The Buzz| The most talked about new artist in Hip-Hop
The Makeup | Twenty two years of age. Canadian born. Actor/ Rapper/ Singer
The Hype | Best I Ever Had
Is there a reason you have done limited press? You are hot property right now?
Yeah I’m very selective with everything I do, but part of the reason is like a lot of people don’t really know how to get in touch with me. They have me working so hard in terms of touring and stuff that it’s so hard for me to get a moment to even sleep, you know? I’m always in the studio, and then when I’m not I’m trying to catch a necessary couple of hours sleep. So I mean it’s been a hectic few months.
Did you expect the mixtape to cause such an impact?
Well first of all I’d like to say thank you very much, I mean you could never say I expected it to happen or I expected it to ’cause this much of a frenzy and buzz but I’m very grateful for it. The best part about it for me is that the mixtape is very genuine to me, very authentic and very much who I am as a person. So for the audience to love it, that just lets me know that I can be myself in this game and continue to give them the most honest and pure form of Drake.
There’s a line in the mixtape where you say “Now the hipsters have to get on with the hood n****s.” What were you implying by that?
You know, I’ve come from a TV show [Degrassi] and I have worked with Lil Wayne, so I think my fan base is complied of a lot of different people. Like I got fans who listen to the Cool Kids and stuff like that, then real fans in the slums, like in New Orleans or in the hood. I got a letter in the mail the other day from a dude who’s in prison doing a stretch, and he’s talking about how my music gets him through. I don’t know how he got my music in jail but he says my music really speaks to him and like when I go to New Orleans to perform with Lil Wayne, I always get people from the hood coming up to me and showing their love. They love the joints that are about life, and that is my life but everyone can relate to it. When I’m doing shows I feel like they’re are so many different people there from so many different walks of life and I think it’s a great thing to be able to appeal to so many different things.
Has it been a hard transition from “Fitting In” to “Standing Out”?
I don’t know I mean writing about yourself it’s a methodical process, but often I feel more confident about myself. I’ve accepted all of the things that people may see as flaws or that I may see as flaws as a part of me. I think that before I was worried and tried to fit in; like in high school I was always trying to fit in. I was lost about who I was and now I stand out. I stand out as a young but aware and ready guy and that was the gist of that line. That transition is a big thing.
You are coming across really humble right now but in your music you sound very confident, almost cocky. Is that like a rap alter ego?
I think it’s my life in general. I was always taught when I was young to be a humble person and music is my arena – it’s the one place where I know I’m good at what I do and I know that the whole point in doing it is to be the best. As much as I idolize Wayne and Jay-Z, I don’t want to be like them. I want to better. You have to be confident in your music and in yourself. It has to show through, not all the time because I’m confident and I’m honest about myself in my music and it shows. It’s all just a whirlwind of different emotions that make you the artist that you are and it’s so important cause that’s how you start getting people concerned and worried and that’s part of the job
One of our favourite tracks on the mixtape is “Say What’s Real”. You say you are anti-social; does that make the industry hard for you now because you have to be social?
Yeah it’s challenging and at times it’s exhausting, but the key to surviving that is having the right people around you all the time and having the right team in place that’s a solid group of people that will help you filter out the people who are just fake. I’m anti-social in an education atmosphere, because I just didn’t like school but I’ve never liked it and I’ve never been the type to want to go to school. But as a person, I’m a social individual and I try my best to be a social and charming young man. In that particular atmosphere [education] I just didn’t want to be there.
Are you enjoying the groupies?
(Laughs) No I don’t enjoy groupies. I enjoy women; I enjoy women who are educated and ambitious. I don’t really give a damn for the groupies. I’ve always been attracted to the women who carry themselves with the utmost class; that’s just me. But the best thing about this business is that I get to meet a lot of those women. There are a lot of them in the entertainment business.
All the other new up-coming Hip-Hop artists are seen working together. Do you have a good relationship with any of them?
Kid Cudi – to me out of all those guys he’s the most talented. He’s a person whose music I enjoy the most. We talked in Panama, I was there for spring break.
Interesting you say Kid Cudi cause that’s the guy that everyone seems to be putting you against as the two to watch.
People are going to try and create that sense, but as I said I have the utmost respect for him as an artist and he’s the only one out of those guys who I really listen to and really like. I’m proud of Cudi, I listen to Cudi. He knows that. That’s all that matters. As long as we communicate that and he knows that, that’s all that matters.
Not many people in the UK know a lot about you on a personal level. Were your parents supportive of you being in entertainment?
My parents, yeah they have always been supportive in anything that I chose to do or would have chosen to do. Growing up was great. I grew up between Toronto and Memphis I got the cultural experience of Toronto and the southern experience of Memphis. I had a great childhood growing up and I’m not saying it was all easy, but there were challenges like being Jewish and being half black and half white but it all made me a stronger person.
Did you get a lot of knock backs at the start because you’re not from New York and because you were an actor first?
That’s sort of back to the thing that scared me but it’s one of the things that worked out in my advantage. This sort of light skinned kid that was on a TV and now is a number one artist to watch. In a way the story’s more interesting that way if I was a kid who grew up in New York and having such an abstract upbringing than a kid who went to drama school. They’re always good things.
You worked with Jay-Z… How was that?
It’s an honour to be working with him and it’s good to meet someone in the industry, who you look up to and admire, then you meet them and they’re everything that you hoped they would be. That’s what I can say about him; he’s everything I hoped for and more. To get the chance to work with him is just confirming that there is only one Jay-Z. You always want to perform your best and be your best and impress people, but in the back of your mind to be in this business you have to have the kind of mentality that says, “Look, if I’m here, then I’m here for a reason to be in this studio with Jay, and to be on tour with Wayne.” As honoured as I am, and as humble as I am to be with them, I also know that I must have earned it. I’m here because one day I could be as big as Jay or maybe even bigger, so I’m just going to do what I can and appreciate every moment. Yeah, it’s pressure, but it’s a great pressure.
Can you elaborate on rumours that you are working on Dr. Dre’s Detox?
I was enlisted with a few other big name rappers to write for Detox; that’s all I can really say [laughs].
What do you say to those who just say you are cross between Kanye and Lil Wayne?
They are some of my favourite artists. I’m flattered by the comparisons and embrace them. At the end of the day I’m focused on being the first Drake, not the next Kanye or Wayne. My flaws are my strengths and what make me stand out.
Do you feel pressure to deliver with the debut album after the success of So Far Gone?
The mixtape was a chance to make my brand of music. We could do whatever we wanted without answering to anyone, but definitely no pressure. I’m just excited to get back in the studio and make more music. It’s really not about who I’ve signed with or anything like that. I have an amazing team and support system around me who won’t let me fail.
*Note this interview took place before Drake’s knee injury, so recent events have not been referenced.
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