I don’t know what the hell happened on NYC radio this past week. Seems like Drake, Lil’ Wayne’s breakout star on his Young Money label, took the city by storm. He was on every important show the city listens to. Angie Martinez, Funk Master Flex, Cipher, the list goes on. Super hustling while in the big apple, The Toronto native also did some welcomed appearances, performing his bubbling underground hits, “Every Girl”, “Best I Ever Had”, and “Uptown”. My phone/email was getting bombed by questions from friends and fam (who never hit me about music), “Who is this Drake dude? Who does this song Baby You The Best? Day, you know Drake, Wayne’s artist? Dude is nice. I love his song…” New York radio most def pushed the button on the game’s newest hot spitta. It ‘s starting to feel like that Canibus, 50 Cent, and Game energy. Now Drake isn’t a hardcore rapper by any means, I’m talking about the push an artist gets at the beginning of their run into the music industry. He’s getting some pretty big co-signs early in his movement.
No exaggeration, I was really shocked by the interest in the Young Angel (a self-prescribed moniker he apparently uses from time to time), but I was caught up in my own Drake tornado as I was running late for an appointment but refused to leave the office until my computer finished burning a CD of my new favorite track by dude titled “Successful”, and that ironically happened a few days before he swooned NYC with his sing song/melodic punch lines (everyone seems to like “Are any of ya’ll into girls like I am/Lesbi-honest…”, from “Every Girl”). I was like we should see what’s up with dude…(even though he has a Show & Prove article in this new issue of XXL)
But the homies of the internet started the campaign about how XXL missed the boat on Drake not being in our 10 Freshmen story. Even friend to the mag (and former XXL blogger) DJ Drama jabbed us by twitter (follow him people www.twitter/djdrama) about not catching the Drake boat, mentioning how Drake has a bigger buzz than all the dudes we had on our cover, (He prefaced the comment with the no disrespect tag ‘cus he’s a gentleman). I have to agree with him on that, for this moment only, not in total. When that issue was put together, Drake wasn’t on anyone’s radar to pump him up to the degree where he’s getting love right now. We can’t call when the radio decides to push the button on a particular artist. In a lot of ways, I think the hype is an overcompensation of us meaning the “industry” not having a lot to choose from commercially. Our world loves a story and Drake’s is dope, the acting kid, from Canada, links with Wayne and a star is born. But, it’s still wild that he’s getting this huge amount of love from NY, which is notorious for being stone faced to even the biggest selling superstars of the moment.
In “Successful” Drake throws a jab about that very same 10 Freshmen cover with “And fans of these freshman is about to get iffy/While this youngin’ that you doubtin’ is about to get busy.” I honestly feel that the 10 Freshmen cover in some small fashion may have inspired him to go even harder to prove his worth. Not that our mag made him make more music, but the mere mention of it let’s the audience know that he feels he should have been on there. The amount of music he has now out weighs what he had more than eight months ago when we put the whole package in motion. As our Executive Editor Vanessa Satten explained, it’s now closer to our list of Hip-Hop’s new Freshmen class than it is for the last one, so of course he would be a top contender for that group. Regardless of if we “missed” Drake or not, I’m amped that a new artist can come into the game and shake things up from a new angle. His rhymes seem deeply personal, introspective and something sorely lacking in today’s MCs…honest.
As for the 10 Freshmen we did name as the future, you’ll see a post about their status in a few. In the meantime, pick up Asher Roth’s album Asleep In the Bread Aisle and Curren$y’s This Is Not A Mixtape which are both out now and let us know what you think about it.-DT