Nardwuar: Who are you?
Drake: My name is Aubrey Drake Graham, and I am a rapper, musician, entertainer.
And Drake, who do you have beside you?
D: One of my best friends in the world, and the other half of me as far as music goes, and he can introduce himself.
40: What’s poppin? [laughs]
Welcome to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Drake and 40.
D: Thank you. [laughs]
Right off the bat, I’d like to give you guys some gifts, to welcome you to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. And I think they play some significance in your lives. What can you tell the people about Little Brother and Big L? [Nardwuar pulls out some vinyl]
D: [laughs] Oh man, this is amazing!
40: I can tell you that I think I have this record.
D: You definitely have that record by the way, and I can tell you that I definitely have this song, for sure…
But do you have the instrumental versions?
D: I don’t, and…
So the gift is not backfiring right now?
D: It’s not, it’s incredible. [laughs]
What can you tell the people, first off, about Little Brother? We’re in a studio here in Vancouver. Now, Little Brother might be getting in the studio with you. What can you tell the people about Little Brother?
D: I can tell the people that to say I am a Little Brother fan would be an understatement. To say I am a 9th Wonder fan would be an extreme understatement. And to say that Phonte is a good rapper would be offensive to me because he’s probably one of the best rappers of all time, in my opinion. Um, and, what else can I tell you? I can tell you that I’ve done a song with these guys, and they’re phenomenal. I can tell you that I would love for Phonte to be on my new album. That would pretty much… that would sum up my Little Brother summary.
D + 40: (Laughter)
And now we move over here to 40. 40, what can you say about Big L?
40: What can I say about Big L? Besides the fact that we put one of his freestyles on our blog, about 48 hours ago? [laughs] Just a little honour. Yeah, I’m from Toronto, so Big L means a lot. I have all these records, this one, this one. You know…
But not the vinyl instrumental 12-inch versions that I’ve brought you.
40: No, no, this is…
D: This is probably one of the best gifts I’ve gotten. Actually, I’ll tell you that the guy that shot our documentary gave me, umm, what did he give me, Donny Hathaway live on vinyl. And these trump that gift. Sorry Mike. These are amazing, though.
D: Mike’s gift to you was crazy, but I got the Donny Hathaway vinyl, so these vinyl’s are amazing. Thank you.
Well, thank you very much for the props, man.
D: This is so hip-hop of you.
But did we say anything about Big L, like the history of Big L? Like, unfortunately R.I.P., right?
D: Definitely, yeah, I would say rest in peace, and I would say man, like, you know, I think everybody, I’m talking about legendary people like Jay (Z), you know I think everybody was influenced by Big L, and I think that he passed before his time and, especially, like, I just got my memory was refreshed with that freestyle, and it was just so crazy man, it was such a different time, you know, when things were just way different, like gritty.
40: He was the first person to rap like that, too. Like, people weren’t rapping like that. When he was rapping like that, people weren’t really doing that.
D: Even when you hear that double-time flow with Jay on that freestyle they have together, you can just hear him, he’s polished. He was ahead of his time, you know, so rest in peace to Big L. Thank you for doing this, man, this is like…
40: Thanks Nardwuar.
D: Sneak, too. I meant to say that, you didn’t tell us… you brought us amazing DVDs of you, which we will watch on the bus, but aside from that, you didn’t mention these vinyls, and that was incredible.
40: That was a secret.
I wanna say, Drake, the ladies love you and you love the ladies, don’t you?
D: Very much so.
What exactly happened in Cleveland? I saw a bra stand? What is a bra stand?
D: I actually, well, I put my favourite, I put like the biggest breasted bras on my mic stand. I try and showcase the fact that, you know, women with a full chest, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, you shouldn’t go get them reduced, they’re beautiful. You know, breasts are a beautiful thing, and I actually have an entire trunk, I think there’s about four or five hundred bras in this trunk. It’s a black trunk and I carry it with me on the road, so it’s pretty much every bra I’ve ever received.
