Shot by Mario Sorrenti
GQ landed the first real interview of the Nothing Was The Same media cycle. In it, not only does Drake discuss rap, love and Chris Brown, but also money, his security, family and talks at lengths about what goes into making his songs:
In one song off the new album, Drake delves into the pain of his parents’ split, but as always for Drake, it’s raw material—powerful, personal, and cautionary—reshaped as art. And it’s what makes Drake Drake: his willingness to go there and say it out loud, and in that way possess it. If it’s an impulse not wholly recognizable in rap, it suggests that perhaps Drake belongs on a slightly different continuum, one belonging, at least in spirit, to confessional poets or expressionist painters or indie bands like the xx, a band he loves. But, he says, his lodestar for the new work has been Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, the 1978 double-album confessional chronicling the collapse of Gaye’s first marriage, described by one critic as “the sound of divorce…exposed in all its tender-nerve glory.”
“It’s so honest,” says Drake, who’s also been recording in Gaye’s old studio, Marvin’s Room. “He just puts it all out there.
Drake also revealed he was “four songs into the new album” at the time of this interview, including one which is titled “Tuscan Leather”:
Drake and 40 swivel at the same time and start tapping the keys of their laptops, cuing up the first track off of Nothing Was the Same, a song called “Tuscan Leather”—a title, Drake tells me, named for a Tom Ford fragrance that some say smells like a brick of cocaine.
The truth is I have no idea what to expect. The paradox of Drake is that he’s so multiple, he might write a love song sung by an Idol contestant (“Find Your Love”) or something so raunchy you can’t play it for kids (“Practice”). He could be rhyming about the kingdom of his material world, and then crooning about his spiritual state. He’s a mama’s boy who’ll cut you up, though his tough-guy posturing seems occasionally halfhearted because, after all, he seems so kind of…decent.
Now comes the music, in a sudden blast, like green light through fog, the first notes strange and dissonant, in a lurching 3/4 beat. The intro hurtles and whiplashes, and a woman’s voice, as if on helium, floats through the chaos, in the highest register, sorta funny and ghostly and beautiful. (It turns out to be a Whitney Houston sample.) The sound is an evocation of something that feels nostalgic and new, exuberant and menacing, at once. Which is when Drake’s voice breaks through, rapping, pumped up, spitting nails. Both inside and outside the song itself, he keeps repeating, How much time’s this nigga spending on the intro? How much time’s this nigga spending on the intro? It feels like bedlam.
Link: How to Drake It in America [GQ]