Drake is constantly proving why he’s part of Hip-Hop’s elite. Following his annual OVO Music Festival headlining performance, that saw him bring out everyone from Diddy to Kanye West, the YMCMB rapper/singer earns the cover of XXL‘s 150th issue as the publication hits its 16th anniversary this year.
As his anticipated Take Care LP follow-up Nothing Was the Same makes the finish line to its September 17 release, the Toronto native speaks with Hip-Hop’s coveted mag about everything from the album to his image. Read some excerpts from the interview below.
On the album…
I remember coming into this year thinking, “How am I going to cut through all these people and shine?” I’ve never been part of a year when so many legends are dropping projects. How am I going to be seen? I’m going to be like the kid waving in the background in the photo with all of his tall relatives.
And, I guess, those were my initial thoughts, and not to say that I haven’t enjoyed some of the stuff that has come out this year, but it didn’t pan out the way I thought it was going to. I think I am going for it, to really establish what are murmurs or things being said quietly, “Um, I think that Drake might actually…” On September 17th I want people to be like, “Oh, we were right.”
On his image…
Do I think that if I didn’t have, for lack of a better term, a unique look about me, if I was from somewhere in America and if I hadn’t been on a kids TV show [Degrassi: The Next Generation], would I be as famous? I don’t know, man. Honestly, I don’t think so. I was just some young kid on a TV show.
And I haven’t become anything else while I’ve been in this position. It’s not like I got here and was like, “Oh, got to switch up my image.” I don’t wake up nervous. I feel like maybe a lot of these guys do. How old are you, really? What is your background, really? What have you really done in the drug game, in the thug game?
On competing with Kanye West…
It’s tough for me. That’s a guy I can’t pretend not to like. He’s the guy to me, in a lot of ways. That’s Kanye West. But I’m also here to be the best. I’m here to surpass. I’m here to outdo. I’m ready for whatever with anybody.
The issue hits newsstands on August 20.