Drake and 40, I have another gift for you, right here. Here we have a rap pack of rap trading cards. [Nardwuar pulls out Rap Pack Trading Cards]
D: [laughs] Can we open this?
Well, actually to avoid you opening it, because I’m a collector myself, so when I get something, you don’t want to open it, do you?
D: Not at all, I wanna save it.
You wanna keep it, but I have brought the contents of the rap pack from my own rap pack to show you, and check it out, this is from 1990, look who’s on there.
D: [laughs] That’s amazing!
Who is that?
D: Michie Mee.
Michie Mee. Now let’s stop for a second, this is a 1990, 1991 rap pack, and it’s got Canadian rappers in there. What can you tell us about Michie Mee? Do you give Michie Mee any love? Do you know Michie Mee?
D: I can tell you that due to this rap pack, I have a whole newfound respect for Michie Mee. I can tell you that prior to this rap pack, if you asked me to name the most influential, legendary Canadian rappers, I wouldn’t mention her, but…
She was in the rap pack!
D: She was. She was in a trading card deck, a deck of trading cards.
It isn’t just Canadians in there, check out who’s next…
D: [Looking at Rap Pack] [laughs] Oh my goodness.
And who is that, 40?
40: That’s Kid Rock.
Now that is looking pretty cool, isn’t it?
D: Yes, does Kid Rock know you have this?
D: Did he not pay to get these all demolished?
He wouldn’t do an interview with me.
D: Really? OK, so he has no clue.
I think his road crew took pictures of it and showed it to him.
D: I’ve been to Kid Rock’s house, and Kid Rock is a phenomenal guy, but I know that he would be extremely angry about this. (Picture of Kid Rock with Vanilla Ice Hair)
I think it’s incredible though, isn’t it?
D: It is incredible. It’s amazing.
This is a lady that you love, isn’t it, right here? [Nardwuar pulls out the Coffy Soundtrack ]
D: [laughs] I love this woman more than anything. Is this autographed?
D: Is this for me?
Actually, I think it says “To Nardwuar,” doesn’t it?
D: It does. I dunno, I just thought that, wow, this is amazing.
Who is this, right here?
D: This is Pam Grier.
This is Pam Grier, Coffy.
D: This is Coffy, and this right here, this woman, oh man this is gonna sound so weird, but when I first discovered what masturbation was, I used to jerk off to, umm, to Pam Grier.
And now we have Cherokee.
D: [laughs] I dunno. I don’t necessarily. [laughs] That’s who the internet has, yeah. [laughs] That’s amazing that you said that. [laughs] Well, yeah, this is the first, like, I think Pam Grier is really responsible for shaping my taste in women if you really look at her. I mean, she was always holding a gun, which is pretty attractive to me, and she was just built the way I like women. You just basically reminded me of why my life is the way it is, but this is amazing.
And you have a connection to Pam Grier.
D: I do. Tell me,,,
Because she did backups for Sly And The Family…
D: Stone. Wow.
And your connection is?
D: My connection would be my uncle.
So your uncle was having some fun with Pam Grier!
D: I wonder if he was. [laughs] I’m gonna call him and ask him, if he did I’ll be extremely jealous.
There are quite a few uncles in the Drake clan, aren’t there 40?
40: Yeah, there’s a few of them.
The most important uncle I think, really, is that Uncle Willie.
D: Yes [laughs]).
Here we have an Al Green record, Drake. [Nardwuar pulls out an Al Green LP]
Now, if we turn this (record) over we can investigate more into Drake’s history, it’s kind of confusing. What do we have there, Uncle Willie. Can you please tell us about this?
D: My Uncle Willie Mitchell, he would be the producer with Al Green. He’s the engineer, so he’s 40. He’s the remix engineer, so he’s 40. Not project remix, by the way, just the remix engineer. Ummm, and where else is his name?
Well, over here we have some more interesting people.[Nardwuar points to more credits on the LP] We have Teenie Hodges, Charles Hodges and Leroy Hodges. How many of those are you related to?
