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The Best of Fader’s Exclusive Interview with Drake

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“I’ve never felt like, ‘Oh, people will bite at anything that’s Drake,’” he says. “I’m just not that guy. I don’t feel that way about any of my music… If it didn’t connect, I would have a huge problem.”

“I mean, I’m really trying. It’s not like I’m just sitting here, just fuckin’ shooting with my eyes closed. Like, I’m trying. I’m really trying to make music for your life.”

“I always used to be so envious, man, that Wiz Khalifa had that song ‘Black and Yellow,’ and it was just a song about Pittsburgh,” Drake says. “Like, the world was singing a song about Pittsburgh! And I was just so baffled, as a songwriter, at how you stumbled upon a hit record about Pittsburgh. Like, your city must be elated! They must be so proud. And I told myself, over the duration of my career, I would definitely have a song that strictly belonged to Toronto but that the world embraced. So, ‘Know Yourself’ was a big thing off my checklist.”

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What distinguishes Drake’s devotion to Toronto from generic hometown pride is that it comes across as the opposite of provincial. This is a testament to Toronto’s unique cultural diversity: the city’s population is about 50 percent foreign born, with immigrant communities from countries like Jamaica, the Philippines, India, and many others. To be influenced by Toronto, in other words, is to be influenced by cultures from all over the world.

Drake has been channeling those diverse inputs with great enthusiasm lately, most obviously in his use of Toronto-by-way-of-the-Caribbean slang (ting, touching road, talkin’ boasy and gwanin’ wassy) and even religious Arabic words like mashallah and wallahi, a wink to Toronto’s Somali population. “We use [that lingo] every day,” he says, “but it just took me some time to build up the confidence to figure out how to incorporate it into songs. And I’m really happy that I did. I think it’s important for the city to feel like they have a real presence out there.”

“I just want to be remembered as somebody who was himself. Not a product.”

“I love dancehall flows, especially as of late,” he says. “I pretty much won’t even rap on a beat unless it’s got some magic element of new tempo or new pocket, where I hear myself and feel like I’ve stumbled upon something new.”

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“A new flow is absolutely the most crucial discovery in rap, to me,” Drake says. “Honestly, like, I love that I’m sitting here talking to you, but at the same time I don’t, because I want to go to the studio, and I’m praying that 40 has a beat, so that I can do something new that I’ve never done before. That is my main joy in life.”

“Music at times can be a collaborative process, you know? Who came up with this, who came up with that—for me, it’s like, I know that it takes me to execute every single thing that I’ve done up until this point. And I’m not ashamed.”

“We may be worlds apart in the sense of, you know, where you’re from, where I’m from, what I’m doing, what you’re doing—but what are we talking about?” he says. “We’re talking about very simple human emotions. We’re talking about love, sometimes. We’re talking about triumph, we’re talking about failure, we’re talking about nerves. We’re talking about fear. We’re talking about doubt. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing—you gotta at least hear what I’m saying to you. And I pray that it helps.”

“Not even ‘helps,’” he says. ‘“Helps’ is a weird word. I don’t ever want to think I’m ‘helping.’ It’s not about helping. It’s more like, even though we’re not carrying on a dialogue, I hear you, you know? And when I make an album, all I want you to know is I hear you.”

“Vulnerability, to me, sometimes comes in the form of being naïve about where I am in the pecking order of all this,” he says. “So I think I realize where I’m at now. And I think I realize that I’m gonna have to be OK with not having that many friends that are peers.”

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The CEO of VAIN LLC and founder of EricaVain.com. Just a dope chick from Baltimore, Md that loves to watch TV and Movies, Drink Wine and talk about the latest in Entertainment, Tech and Music.

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