All eyes are on Drake as he prepares to release one of the year’s biggest albums. So what does he say to all the instigators, trash-talkers, and sweater-haters? “Take Care.” We met the Toronto MC to talk girls, his new album, and the most important moment in his career—right now
Ninety-nine percent of people who listen to hip-hop have never sold drugs. But one-hundred percent have had their heartbroken. In the span of just three years, Drake has captured the temperament and thoughts of that generation. There are thousands of people, perfect strangers to Drake, convinced that songs like “Marvins Room” or “Trust Issues” were written about their lives. But they’re actually true tales of a romantic trapped in a superficial world. Ever since Take Care, his third album (we know you think it’s his second but he classifies So Far Gone as an album, not a mixtape—and so do we, so kick rocks) leaked this week, the response has been, well, massive. Drake gave us the back-story on the album’s title, how it stacks up against his other albums, and the real meaning behind some of your favorite Drizzy lyrics.
GQ: It seems like the world is excited.
Drake: [Huge smile] Yeah, man, I hope so.
GQ: You announced the title of this album, Take Care, with us back in December. What does it mean?
Drake: No one has actually asked me that yet. I came up with the name when I was on a bus in Birmingham, England, going to a show. “Take Care” is this thing we use in passing conversation to dismiss bullshit like, “Oh, you couldn’t make it on time? Oh, take care, take care.” We’ve always used that and then I really took so much care making this album. I knew I was going to go home and take longer than six months, I knew that I was literally going to take care of making this project and be attentive, be clear, be immersed in it. “Take Care” worked.
GQ: You seem more excited releasing Take Care than you were with Thank Me Later. Do you have any regrets with your last album?
Drake: No, I never regret. It did amazing things for my career and as a sonic composition, I’m still proud of it. It was just very weird to make an album, for sale, in four months on a tour bus. It wasn’t So Far Gone. So Far Gone was my first album, so I felt like it was unfair to me. Like damn, I just made So Far Gone. Now I have to come right back out with another piece.
GQ: And that is what people were going to call your first album.
Drake: Right! This is what people are going to call my first album when really [So Far Gone] was my first album. I shouldn’t have to rush this because I just gave you a body of work. Give me a minute. So I made Thank Me Later and it did great for me but you’re right, I was immediately on to my next one.
GQ: So what’s different now?
Drake: I’m going to make this a moment for myself. I followed through on my vision…even the songs that are out now like “Trust Issues”and “Club Paradise,” “Free Spirit,” “Headlines,” “Make Me Proud,” “Marvins Room,” “The Motto,” I’m all very proud of. That’s an album in and of itself and I have nineteen more songs to give you on November 15th.
GQ: So rank them, if you will, best to worst: So Far Gone, Thank Me Later, and Take Care…
Drake: It’s hard for me to put So Far Gone second because it’s the first time anyone ever really paid attention or heard me. But I’m going to be honest with you, Take Care, then So Far Gone, then Thank Me Later…
GQ: Some of the features on this album are crazy. Wayne, Nicki, Rihanna, some unknown guy named Andre 3000…
Drake:He murdered that shit! He killed it and 40 switched the beat, it’s nasty. I didn’t get to see him record, but speaking with him was great and we even spoke about projects beyond “The Real Her.”
QQ: You said that, “Just by buying your album, you know a lot of shit about me.” So let’s break down some lyrics. “Why is this so familiar? Just met/already feel like I know the real her.”
Drake: I guess sometimes I feel like I’m laying next to the same woman over and over again. The things that they say, the place they are in their life, the concerns they have about me and my life. I feel like I deal with the same women repetitively. The ones I’m referring to in that song have all fucked the same rappers. So, yeah, that’s why I say we just met but I think I’ve already met the real her, because I’ve already met you so many times, in different shapes and forms—it all feels familiar.
GQ: Who’s the ideal girl for Drake?
Drake: Who’s the ideal girl? She is very funny, very supportive, understands that right now I’m trying to build with somebody. The ideal girl is driven, working on something other than modeling or being a singer…
GQ: Or being seen.
Drake: Or being seen! She’s probably in New York to be honest with you. There are a lot of good women in New York.
GQ: The next lyric is from “Marvins Room.” Everyone with vocal cords uploaded their own version of your song to YouTube. Whose version was your favorite?
