Drake Covers Complex Magazine and Rocks Out Grammys With Eminem, Lil Wayne and Travis Barker

The top draft pick of 2009 is finally putting his (young) money where his mouth is. Can Drake stand strong while the world loses its mind over him?

Story by Damien Scott; Photography by Matt Doyle; Styling by Anoma Ya Whittaker

As smooth as your entry to the rap world was, you only stumbled when people questioned your choices, like the video for “Best I Ever Had.”

Drake: You can do something you believe in and people will still say, “This shit is terrible!” But I still believe in Kanye’s vision. Maybe we didn’t do a great job with getting the point across—it was supposed to be a humorous video. When I read the comments, I was like, Man, I guess no one wants to laugh anymore. Everybody wants the fairy tale, you know?

For an artist who’s perceived to be so multifaceted, it was interesting to see people try to put you in a box: “How could he do this? This is degrading to women!”

Drake: If you listen to the lyrics, it’s really not a romantic song. It’s humorous. Yes, it’s great to tell a woman, “You’re the best I ever had.” But the hook was so lovey-dovey that I just wanted to make the verses some fun shit. And that’s how I viewed that song. Like a good time, like a laugh.

Do you think that slowed your momentum?

Drake: A lot of people thought it was going to. That’s what happens when you have passionate fans. They feel like they’re a part of your career. So it’s like, “That’s not what I would’ve done for you.” We’re in a day and age when videos are dead. There’s no outlet for them. That video did its job—it was a conversation piece. It has however many million views. It’s great that people love to see you, but videos don’t propel you like they used to. Your video going number-one doesn’t really mean much anymore. ‘Cause it’s only 106 & Park.

What about when you fell onstage in New Jersey and injured your knee?

Drake: That never happened. [Laughs

.]

During the recovery phase, what was going through your mind, in terms of your career?

Drake: I was going so hard that the only way I could have ever slowed down was for something extremely painful to happen. I’m just glad I only tore my ACL and didn’t get shot or stabbed or anything. It was an injury that allowed me time for discipline. That was somebody watching over me and being like, “Look, you need to slow down.” If that had kept up, and I had done 50 or 60 shows before I tore my ACL, and I was at all these parties…I don’t know, man. I don’t know if I’d be where I’m at right now. As crazy as it may sound, I think that was how it was supposed to go. It was painful.

I can imagine.

Drake: Extremely painful. I fought with my managers, like, “You don’t understand, I can’t do this tour.” Then I went and saw a doctor who gave me advice like, “If you don’t move around too much and you wear a brace, you’ll be fine.” But this is what I love to do. So when “Best I Ever Had” comes on, I can’t help but run around. That’s my fuckin’ song! I got 25,000 people that actually want to hear me perform. But it was a reality check: Sit the fuck down. The interesting thing is gonna be my new performance style. It’s not gonna be the same Drake jumping on speakers and running to each side of the stage—well, not for a while. I’m gonna have to get a little Jay-Z influence on my performance style; hopefully my records will be powerful enough to carry the show.

***
To hear the legions of Drake fans tell it, despite not having a full body of original work, he’s an artist whose records can without question carry an entire show…and then some. It’s those fans and that body of work that have well-known artists hopping on the Drake gravy train before it runs dry. And who can blame them? They can feel the tide changing, so instead of being washed ashore, artists like Jamie Foxx and Mary J. Blige—and even Kanye and Jay-Z, hip-hop’s shrewdest trend forecasters—chose to sign up before the Drake movement moved without them. Not to say Drake is going to eclipse ‘Ye or Jay, but when the younger audience is spending the money in today’s here-this-morning-gone-this-afternoon culture, it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, in order to play nice with everyone…well, you gotta play nice with everyone. Except maybe your fellow rookies.

Rest of the interview >>

elsewhere drake was taking over the Grammys this weekend with the likes of Eminem, Lil Wayne and Blink 182’s  Travis Barker

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