Q&A: Drake On Battle Rappers, A$AP Rocky, And His Five-Figure Bet With Nelly

Categories: Drake, Interviews

drake_press2011.jpg
Courtesy Young Money Entertainment
When I spoke with Drake last Friday, it turned out I was just missing the chance to fully discuss his album Take Care, which leaked over the weekend. But this left lots of time to dig into other topics, from his Canadian perspective on racial identity to his relationships with Stevie Wonder and A$AP Rocky.

You and I have similar backgrounds, a black dad and a white, Jewish mom. Do those issues of race and identity play out differently in Canada compared to the US?

Well, Canada's like a cultural melting pot, especially Toronto. America, I come here sometimes and I witness, like, real segregation. Like when you go to LA and it's like, "This area's Mexican, and this area's white." That's crazy to me because in Toronto we have cultural areas—"OK, this is Little India, this is Chinatown, this is where there the Greek people are"—but it's not segregated. It's not like you can't go there and participate in the culture. So it's a bit different. I think Canada's very accepting. But at the same time I get a lot of love everywhere in the world for just being diverse, instead of just being straight out [one thing]. I'm all mixed up and people embrace that.

When you identify yourself this way do you ever get questioned on it, like, "Why do you call yourself 'mixed'?" or, "What's wrong with just being black?"

I mean, I'm so light that people are like "you're white." That's what I get more than anything, people saying "you're white, you're not black." But I mean those are whatever, those are just silly jokes. That's like "the light-skinned complex." That's a very American thing as well, light skin and dark skin, like I don't even notice that. Girls will be like "oh I've seen you talk to dark-skinned girls, that's so good." And I'm like "why? I talk to any girl!" I talk to anybody, you know?

Tell me about working with Stevie Wonder.

We had met and exchanged numbers a while ago so I called him when I was in LA, and he came to the studio I was working at, named Marvin's Room. So he came and I had this song looped up named "Doing It Wrong," and it was just playing and Stevie said "40 [Drake's producing partner], turn the music up," and he was just vibing, being Stevie Wonder, sort of got quiet. And then he just went in the booth and brought life to this record, added all these musical pieces. He's just, likem a dear friend of mine and a great person. I love working with him, and we'll definitely work more in the future.

Has he given you any particular advice?

Well Stevie is less of, like, I always feel like individuals who give advice... Stevie Wonder is such a human. He's such a, like, human being, he's such a great, funny, real person, that he just makes me laugh and make me feel comfortable. Tells me great stories, ones that I really can't tell [laughing], but he tells me good stories and leads me in the right direction. He doesn't preach to me or try to make me feel like I'm some young'un that he needs to advise, he just treats me like an equal, like a human being. And I love people that do that, I respect that.


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