Drake: I mean everybody says JoJo’s but you know I don’t really have a favorite. Actually, my version is my favorite and I never say stuff like that. But really though, my version is my favorite because there is such a story behind it.
GQ: Let’s get into the story. “The woman that I would try, is happy with a good guy.” Who’s the girl you’re talking about?
Drake: It’s not about one particular female. It’s just an emotion that I’ve experienced. I’ve texted girls late at night saying, “I miss you,” and she’ll be like, “I’m out on a date.” She is happy, somewhere else.
GQ: Wait, you’re one of the top artists in the world right now. That still happens to you, in 2011?
Drake: Yeah, definitely.
GQ: What type of wildly successful girls are you dating to where they’d dis you? Oprah?
Drake: [laughs] I wish I dated Oprah. No, they’re mostly girls from Toronto that know the real me and don’t give a fuck about who “Drake” is or what he’s accomplished. And then there are a lot of girls who get a kick out of doing that to me because of who I am. A lot of girls want to purposefully drive a point home.
GQ: Last lyric: “I be getting high just to balance out the lows.” [Drake begins to shake his head.] What’s the lowest point of your career?
Drake: Hmm, what do you think is the lowest point of my career and I’ll see if I agree with you.
GQ: I think Thank Me Later was the best album on the shelves when it came out, but you felt like you could have made a better album.
Drake: I’m in agreeance with that, definitely that combined with the videos for “Miss Me” and “Fancy.”I just watched the videos and was like, “What the fuck are these videos about?” That’s why “Fancy” never came out. It was a weird moment.
GQ: On to something a little lighter. We’re GQ, so we have to ask: What’s up with the sweaters?
Drake: [laughs] Now, this I have been asked about several times.
GQ: Do you have a favorite?
Drake: Yes, I do. It’s a toss-up between three sweaters. I’d say one would be obviously the OVO Owl Sweater. I can wear it repetitively and no one calls me out on it. I have a cashmere Hermes sweater that I love. Lastly, any of my Missoni sweaters. I don’t give a fuck what anybody says about my Missoni sweaters! Fuck you, if you don’t like my sweater! [Editor’s note: A middle-aged couple sitting next to us sharply turn their heads.] It’s funny because people only talk about me and sweaters because I don’t give them anything else to talk about. I live in Canada, so any dirt I do you’ll never see because we don’t have the paparazzi up there! It’s the stupidest thing, man, but I’ll embrace it. Hopefully Missoni hollers at me and we get a sweater line popping!
GQ: When Lil Wayne and Jay-Z made passing references to each other earlier this year, did you feel like you were in a compromising situation? We know you really look up to Jay and you really look up to Wayne.
Drake: I’m just riding with Wayne, always. I’ll never sit here and say that Wayne compromised me. I’m just doing what I got do. I’m a Cash Money soldier. That’s who I ride for.
GQ: Do you think it was blown out of proportion?
Drake: I mean, not really. I think it was pretty clear-cut. I think anybody denying anything at this point is silly. And I’ve said that before for either of them to say, “Oh, no man, I didn’t mean it,” it’s like, “Yes you did, man”. But it’s all good, it’s what rap is about. It’s a competitive business.
GQ: You appeared on Wayne’s ” It’s Good,” which made reference to Jay. Would you have gotten on “H.A.M.” with Jay-Z, where he made the initial reference?
Drake: If I had heard it? No. Because Wayne’s done way more for my career than Jay-Z. Wayne is the reason I’m here. Jay-Z did that for Cole, that’s his artist. Cole’s my brother, he’s an artist I respect so much but I know he’d say the same thing. We’ve got bosses. We’re just falling in line, doing what we got to do.
GQ: People talk a lot of shit, anything you wish they’d stop saying?
Drake: That’s tough. I wish that we lived in a time and a generation where people would stop viewing my honesty as overly emotional. People always act like I spend my life crying in a dark room. I don’t, I’m good. I’m a man. I want to be remembered as an artist that gave you a piece of me, as opposed to some surface bullshit. I don’t think people realize that we die, we leave here, and either they forget about you or remember you. And how they remember you is up to you. I just want to be remembered as a poet that was open and honest because I wake up every morning and I’m me.
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Source: GQ Magazine