One of our staff members tweeted, “Why is it every time I have a conversation about upcoming albums, it always ends with 'Yeah but I can't wait for that Drake album though.'” That's a lot of pressure.
It's not, because I have the product. With So Far Gone, it wasn’t a matter of product, it was something we were doing on our own time, on our own schedule with no limitations, no sample-clearances, no deadlines, no nothing.
To me, as happy as I am about the result of that project, it was much easier to create than an album because it was just so free. It's hard to mess that up. You can do anything. You can take anyone's song and flip it.
Then Thank Me Later was a point in my life that was completely real. Not a little bit more, like a new aspect, like your life, it changed. And you are required to write an album about it in four months. But, we need it. And then want it. Not even like “we need it” because my labels never pressured me. But it was just like, that's the timeline.
You seem very excited and happy. All your boys are getting money. But in your music I hear a tinge of loneliness. Am I way off?
It gets lonely two times for me: One, when I see people's normal lives progressing, like falling in love, marriage, getting a job. When I catch glimpses of the life that I could have had—not that I'd ever want to go back—but it does make you feel a bit like 'Damn, I hope this is the right path and I hope I'm going to be OK.'
Yeah, it's a lonely life man. It belongs to the people, they go wherever they sell you. You travel according to however much money you want to make or whoever wants to book you. And yeah, it definitely gets lonely even if you bring people along.
It gets lonely two times for me: One, when I see people's normal lives progressing, like falling in love, marriage, getting a job. When I catch glimpses of the life that I could have had—not that I'd ever want to go back—but it does make you feel a bit like “Damn, I hope this is the right path and I hope I'm going to be OK.”
And then like, my apartment just makes the weirdest noises at night. Like I don't know what's going on in there, but it's like the weirdest clinks and clanks. It's super creepy and shit, so I hate sleeping alone.
Do you feel like, the success and the position you’re in now has enabled you to, like, become the “King of Toronto”?
First of all I never self-proclaimed myself, period. You did that. But I'll take it. Yes, success plays a major part in it. Obviously fame plays a major part it in. But it also takes some decision-making too, like I could've surrounded myself with some fucked-up people and they could’ve dragged me all the way down. It could've never ended up like this, you know?
I feel like I've made very very smart, conscious decisions that have landed me here, so I won't necessarily all the way attribute it to—for example, you take the OVO scenario. I can't attribute that to money or fame. That's just attributed to the way I treat people, and the way that I provided opportunity for some of the guys from all those places, hopeless places.
Giving them a reason to come together.
Again, I don't ever want to say that I've done that. Something could happen tomorrow and then I'm a liar. I'm just saying, on that particular day, on that moment, it was peaceful. We were drinking, we were laughing, it was all good right then and there.
I don't ever want to be threatening. That's just not cool to me. I'd rather be smart, get girls, get money, have fun with my friends. I don't ever want to be threatening, that's not something I'm ever working towards.
That's got a lot to do with the character that I am and the fact that I'm non-threatening to a lot of people, and I don't ever want to be threatening. That's just not cool to me.
I'd rather be smart, get girls, get money, have fun with my friends. I don't ever want to be threatening, that's not something I'm ever working towards. That sort of led me to the point I'm at as well.
Even in the city shaking hands, looking people in their eyes, always tipping people, being nice, signing autographs for little kids. People come to my table and ask me to sign something for their family, OK I'll do it. You are in my city and I love you. I'll do that anywhere really.
It's just like a demeanor, they will love you if you give them a reason to. But they don't love me for money or fame because that doesn't belong to them. It belongs to me. It's talent that brought me here, talent and the stars aligning and the right partnerships forming.
Really my money and my fame have nothing to do with anybody because they will never see into that. I can't say that someone loves me because my money is my money. You can love me for the lifestyle that I display.
That's different though, that has to do with me. If I give you enough to love me for that reason, then I'm doing something right because I could keep to myself and you would never see me. I feel like it has to do with the character, the person.
I'd love for you to explain that line “My top 5 either lost it or they ain’t alive.”
I just felt like at that time, my favorite rappers weren't moving me. I was like, do I really rap better than this guy that I look up to? What happened, did something change?
I just felt like at that time, my favorite rappers weren't moving me. I was like, do I really rap better than this guy that I look up to? What happened, did something change? I won't even say names, just based off the fact that, it wasn't meant to, it could be anybody.
You put your top 5 in there. You ask yourself, are they still going as hard as they were? Or did something change in our ears or our minds? I don’t know. And just me kind of realizing like damn, has it really been that long, do my favorite rappers really only have like one or two albums left before it's time to call it quits? Or it gets awkward because they are rapping at a certain age about shit that isn't relateable?
Do you want to stop before you get a point where people are like, “Why is Drake still rapping?”
Yeah, I know I'm going to get to that point. Only because my career is thriving at 24. The only other person reminiscent of that is Wayne’s who had an opportunity when he was super young. That's very different from all these other rappers. A lot of these careers took off at 28, 29.
I tied 50 [Cent] for the most rap No. 1s in history. I'm just saying—the shit is crazy. It's crazy but that's the type of shit I don't dwell on. It's cool to read. I was like ‘Wow.’ It's great to read but I just want to keep doing it, you know?
So I know I'm at a spot before I get to that point but at the same time, I look at someone like Jay, and I always tip my hat to that guy. To span generations the way he has is incredible. I think Ye will do the same thing, you know. I think Ye has that mind, he's always down to make music that's groundbreaking. He's always there to take risks. I think he has the ability to make the exact same run.
But my music right now is just about being young, so I'm going to take that standpoint. That's just what I'm about. Right now, cause I'm allowed to be. I tied 50 [Cent] for the most rap No. 1s in history. I'm just saying—the shit is crazy. It's crazy but that's the type of shit I don't dwell on. It's cool to read. I was like ‘Wow.’ It's great to read but I just want to keep doing it, you know?
I didn't know I was that far along. I don't ever really keep track. If someone forwards me an email, I'll read it. It's not a numbers game, it's not a statistics game anymore. The only thing I ever register is how little rap artists have top No. 1s. Jay-Z, one top No. 1 his whole career. Wayne, one. Kanye, three. One. That's crazy! To penetrate that world, do you know how difficult that is? It's crazy.