Drake: Just Rhymin’ Wit’ Weezy

The music business is a strange beast. Some artists struggle

for years and years to get their shot and never even make a dent in the game.

On the flipside, there is that rare occurrence where a chance meeting takes

place and a career is born. The latter represents the journey of Drake.

Born Aubrey Drake Graham, the Toronto MC has been surrounded by the arts all of

his life. Born into a musical family tree, he would take a different route though

with a promising acting career. During this time on screen [Degrassi: The Next Generation], he would find himself quietly crafting

songs. A couple of years later, Drake has the same team that made Eminem pop behind

him and Lil Wayne is performing his

verses on the MTV Music Music Awards.


Now with a monster co-sign and a considerable buzz on his

side, Drake speaks on where he’s been, where he’s at and where he hopes to go.




How did you get into rapping?


Drake: Well I

really started doing a television show for teenagers called Degrassi: The Next Generation. I started on that when I was like fourteen.

I did that for eight years. My father was always deeply connected with music,

my uncle wrote for Al Green and I’ve always had a lot of musical history in my



Within that time period I developed a love for music. I just

started taking it seriously when I met a few key people in my life. I did two mixtapes; one with DJ Smalls and one by myself [Comeback Season] that a lot

people said should have been an album. Now I here I am, ready to make my debut

with a whole bunch of great product to rediscover. 

“I’m not signed to Young Money but I’m definitely Young Money affiliated. Like I said, me and Wayne do a lot of work together and Wayne is going to be executive producing my album.”




You’re originally from Toronto but you lay your head in Memphis correct?


Drake: Well my

father is from Memphis so I spent a lot of my summers in Memphis. I love the South

and the culture. I love Houston, I love Atlanta. I remember growing up on Three

Six [Mafia], Project Pat, Skinny Pimp, Yo Gotti; I

just remember riding to that music and the feeling when those CD’s were



It was an amazing time. It taught me about excitement. I

think that’s what Hip-Hop is missing now, those artists you anticipate. I think

in the South, that still happens because they support their artists so much,

they get excited for the albums to drop. So right now it’s a blessing to be

that dude in Toronto. When I drop a new [song] and my phone blows up and people

are playing it on the radio and in the club; I can definitely [say] I’m the

most exciting artist in Canada right now. Anything outside of that, I don’t




Would you include Kardinal Offishal

in that last statement as well?


Drake: Me and Kardi are mad cool and we

get along; we have a great relationship. But as far as being exciting, Kardi has been in the game for a minute now. I think people

are happy for him with this last album, but I think as far being something new,

refreshing, and exciting, people haven’t seen someone make so much progress in

this short time. For people out here it’s like, “Yeah this dude got joints with

Wayne, Wayne is on the VMA’s spitting his verses and

shouting him out.”


That’s exciting for my city, we don’t have that. It’s like when Jay-Z brought out Kardi out at Carribana, everybody

was hype. But that was three years ago and now it’s a different time. I love Kardinal’s music but it’s not for everybody. He’s got a

very niche market. When I go to the South people know of Kardi,

but they don’t necessarily follow him because it is hard for them to follow

him. Kardinal raps very fast and uses the Jamaican

dialect. But at the end of the day he’s very talented and I mean no disrespect

to him. But I have no shame in saying to anybody out here that I am the most

exciting and most anticipated artist out here right now.




AllHipHop.com: A

lot of your newfound recognition comes from your association with Lil Wayne.

How did that come about?


Drake: I met

Wayne through a friend of mine from Houston. He was in the car riding with

Wayne one day and was like, “Look man, I got this dude I think you should hear.”

It’s funny because when I heard the story Wayne was like, “Nah I actually

listened to that dude already, I didn’t like that s**t” or whatever.


I guess Wayne gets a lot of bulls**t. So the dude was like, “Nah

for real did you really listen?” And Wayne was like, “Nah I’m going keep it

real I didn’t but hurry up and play it.” They were riding in the car and he

played the joints. I think he got through two joints. I was actually in a

barbershop and I got a phone call from who I thought was my homeboy and it

ended up being Wayne asking me if I could get out of the city by 7pm.


