In his first extended interview in nearly two years, Drake is appearing on the cover of The FADER just after the release of his surprise joint mixtape with Future, What a Time to be Alive, sold a projected half-million copies in its opening week. Interviewed in his hometown of Toronto by writer Leon Neyfakh, and photographed by Mark Peckmezian and JJ, Drake opens up about his strengthened relationship with fans, his brotherhood with fellow musician Skepta, his continued fight to remain truly original, and, for the first time, opens himself up to questions regarding the ghostwriting allegations and the reference recordings that emerged this summer.
“I need, sometimes, individuals to spark an idea so that I can take off running. I don’t mind that. And those recordings—they are what they are. And you can use your own judgment on what they mean to you…If I have to be the vessel for this conversation to be brought up—you know, God forbid we start talking about writing and references and who takes what from where—I’m OK with it being me… It’s just, music at times can be a collaborative process, you know? Who came up with this, who came up with that—for me, it’s like, I know that it takes me to execute every single thing that I’ve done up until this point. And I’m not ashamed.”
Drake is appearing on The FADER for his second time—the first was in 2009 for his first magazine cover story ever. Launched in 1999, The FADER is celebrating its 100th issue this month and 16th year in print with its largest edition ever produced. Drake’s cover story is the first in a series of announcements for the #FADER100 celebration, which will be rolling out exclusive interviews and pieces of content throughout the next month.
Drake on his famous co-signs:
“It’s just channeling my mom. Like, I’d bring home an essay that I did really well on, and my mom would read it through and give me notes back—on the essay that I just scored like 94 on! So sometimes I just do that. I’ll hear people’s stuff and… I’ll just give my interpretation of how I would have done it…It’s just, literally, I’ve recognized the potential and the greatness in this piece, and I want to take my stab at it too.”
Drake on his surprise clash with Meek Mill:
“This is a discussion about music, and no one’s putting forth any music?… Nobody told you that this was a bad idea, to engage in this and not have something?…It was weighing heavy on me. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how there was no strategy on the opposite end. I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand it because that’s just not how we operate.”
Drake on vulnerability and toughness:
“Not being vulnerable is never gonna be my thing. I’m always going to share with you what’s going on in my life…Vulnerability, to me, sometimes comes in the form of being naïve about where I am in the pecking order of all this. So I think I realize where I’m at now. And I think I realize that I’m gonna have to be OK with not having that many friends that are peers.”
Read the cover story over at The FADER.