He has had the most anticipated hip hop mixtape in 2009 earning 50,000 downloads in one day. When compared to album sales that’s platinum according to the Canadian RIAA. He is something of an urban legend – rumours and hearsay floating around his hometown about who he’s dating, who hes beefing with, the infamous Phantom and who he’s signed with. Memphis born, Toronto bred Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham talks about So Far Gone, clears the air about his major label status, his bar mitzvah and how it felt to rock the Air Canada Centre with Lil Wayne.
What are you bringing to the table for 2009? I want to make music for people to listen to. But I also want them to believe in someone who is somewhat of an underdog, establishing a lane for myself, and getting to the point where other artists can be compared to me: “Oh, that sounds like a Drake type right there.” I want to get to the point where I’m a name that people use to describe something new.
No other Canadian rapper has rocked a room of 20,000 like you did at the Air Canada Centre with Wayne. I was just proud of my city. And, to be completely honest with you, I was nervous. Not about forgetting my lyrics, or tripping, or anything like that. But up until that moment I could never be sure if I had any fans in my own city – 20,000 people is a lot of people to win over, and even if one-quarter don’t like me that’s still intimidating. But it ended up being a great night. Wayne definitely noticed the city was behind me, because I got the same reaction from the Toronto crowd that he would get from the audience in New Orleans.
How does ‘So Far Gone’ compare to the previous mixtapes? Well, people started hearing my music as soon as I started making it, so I really was growing. Southern Smoke was a very early project that reflected my interests at the time – I was into the Roots, Little Brother, Mos Def and other great hip-hop music. Then I started to understand the value of a hit record, and became more interested in melodies than a track of overwhelming lyrics. Comeback Season started leaning toward songs that were fun. Now I’m confident enough to convey a personal message, reflecting what’s going on in my mind, like a timeline of my personal life.
How have the changes in your personal life been reflected in the lyrics? I’ve always been very honest about my emotions, but things haven’t drastically changed, since I have a new emotion to express in every song. “Every Girl” is just having fun and talking shit with a bunch of dudes; “Replacement Girl” is me giving a piece of myself to women that pay attention. I’m speaking to both genders: the guys who want to have fun and feel fly, and the women who want to know what we think.