In anticipation of his already-leaked-but-still-highly-praised sophomore album, Drake sat down with The Village Voice
to talk about working with the legendary Stevie Wonder, his thoughts on A$AP Rocky and why he made a five-figure bet with Nelly.
The “Headlines” rapper/singer first spoke about his bi-racial roots, saying that he experiences “real segregation” in the U.S. as opposed to his native Toronto , CA . Even if Drizzy has a black father and a white, Jewish mother, the rapper still gets love everywhere he goes. “I'm all mixed up and people embrace that.”
But it’s the music from his second album, Take Care, to be released Nov. 15, that has people supporting him on social media, which he has expressed disdain for. It didn’t stop his song titles, “Lord Knows,” featuring Rick Ross, “The Ride” and “Take Care,” with Rihanna from trending on Twitter Sunday night.
The star-studded collaborations were expected from the Young Money artist, but a contribution from Stevie Wonder stuck out on the track list.
“He doesn't preach to me or try to make me feel like I'm some young'un that he needs to advise, he just treats me like an equal, like a human being,” Drake said, when asked what wisdom the legendary music icon has given him.
Wonder added the harmonica arrangements, and melodic ad-libs to the heartbreak-stricken “Doing It Wrong” while at the studio, called Marvin’s Room, that Drake was working in. “Stevie said "40 [Drake's producer], turn the music up," and he was just vibing, being Stevie Wonder…and then he just went in the booth and brought life to this record,” he said of his close friend.
Another collaboration that Drake wants to happen but apologized for delaying is with rapper Phonte, of Little Brother and Foreign Exchange. Although the Take Care creator says he was still in the midst of trying to find his sound and concept for the album, he still wants to make a song with Phonte reality. "We'll get it eventually."
Newcomer A$AP Rocky was also a topic of discussion as Drake recalled first meeting the rapper, who had brought him a bottle of Cristal to a venue he was DJing and later invited him to a show. He cited Rocky’s fascination with Houston culture as a common interest between the two and called him “talented” and “just a very great person.”
Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, also spoke on battle rappers and how the art of competitive freestyling excites him. “I rap to make albums; I rap to make radio records. But these guys prep for these competitions where my heart would be beating out of my chest if I ever stepped to another guy and I had to battle him [for] three rounds, long-ass rounds with so many raps to remember.”
An avid fan of URL TV battles, Drizzy even made a five-figure bet with fellow rapper Nelly over who would win in a battle between favorites Hollow Da Don and Hitman Holla. Hollow’s consistency is what hooked Drake and ultimately won him the money but he says he hasn’t received his reward from the “Country Grammar” star yet. “Nelly will pay up. He's a man of his word.” --Adelle Platon