Sun, 11 Oct 2009 13:36:21
"One second, I've gotta order a burger," laughs Drake as he pulls through a Toronto drive-thru.
Even though he's at the top of hip hop right now, Drake's a pretty normal guy. He's friendly, funny, genuine and always looking to learn something new. However, he happens to have one of the year's biggest singles, "Best I Ever Had," the most successful mixtape in recent memory, So Far Gone, and a spot on 2009's hottest posse cut, "Forever." So Far Gone was officially released in September as a retail EP, and it's been burning up the charts. Drake's not stopping there though. In between hitting the drive-thru and stunning listeners, he's cutting tracks for his highly anticipated 2010 full length, Thank Me Later.
Drake sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about how hip hop has changed, his hidden culinary talents, hanging with the real Juno, why he loves Californication and the reason he can't take girls to scary movies.
Is hip hop more difficult than it's ever been?
These days, you can't just rap over soulful sampled beats and have it sell millions of records anymore. It doesn't work that way. A lot of people will say, "Oh that means hip hop is dead." I don't look it that way at all. I feel like people are asking more of us. They're tiring of the formula. That sound is becoming repetitive, and fans want something more. Then, there are people who love that same sound and will stand by it forever. I think the majority of people want something more though, which is great.
Do you find inspiration outside of rap?
I'm trying to make my album right now, so I'm listening to a lot of indie rock. I feel like that's where the greatest music is coming from these days and where a lot of the soul originates from. A lot of the best melodies and soul that I'm able to reference come from indie rock—everything from Passion Pit to Kings of Leon.
You're rumored to be quite the cook…
Yeah, I'm alright [Laughs]. I'm not that good compared to some of my friends. I have a friend that can cook way better than I can cook, but I'm alright. I'm learning. Maybe my culinary skills aren't the best, but my palette for food and wine is unmatched—I would say. I'm such a wine connoisseur. Sometimes, I shock 60-year-old men working in the liquor store's wine section that try to stunt me. They'll tell me what vineyard a bottle of wine is from and the way it was prepared, and I'll know details about it and they'll be taken aback [Laughs]. It's my thing. I don't know why but I'm really interested by wine.
What's your favorite dish to cook?
Anything Italian! I really like Italian food. My favorite dish to eat is nothing that I cook. All of my favorite dishes come from this restaurant in Toronto called Sotto Sotto. It's a very intimate Italian restaurant, and I enjoy it every single time I go. It always feels like the first time [Laughs].
It sounds like you're going to have to open up your own restaurant and wine bar soon.
Yes, well that's definitely in the works! I actually used to privately invest in an Italian restaurant. I really like going to Jay-Z's spot in New York—Spotted Pig. I like it because it's not really hyped up as "Jay-Z's Restaurant" or anything. It's not going to The 40/40, where you know it's a Roc-a-fella place and it's Jay's. You wouldn't even know the Spotted Pig was Jay-Z's place unless you read about it or asked about it. I like the vibe of it. It's very rustic, and I'd love to open up a place along those lines that just served Italian food.
Given the cinematic nature of So Far Gone, have you seen any recent movies that you really liked?
I was in bed for a long time because I just got out of surgery, so movies passed by me really quickly. I haven't really explored too many films, but I really get into watching full television series, because they take about 12-14 hours to finish. I watched both seasons of True Blood, and that was interesting. I had heard everyone talking about the show, and it was really good. My favorite television show of all time is David Duchovny's Californication. David actually sent me all the seasons autographed the other day, and it was possibly one of the best things in my life [Laughs]. I'm watching the new season of Californication as it comes on as well as Dexter. But movies, I'm kind of excited see this LeBron James movie, More Than a Game. I did "Forever" for the soundtrack, and I haven't seen the movie yet. So I want to see that. I basically sit around and watch Juno all day. I don't know what that says about my character [Laughs]. I went to school with Ellen Page. She used to have a shaved head when we were in school and I used to call her "G.I. Jane" [Laughs]. We used to sit next to each other. I hope she let it go [Laughs].
Go see Paranormal Activity.
That looks extremely scary, is it legitimately scary?
I'm still shaking from it, and I saw it over a month ago.
No, see I can't [Laughs]—not my thing. I have problems watching those shows on A&E where they go in people's houses and look for ghosts. Those are made up! Seeing horror movies is traditionally a chance for you to be masculine, and I can't answer the call [Laughs]. So every time I take a beautiful girl, I lose points for covering my eyes with my shirt or making weird noises that I didn't know that I could make if shit gets too jumpy! It never benefits me. I stay away from the scary movies [Laughs]. I like the Judd Apatow comedies, because they're all humor that I can understand and laugh at.