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Drake: “For Anybody That Doesn’t Believe in Me, Your Favorite Rappers Do”

Drake has had an unbelievable year. Since dropping his breakout mixtape, So Far Gone, in February 2009, the Toronto-bred artist signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money label (after a huge bidding war with every major label), scored two Grammy nominations and has been cosigned by hip-hop’s biggest stars including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Young Jeezy—all before dropping his debut LP, Thank Me Later.

Problem is, along with all the praise, comes the hate. Known for growing up in an upper middle class neighborhood in Canada, starring on popular Canadian teeny bopper show Degrassi: The Next Generation, and spending an equal amount of time singing on record as he does rhyming, Drizzy’s place in hip-hop is often critiqued by fans who worship MCs for their street cred, as well as their skills on the mic.

In XXL’s forthcoming May Issue, senior editor Benjamin Meadows-Ingram asked the up-and-coming star if he thinks about the traditional XXL audience in terms of the type of music he creates.

“Yeah,” Drake said, “but I’ve never really voluntarily made myself a member of that lifestyle. I just make good music, and that’s really what it should be all about. Because a lot of the people that the XXL audience believes in aren’t even that official anyway, as far as rugged and rough. A lot of that stuff is perceived, it’s assumed, it’s not proven. And a lot of it gets embellished throughout the course of a career. As you get more famous, you can start saying more reckless shit, and people believe you.”

As far as MC nicknamed Young Angel is concerned, it all boils down to the sounds coming out of the speakers. “It’s never been about being perceived as a rapper [for me],” he explained. “I love making music, man. I love hearing people that love my music, or witnessing my music being played, and people enjoying it. I make the music, and I love the result of what happens after that. That’s pretty much where my involvement in hip-hop stops. I just want to make the music.”

“For anybody that doesn’t believe in me, your favorite rappers do,” he added. “They call me for hooks, features and all that. Ross, Jeezy, the hardest dudes—B.G. C-Murder calls me from jail. Turk calls me from jail to tell me I’m doing great. For the people that don’t believe, the people that you do believe in got love for me. That’s all that matters.”

Stay tuned tomorrow (April 13) as we post more from Drake’s interview as well as exclusive pictures from his cover shoot.

XXL’s May issue, which features both Drake and fellow YM label mate Nicki Minaj, hits stands nationwide on April 20. —Elan Mancini

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