D: I’m actually, well I believe that Teenie Hodges is my relation. Mabon Teenie Hodges is his full name, a very close uncle. You have to go to his house. If you can ever… I’m “Pharrell” this situation, I’m gonna set up an interview with Teenie Hodges so you can go and see all the great things inside his house, because he his house is amazing. He has legendary artifacts that I think he would probably be willing to part with if he ever met you, because you’re such a great person.
Thank you, I would love that. That would be incredible.
D: Yeah, if you’re ever willing to go to Memphis, I’ll make it happen.
It doesn’t just end there, does it Drake? No, you go down more and more and we have the… [Nardwuar pulls out another LP]
D: [laughs] Oh my goodness, this is amazing.
Who is this? What record is this?
D: This is my uncle, this is Larry Graham, and Graham Central Station. Wow, this is uh…
I love that album cover, too.
D: Amazing. [laughs]
40: Nardwuar you’re doing some serious work here.
D: This is the best interview I’ve ever done, by the way, in my entire life. This album cover’s incredible, and I want to look at the songs that are on here. Wow, this is amazing. Produced by Larry Graham.
So growing up with Larry Graham, and Uncle Willie, and Teenie Hodges, this is amazing!
D: It is. And Pastor Al, too.
They all have neat record collections and stuff. They kept everything.
D: Yeah, they do. I mean, it’s been a while. Actually, you know, I can say that I have yet to make that trip to Memphis, where I come back and say, “OK, now I’m immersed in music, and I wanna see everything,” you know. But now, this has prompted me, to take 40 and we’re gonna go to Memphis, Tennessee, and I’m gonna come to you with a case of things that are gonna blow your mind.
I really appreciate that Drake, because there’s so much stuff. Like for instance, Larry Graham, he was the guy in Sly, right?
He was playing bass in Sly And The…
D: Yeah, Family Stone.
Family Stone. But he also put out lots of solo records. Check out this solo record of his. [Nardwuar pulls out another Larry Graham LP]
D: ([laughs] My goodness.
Larry Graham’s Star Walk. I love this cover, you’ve gotta do this.
D: I have to re-enact this cover at some point. Wow, this is amazing, too. This is crazy, I’ve never… No ones ever done this before.
I thought all this stuff was at your house.
D: It’s not. [laughs] Where can I, where did you find this? Did you find this in Vancouver?
Yes, it’s all from a record store in Vancouver, Beat Street.
D: Beat Street? Well, shout out to Beat Street, man, this is cra-zy. This is crazy [laughs].
We can try and hook you up with some of those, if you’d like.
D: Please! Yes, I really want… I need this. This whole, and this one obviously (Coffy Soundtrack) , but I don’t want it to say “love Nardwuar, cuz I wouldn’t wanna take that from you, that’s… if I had this, this would probably be in my top three possessions, next to uhhh, my I don’t know, I don’t know, whatever. I have a Degrassi DVD autographed by the entire cast, that’s probably up there, and uh…
That is pretty good.
D: Yeah, and I still have that microphone that Pusha T autographed, so… This would probably be up there in those top three.
So Drake and…
You’re here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the Armory Studios. So we’re in Vancouver, but if we were in Toronto, we’d be near Prince, ’cause doesn’t Prince live in Toronto now?
D: Yeah, uh, he doesn’t anymore, actually.
40: Didn’t he used to live in Toronto?
D: He used to. He used to live in the Bridal Path, which he actually mentioned in a song, and I don’t think he lives there anymore, though. ‘Cause I used to take girls by his house late at night.
40: Yeah, I think he left.
‘Cause I was wondering, did you get a chance to meet Prince in Toronto?
D: I didn’t get a chance to meet Prince in Toronto, and I didn’t get the chance to meet him at the BET Awards, but I’m dying to work with him, in any capacity. Like, I want him to, uh, just laugh on a song that I have, or you know something, anything. He’s just that great to me, so I haven’t met him yet, but I’d love to. I’m looking forward to it.
