“I know way too many people here right now,” the hook, man the hook! NBA 2k11. There was this song I had no idea who this rapper/singer was but this kept coming back to me and I couldn’t turn it off. I was late to the 2k11 scene so by the time I picked it up half of North America already knew the artist known as Drake. I’m looking on the screen and seeing the name Drake and I’m scratching my head.
So I google it and I see there’s this song “Headlines.” So I think “this is new Drake ill check it out.”
“I might be too strung out on compliments,
overdosed on confidence
Started not to give a fuck
and stopped fearing the consequence
Drinking every night
because we drink to my accomplishments
Faded way too long,
I’m floatin’ in and out of consciousness
And they saying I’m back,
I’d agree with that
I just take my time with all this shit,
I still believe in that
I had someone tell me I fell off,
ooh I needed that
And they want to see me pick back up,
well, where’d I leave it at?
I know I exaggerated things,
now I got it like that
Tuck my napkin in my shirt
cause I’m just mobbin’ like that
You know good and well that you don’t want a problem like that”
Holy hell. Mind. Blown. Just blown. Watching the video I see he’s from Canada and I’m like “wow, this guy is amazing.” So I go and download the Take Album from Amazon. Then I go get the “Thank Me Later” album and I search Datpiff for all the Drake mixtapes I can find. Comeback Season, So Far Gone. I couldn’t get enough.
The beats the hooks I was sucked in. But I didn’t listen, I mean really listen.
Nothing Was The Same. If You’re Reading This Its Too Late.
Looking back at him when he was just 23, talking to Katie Couric, when Find Your Love came out and he’s talking about being himself.
“I’m proud of myself. I’m a great judge of character.”
“I’m comfortable with who i am.”
She goes on to ask him questions about Lil’ Wayne, his views on his music, his mom and of course women. An only child who writes about the things that he knows, the things that he’s gone through, not about the things that he pretends to know. I once had an English professor in college tell me that the best writers are the ones that pour themselves out about the things that they’ve been through. How can you truly describe something unless you’ve seen it? How do you talk about the Grand Canyon unless you’ve seen it? Yeah it’s a large hole in the ground but what’s it really like? I don’t know, never been there. But if you’re asking me what Madison Square Garden is like during a Rangers game, that I can tell you.
When If You’re Reading This Its Too Late came out, I think maybe my appreciation of Drake may have hit an all time high. The artistry on the “mixtape” if you want to call it that is absolutely amazing. Legend just slowly kicks out of the gate with this slow beat and Drake just hammers the hook and catches me with one of my favorite lyrics, “on my way, money taught me Spanish, make it andale.”
I think between this and the following song Energy, I never got to further for a long time. But I was missing out on so much. Now & Forever is one of his finest slow songs,
“I don’t wanna miss the boat, I don’t wanna sit in coach,
I don’t wanna sit at home, I gotta get where I’m going.
I’m afraid that I’mma die before I get where I’m going,
I know I’mma be alone, I know I’m out on my own.”
Absolutely amazing. But there’s so much on that album, his You & The 6, his song to his mom. After I listened to the album and listening to the lyrics, I heard how much he’s grown as a man and as an artist. I go back and look at the Drake in the Take Care album and he was talking about YOLO but in IYRTITL, Jungle…
“She said you’re my everything,
I love you through everything, I done did everything to her,
She forgave me for everything, this a forever thing
Hate that I treated like it’s a whatever thing
Trust me girls, this shit is everything to me
She from the jungle, she from the jungle
I take somebody else’s car, drive there undercover
This shit is everything to me, this shit is everything
Don’t know where we stand, I used to hit you ’bout everything
Are we still good? Are we still good?
Are we still good? Are we still good?…
These days these new girls, they got me nervous
They go to school and do bottle service
They can’t decide, they keep switching majors
Being indecisive makes me anxious
Call your number and it’s out of service
Who can I call for your information?
What am I supposed to do after we done everything that we’ve done
Who is your replacement?”
What makes it amazing for me is to see this expansion of his work. He’s made it so far from Aubrey Graham, that kid from the Forest Hill section of Toronto, but he’s not left Toronto, in fact he celebrates where he comes from. A lot of people get money, get famous and leave home never to come back. Drake blows up Toronto on IYRTITL, calling it the 6, and the people of Toronto have adopted it and even the athletes as well. He’s become a global ambassador for the Raptors, who have given him a Drake Night as well as featuring his signature October’s Very Own Owl logo on playoff shirts and gear. Recently Mitchell & Ness released OVO products featuring designs that Drake inspired for the brand and the Raptors. Drake said 5 years ago in his interview with Katie Couric that Lil’ Wayne would be the icon for his generation and that everyone would know him and his picture would be everywhere. But I don’t think he realized where he would be. Drake transcends himself, he transcends his genre, his image, everything he’s involved in. He’s bigger than the music. It seems like everyone wants to know what he’s thinking, what’s he’s about, what’s he’s into. But it’s all there in his music. He’s let us into himself in so many ways. It’s amazing that he can pour himself into the music that much. He’s opened his heart on so many tracks and made it sound so incredible. Each time you go back and listen to older albums you see his growth and his struggle to grow as a man. His struggle with the fame and his hope for his mom to be happy while at the same time, his hope to be understood in a world where rappers are only acceptable when they are rapping about money, women and guns. But he’s so much bigger than that. His heart is bigger than the 6, but it’s that love, that heart that makes him an amazing artist, that propels him to be the best, and that’s what he is, that’s why he’ll always be the best.