With his latest album Nothing Was the Same, Grammy-winning Toronto rapper Drake sought to showcase a confident, aggressive voice and a more concise storytelling style, but an important part of his musical mindset underlined the project: authenticity.
"I made a commitment very early on to just be myself," the young performer, whose full name is Aubrey Drake Graham, told Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC's cultural affairs show Q.
"My goal is to let you know more and more about me and to let you know that I'm a real person...I get to wake up every day and I don't have to think about anything –- I just get to go and be myself. I don't have to remember to do this or dress like that or put on this accent. I just get to wake up and be myself," Drake said during a recent interview in Toronto.
"There's always gonna be an appeal there, as far as listening to people rap about… killings and drugs and all that stuff," noted the 26-year-old performer, who shot to fame as an actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation before devoting himself to music more fully around 2006.
"I'm not gonna step out of my character just to finish a record," said the rapper, whose third studio release debuted atop the Billboard chart earlier this month.
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"A lot of people will only show you the confident side, especially in the music business because the vulnerable side… they don't want to go there, you know? I'm OK with going there. That, to me, is supreme confidence. The fact that I can express the issues that I'm having — with family, with women, or with myself — the fact that I can express that is, to me, the ultimate in confidence."
In a wide-ranging conversation in the attached audio, Drake talks to Ghomeshi about how his younger days in Toronto and Memphis shaped him, his musical inspirations and why he does whatever he can to see that his hometown gets recognized. Tune into The National on Friday for Ghomeshi's report on Drake.