How close did you get to his house when you were there with the girls?
D: Uh, I walked up to the gate. I walked up to the gate and peered in, several times.
Did they believe you? Did the girls believe you?
D: [laughs] I think some did. I hope they did. I don’t know, I guess they’ll probably post and tell you under this interview (onYouTube) whether they did or not. But yeah, that was part of my whole, when I was younger that was part of my date routine, ’cause you know, since I was young I was always looking for a unique approach to women, so I would always take them out for dinner and then be like, “You wanna go see where Prince lives?” and that was like my tag line.
What do people know about Canadian hip-hop? Like when people think of Canadian hip-hop what do they think of? Is he still rapping? And what I mean by he is Maestro Fresh Wes. [Nardwuar pulls out a Maestro Fresh Wes LP]
D: Maestro came onto my tour bus last night.
40: Oh my god.
D: With his wife.
40: I didn’t hear this story yet.
D: And we talked about hip-hop, and he told me that in his words, he was like “You did it, man.” And that felt so… that was the most gratifying thing ever, ’cause you know Maestro to me like 416 to the 905, um, what was the biggest song?
“Drop The Needle”?
D: No, for me, for my generation, um, oh goodness, it was something with eyes…
“These Eyes.” (Actual Title: “Stick To Your Vision” )
D: These Eyes, yeah.
Guess Who sample.
D: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, man that was Papa ‘Stro, man. I don’t think he’s rapping, though. He just wrote a book and put a book out. And he also does acting.
Do people in the States know about Maestro?
D: I think that, I mean…
Like, in interviews, does it ever come up, like, “Drake, what other Canadian rappers are there?” Does he ever get any props? Like, he had that record called Naaah, Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada?!! That was one of his records.
D: Right, that was, yeah.
40: Some people remember Maestro. Like, in New York, especially, ’cause Toronto has real hip-hop history, you know? And so people in New York remember that, and like, there was a connection there at some point a long time ago. And I know, like, those guys know that, Maestro knows that, that’s why Michie Mee is on those cards and those guys are so significant. Like you’re showing him these cards, it’s the same thing. So some people know that, but young kids? Like, nah. Kardie, they ask about Kardie [Kardinal Offishall].
D: They ask about Choclair, Ice Cold was a big record in the States, I remember I bought “Ice Cold” in Memphis, Tennessee, at a small mom and pop record shop.
Back to Maestro for one second. When he said “You did it”, Drake, it means you did do it, because he was the greatest selling Canadian rapper up until now, up until you, right?
D: I believe so, yeah.
So, like, you really did do it.
D: I guess so.
‘Cause for a while there it looked like nobody would ever top him for sales in Canada.
D: Yeah, that was definitely the running commentary.
40: The classic debate.
D: Yeah, which was like, you know, you’re popular but will you, you’ll never sell more records than me. Well, not than me, but you know, like, you’ll never sell more records than that.
But still, for some more Canadian hip-hop, we are in Vancouver here, can we please mention if possible, the Swollen Members? [Nardwuar pulls out Moka Only of Swollen Member’s solo LP]
Moka Only, still doing it.
D: Featuring Swollen Members, so this was just like his solo, this was his solo single, I guess. Swollen Members, yeah man. I remember this logo very vividly, Battle Axe, umm, I dunno you can speak on Swollen Members.
40: I dunno, in high school, I remember this. I mean, it was good, it was amazing to watch what these guys do. It was inspiring because they did it on an independent level, making money and selling records, like for us to be back in Toronto being like, “Wow, these guys on the West Coast actually…”
D: And them being from the West Ccoast was crazy and that blonde guy was so angry. Isn’t his name Mad Child? Yeah, he was so angry, which was always sort of cutting edge.
Van-city. However let’s go back to Toronto, Drake, just for a second here, and let’s visit, if we could with this person that I think connects to you, Mindbender. [Nardwuar hands Drake a Mindbender CD]
D: Oh, yes! [laughs]
40: I don’t know how you connect to Mindbender.
