Here is Myspace’s interview back in May 2009 at Cal State LA also known as one of his best performances of the year. Everyone in the building knew every song word for word without him even releasing an album yet that “A Star Was Born” as Jay-Z would say…
So, considering all the accolades that he has racked up in the past twelve months, Myspace still decided to name Drake their Best New Artist of 2009. But, as even he seems to realize, it’s the music, and not the hype, that truly got him here. Now, here is Myspace’s interview with Drizzy last week when they told him about the nod… wow a lot has changed since then!
Not that we’re going to offer it to someone else, but if you were asked to name your Best New Artist of 2009 who would it be?
You know, I always get this question and when I answer people always tell me, “That person isn’t new.” [Laughs.] That’s because there are people I just discovered this year that I think are phenomenal, like Kings Of Leon. I know their album came out before 2009, but I probably would have chose Kings Of Leon. Or Kid Cudi. He had a good year.
Looking back, did you expect to have the year you had? When you think back to when all of this started in January
well, it doesn’t really start in January. It all starts on February 14th, or the morning of February 15th, I guess. We were in Los Angeles, ironically, and it was right around Grammy time. [Drake’s mentor Lil] Wayne was going to the Grammys and we didn’t have any tickets. So we had plenty of free time on our hands and we released [So Far Gone] online. And I had, like, this nervous breakdown about it. [Laughs.] “Did we make a mistake? Did we do the wrong thing?” I was mixing real R&B singing with rap, you know? So it was a very interesting time.
At that point, you obviously used the Internet and MySpace to get So Far Gone out to people. Why do you think it was so important for you to put your music out there in that way?
I think the tools I used—which, like you said, were MySpace and my blog—created a sense of loyalty. I knew what my story was going to look like in the media. It was going to be, “New kid from Degrassi releases a CD.” So instead I thought, “Let me give it to you for free and you decide if you like it or not.” If you like Drake, then songs will go to Number One and awards will be given. And if not, then I gotta go back to the drawing board.
But [once So Far Gone was out there] people started embracing it and I started hearing my songs on the radio—which was the most amazing thing in the world. When “Best I Ever Had” started climbing up the charts I realized that something was happening. It was, like, that moment. They say sometimes when you get shot it takes you a moment to realize it. I guess that’s what it was. I had been hit with the success bullet. It took a minute to realize it.
I am sure that there were plenty of moments from this past year where things felt surreal—where you couldn’t believe that this had become your life. Right now, when you look back, what sticks out?
There’s so many. But coming out in Toronto with Jay-Z was probably the highlight of my life. Coming from a city that’s never been recognized for rap—and then for them to all be in attendance and see me come out with the greatest rapper alive—that was definitely a moment to remember.
How would you describe your relationship with Jay-Z?
We have a great rapport. We laugh at a lot of the same things. I think Jay realized that, even though I’m 23, I have an old soul. Like, I can hang out with Jay and I can work with Jay. But Jay can also give me advice and I never take it for granted. He is a very wise man. It’s kind of like an uncle and nephew relationship. He really looks out for me. And, obviously, I idolize the man. I study him. It’s an interesting relationship.
So now that the year is winding down, what is the plan for Thank Me Later? When are people going to hear it?
Ummm, I guess when it releases.
[Laughs.] Okay, that’s fair. Does it feel like you are getting any closer?
A lot of it has to do with me going to go sit with Kanye. I just haven’t had those days. Me and Kanye are supposed to go to Hawaii and sit. So that, in my eyes, will take care of three or four songs on the album. I plan to do three or four joints [with him] and, from there, I’ll almost be done. I already got a couple of great songs that I love.
What has been the biggest challenge in making this album so far?
[Long pause.] I want people to be able to relate to it. I don’t want to be braggadocios. I am not trying to make an album about how I am rich now. So the hardest part is keeping it relatable at this point in my life. I could go off and make a bunch of songs that are just great songs to move to. But I have this thing with myself that I can’t do that. I need to do something that is more like-
more like “Successful” than like “Every Girl”?
Yeah, that’s the perfect way to look at it. “Every Girl” is a perfect, amazing song. But it’s just a generic message. It’s, “I want to fuck every girl in this world.” Well, that’s great. [Laughs.] That is part of the story for a 23-year-old kid who just became famous. But you can’t make a full album of those songs. So now I have songs like “Fireworks.” I have songs like “Shut It Down.” I probably shouldn’t be saying those song titles.
With all that’s happened this year—whether it’s the magazine covers or the Grammy nominations—are you ever afraid that people might get burnt out on Drake before Thank Me Later even comes out?
I was. But I feel like somebody watching over me really wants me to have longevity in this game. The media and the magazines, that’s starting to pick up again, sure. But that’s a good thing. My album is coming out. My single is coming soon. It’s never a bad thing to be in the media. There is a lot of Drake out there. But I’m still me. I’m still the kid from Toronto who can’t believe he is even here and I think that will take me a long way.