Outtakes From Drake’s XXL Cover Story

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I think you impressed a lot of people when you went after Common. A lot of rap fans didn’t think you could get him.
There is a bunch of Common diehards who would never let you utter the words “Drake got” anything in front of them. I felt really hurt man. I felt like some injustice was done to me in a sense of we’re talking about Common, we’re talking a guy whose music I enjoy, a guy who I had never met, a guy who I never conversed with at that point. We’re talking about the guy outside the hearing impaired girl’s window with the sign cards with the love songs and he’s coming at me for being soft? That hurt me. I told him that. I’m like, “Man, you’re supposed to embrace what I’m doing. I’m balancing real rap with girl records with club records. I’m just trying to give people music to live with and for you, of all people, to attack me?” If Jeezy came at me and said I was soft, I would be like, “Yeah, I guess, probably.” It was just crazy for it to be him. Even when we linked up, it was like, “What are you doing? Why?” It was like, “I never met you? What happened?” I do know that when we finally connected in person it was like, “Yeah, let’s just dead it.” Which made me kind of feel like it was an album week thing, which it was, by the way. I don’t know if anyone remembers that—his album was coming out that week.

Since you were the rookie on “Forever,” did you think you had to say something crazy and audacious on the opening line of your verse?
I had a different verse on that song initially, and then they told me who was going to be on it, and I remember just being like, “How ballsy would it be if I just started my verse with this line?” [“Last name, Ever/First name, Greatest/Like a sprained ankle boy, I ain’t nothing to play with.”] It’s about standing out. Rap is also a huge game of conditioning. Wayne said, “I’m the best rapper alive.” Now, all of a sudden, for two and a half years, he’s the best rapper alive. T.I. says he’s the King Of The South; T.I. is the King Of The South. You can condition listeners if the intent is there in your voice and it’s genuine. When both those statements were made, I felt like those guys were on top of their game and could have picked any title they wanted and they picked what they picked. For me, “Forever” was a moment that we’ll talk about it again in five years when I’ve proven that statement, which I work towards every day. It was just me being a little cheeky.

You seem to have a complicated relationship with your dad. How are you guys doing these days? He’s on “Jodeci Back,” which would make you think it’s going okay.
My dad is a star, that’s what you have to understand. I can call my dad right now and be like, “Yo, dad, I need you to fly to shoot.” He’s always down. I’m living my dad’s dream. My dad wanted to be a famous singer. I have my dad on another bonus record on the album called “Heat Of The Moment.” It’s a real relationship. Not to be ironic, we go through the motions of a father-son relationship. Right now, he happens to be extremely stable and content, and I take care of what I can for him. All he wants to do is go to Beale Street in Memphis and play music. He’s rediscovered his passion for music and for being a musician. Like any other family, there have been dark times. There have been other interviews where I was asked about my dad and I didn’t want to talk about it. And there were records where I didn’t paint my dad as the greatest guy. At the end of the day, my dad knows I love him and that he’s a great friend of mine, but as far as being a father goes, I look forward to being a better father for the children that I have. But at the end of the day, he is a great man and I love him very much.

Do you ever wonder that if your dad was around, you might not have had the same drive to succeed?
One hundred percent. If my mom was in good health, if my dad was a solid father with a business that I saw as a shining light and I wanted to be under him. I regret nothing. I wouldn’t change a thing. As painful as some days have been, as exhaustive and draining some days have been, as it looms over me with my mom being sick, with 40 having MS, I’m always scared like, “What would you do?” I think I mentioned it last night. I come up with a song last night called “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” and it’s probably one of the biggest and best records I’ve done in my career. It’s all sitting there and being like, “How do I push my career forward? How would I ever be able to play Wembley Stadium without being a cornball and doing some music that everyone is going to be like, “Oh God?” I figured it out last night on some ’80s Miami shit, and it sounds so crazy. It’s one of those moments where it’s like, I don’t know what I would do if this guy [40] wasn’t here. I leave the room with the records sounding one way and I come back and the record just comes to life. I don’t go anywhere without him. First day I met Wayne, he was like, “Come to Atlanta to record,” and I was brave enough to be like, “I need a flight for my boy.” I always made it very clear, if you want me to come write or come work, I bring 40. He will go make a beat if he is interested in it. If they want a song, he’s like, “I have to check with Drake.” We’re inseparable in that sense.

  • Lea

    Love reading his interviews …such a class act & well educated!! KING

  • man

    soft ass nigga

  • Avery AV

    You spelled confident wrong on the 9th line of text lol fucking amateurs

  • Avery AV

    You spelled confident wrong on the 9th line of text lol fucking amateurs

  • A

    he talks about his age alot