D: I do, I do, I mean Mindbender, I think Mindbender has been at, Mindbender has been at every single thing I’ve ever done, in Toronto. Like, I mean, I’m talking from when I was performing, like, paying to perform all the way up until my autograph signing of Thank Me Later. Mindbender is probably the most avid hip-hop head I’ve ever known in my entire life, and he cares about Toronto hip-hop, and Canadian hip-hop more than anybody. He’s at ever King Of The Dot battle, he just supports, and it’s like that’s a guy who really lives it, like he lives this shit, in my opinion.
40: He’s been around since I was doing this when I was 15 years old. He’s been everywhere!
And also, you did an interview a few years ago with Notableinterviews.com, and during this interview, it’s amazing and I don’t think…
D: Wow [laughs].
Yes, what can you say about that particular interview. No other rapper would have done that, would they?
D: I don’t think I thought at the time, I remember it was a favour for my mom.
You’re in your Mom’s basement, on a couch, with your…
D: The couch that I actually found, in the garbage and took, and dragged, like, over seven streets and I had just done that like two days before, so I was pretty amped about my new couch. And I think that’s why I did it, but there were like clothes all over it.
But more interesting than that is, you don’t have your shoes on, you’re in socks.
D: Yeah, well, I was in socks when you walked in here, but I put my shoes on.
But what rappers do interviews in socks? Not many, do they?
D: I’m gonna do the rest of this interview in socks, right now.
Oh, OK. But I thought that made it really cool, I thought that was a really cool interview.
D: Thanks, man, this is gonna be just as cool. I’m going to be wearing socks right now.
And you are?
And beside you, you have?
D: The amazing and the incredibly talented 40.
And you are 40, aren’t you?
40: Yes, 40.
And you are?
And you guys met all because of one gentleman, didn’t you? Right here. [Nardwuar pulls out a Saukrates/Maestro Spilt LP]
D: Ohh… [laughs] That’s amazing.
40: Uncle Socks.
D: Yeah, Uncle Sauks.
Saukrates. How did this all happen? If it wasn’t for Saukrates, there’d be no Drake? There’d be no union of you two?
40: He was there for it. I’ll tell you where I think his… see, Drake just knew that I worked with Sauks, I think at one point, and ’cause Sauks was like, the guy, and he knew I was Sauks ‘ engineer…
D: I knew he was the real deal.
40: And he was like, “Oh.”
And I’d like to end here with a little quote. Quote “All I need’s a fucking red jack…”
D: Oh, all I need is the fucking red jacket with some zippers.
That’s what I was thinking about. And I could help you out on that, Drake.
D: Really? [laughs]
Yes, I have jacket for you, right here. [Nardwuar pulls out two Michael Jackson-like red zippered jackets] In fact, I have two jackets right here. One for me, and one for you. So I thought we could end the interview right here, if you could just hold the mic, right there 40, we can end the interview together wearing the jackets.
D: Yes, [laughs] this is the greatest interview of all time.
[Drake and Nardwuar put on the red jackets]
You’ve never come across any of these jackets? Nobody’s thrown these on stage?
D: No, never. [laughs] I don’t even know where I’d find something like this. I think I wore one of these on Degrassi one time, but it was full sleeved, but this is the vest so this is way better. Yeah, this is my first time ever wearing an actual red jacket with the zippers, a fucking red jacket with the zippers.
Thanks so much Drake, anything else you want to add to the people out there, at all?
D: Uh, I would just like to say that it’s been a legendary experience doing this with 40. We both grew up watching you, so man, it’s great. And to the city of Vancouver, what a beautiful place, thank you for hosting us. And that’s it.
Well, thanks so much for the kind words 40 and Drake. Keep on rockin’ in the free world and doot doola doot doo…
D and 40: Doot doo! [laughter]
Thanks to Peter Rosenberg for helping to set this interview up!
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