's changed?
Drake: Just because I had a winner, it doesn't mean I'm gonna be like, "OK, I need a new ‘Successful.'" That's silly. I just don't want anything to sound like anything else, which I hope is everybody's vision.