From there he put me on a flight and I went to meet him. I

spent like a week and a half on the road with Wayne. Me and

Wayne formed a connection where we just related on a music level. I

think Wayne respects the fact that I am myself.


I didn’t show up wearing any ice or being a thug or trying

to be a whole bunch of things I’m not. I’m proud of the way I am, in my

upbringing and being the individual I am. I showed up confident in that and he

really respected that. But yeah, we make a lot of music together. He’s a great

dude and I look up to him. He’s definitely a mentor to me and I never got the

chance to tell him that so I hope he reads this because I think he is one of

the most talented individuals I’ve ever met in my life.


AllHipHop.com: Lil

Wayne is the hottest name in Rap, what was it like the first time to go into

the studio with him?


Drake: It was a

lot of fun actually the nerves and the pressure pushed me to get excited and do

a little better. I had been waiting in the studio all night not even thinking I

would get to do a joint with him. He was recording a lot that night; that joint

with Keri Hilson (“Turning Me Off”). He was recording

that and he had a lot of stuff to do and I wasn’t really going to press it.


He told me to go into the studio and record the joints I

had. I knew he would like this joint and I knew he was in the room next to me.

So I played this joint real loud, it ended up being called “Forever”.


He walked back into the room like yeah load that one up in

the Pro Tools. We did our verses back to back. It was exciting to the point

that he found someone to rap next to that doesn’t get completely trumped by his

verses. We did three joints that night. It was exciting; it was a night I will

never forget.


AllHipHop.com: So

are you signing with his Young Money imprint?


Drake: I’m not

signed to Young Money but I’m definitely Young Money affiliated. Like I said, me

and Wayne do a lot of work together and Wayne is going to be executive

producing my album.


AllHipHop.com: On

“Ransom” both you and Wayne hint at doing some ghostwriting for Dr. Dre’s Detox album.


Drake: Wayne can

do something like that because he is Wayne. Wayne set it off, but yeah we both

had our little hand in that. Personally I don’t want to burn any bridges; I

know I’m not personally supposed to speak on any situations about what I did do

and what I didn’t do for that album, let’s just pray it comes out. I can say I

had an opportunity to work with Dr. Dre for quite a


“I guess this would give away where I’m signing to but when I was sitting with Jimmy Iovine, one of the most important things he said to me was, ‘You remind me of Eminem because I’m an old white dude but I can still understand [what] you’re saying and it’s so clever and I laugh and I chuckle to myself when I understand your punch lines…’”

Drake & Lil Wayne “Ransom”




Jay-Z popularized the trend of not writing any lyrics down. A lot of new

rappers have taken that style and ran with it. Do you still put the pen to the



Drake: Actually

that’s funny because I have a verse on my album about that. Yeah, a lot of

people think it’s cool to say that they don’t even write their stuff or

whatever. But there is people that really don’t; I’ve

seen Wayne go to the studio and think up his verses line by line. That’s an

amazing thing to do but me personally I like to do my research. I like to use

words that people wouldn’t normally use. I take my time. I actually write my

verses in my BlackBerry so I have quick access to the Internet so I can look up

a definition or search quotes. I like to put thought into my verses, not to say

everyone else doesn’t. What works for me is being able to see everything laid




With this being your major label debut, is there any album that you are trying

to pattern yours after?


Drake: Yeah, I

would probably say Graduation and Lord Willin’

by The Clipse.

Drake f/ Trey Songz “Replacement Girl” Video


Those are two interesting choices. Personally I think Lord Willin’ aged terribly.


Drake: Yeah I

agree. I listen to it and it doesn’t carry the same energy now. With Graduation I mean the songs and how it

was so great musically. With Lord Willin’

it was more the feeling it gave me. It was something completely different. It

was something completely new at the time and front to back I used to love that

album. That’s what I want my first album to be where not every song is

following a radio format.



What do you think will separate you from everyone else from here out?


Drake: I guess

this would give away where I’m signing to but when I was sitting with Jimmy Iovine, one of the most important things he said to me was,

“You remind me of Eminem because I’m an old white dude but I can still

understand [what] you’re saying and it’s so clever and I laugh and I chuckle to

myself when I understand your punch lines. I can learn those words because you

take the right pauses and breathes.” I have a style people can follow and enjoy

and at the end of the day, I can spit.



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