It may sound cliché, but Drake remembers October 31, 2009, like it was yesterday.
That was the night Drake knew his transformation from Aubrey Drake Graham — star of teen soap opera Degrassi: The Next Generation — to famous rapper had begun. That was the night Jay-Z performed in his hometown.
“Jay-Z coming to Toronto meant every single person was going to be there, which meant the majority of the people in my life were there,” the 23-year-old rapper recalls. “And there was a big rumor around the city: Is Drake close enough to Jay where he would bring me out? And people were like, ‘No, it would never happen.’”
Well, it did happen. Not only did Jay-Z bring Drake out to perform on stage with him, he let a still-fringe artist perform one of his own songs, “Successful,” in its entirety. “I’ll never forget that. I must have looked in the eyes of 40 people I know in the first 20 rows,” Drake says, sounding still somewhat shocked. “There were ex-girlfriends, guys who hated me, people who loved me, my mother — and it was just like, ‘This is it.’” Like most other testaments to Drake’s success, there’s a video on the Internet to prove the moment actually happened.
Look for this article in PAPER’s Summer 2010 music issue on newsstands June 21 or read the rest here.