How Drake Became Famous

• June 25, 2013 3:35 pm


The new issue of GQ kicks off the media tour for the follow-up to Drake’s pretty good 2011 release "Take Care" by hitting up a party at his palace in the San Fernando Valley and getting an early listen to the first couple tracks of "Nothing Was the Same."

The profile is worth reading. Aubrey talks about personal stuff, from reconnecting with his absentee father, to the fact that he’s abstaining from sex until his album release date (unless it’s someone he knows and trusts), to his ambition as a 23 year old to make $25 million by 25, a goal he exceeded. Now he's over being rapper rich and wants to be a mogul like Diddy and Jay. He’s aiming to earn $250 million by age 29, saying he wants to share an income tax bracket with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

One day Drake may even want to own Abramovich’s $1.5 billion yacht. He’s becoming the rap game’s Howard Hughes.

"The party is climbing to that point where all responsibility will soon be abdicated. The music blares. Some dude puffs his chest and dives again from the top of the waterfall. Without announcing it, Drake disappears back to the studio. He’s felt something and wants to get it down, in hopes you’ll feel it too."

Back in the day, Vanilla Ice was crushed for not actually experiencing the events described in "Ice, Ice Baby." If hip-hop holds anything sacred, it's authenticity. And Drake certainly does live the mopey, cerebral existence he raps about. Surrounded by video chicks "competing in a rap beauty pageant," he is busy trying to squish fifty bars worth of content into the desirable sixteen so his fans can rap along with him when he tours in the fall. I for one can’t wait to sing along with Drake as he ponders the bounds of metaphysics.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve is a tricky proposition, especially in the hyper-masculine culture that is hip-hop. What Drake has done is become famous by playing off the Ludacrises and the DMXs who’ve called him a "pussy" for being emotive. Drake’s cool with it, pointing out that "they don’t criticize the music itself."

Ludacris called Drake a "counterfeit rapper" because he claims he invented Drake’s trademark "punch line" style of rapping. Some MCs fall into the trap of being too reverent toward older rappers. Drake doesn’t even bat an eyelash. In an industry that depends heavily on nepotism and dues paying, Drake came in pretending he invented the game.

Published under: Hip Hop