You bookend the album with two bold lyrical records—“Tuscan Leather” and “Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2.” What was the message you wanted to send?
Yeah, I wanted to bookend it with strong raps. Intros and outros have always been kind of ambient. I wanted to come out strong. When we were in Atlanta I told 40, “Man, just give me some shit that Dipset would rap on.”  He gave me the beat for the first part of “Tuscan Leather.” Then Boi-1da sent us some drums  and we flipped it , then flipped the end part again. We had this running joke; we’d listen to the song and be like “Oh, the album is done. The song was such a journey.” “Pound Cake” was never going to be the last record but it just became that . Then “Paris Morton Music” came along and it felt like this is where it should end.
 “'Tuscan Leather’ sounds like a beat I made for [Toronto rap group] Empire Crew when I was 17 called ‘So Softly.’ That was the ruggedest rap music you can imagine. Oliver was like—go back to the old 40!” —Shebib
 “I was working on a track and 40 walked in like, 'Yo, send me that right now.' I didn’t even get to finish, he just added it onto what he was doing. Whenever 40’s ears perk up you know its something serious.” —Boi-1da, producer
 “Boi-1da’s drums were created from a sample that we couldn’t use for whatever reason, so then I basically re-created that sample.” —Nineteen85, producer
 “My producer Jordan Evans brought the Ellie Goulding [‘Don't Say a Word’] sample to me and I was like, ‘this is perfect.’ Nothing sounds bet- ter than Ellie Goulding singing in the background while Jay Z is rapping.” —Boi-1da
How much fun was it to write “Worst Behavior”?
These sessions were probably the craziest nights of my life. When we had the completed “Worst Behavior”  and played it back for the first time, it was a crazy feeling. I just like making music like that. The cadences, seeing people get hype. All those last sessions were crazy. We did “The Language,” “305 to My City,” “Too Much” and “Worst Behavior” all in the last two weeks. So I feel like I just caught the wave at the end. And that’s why I’m so eager to get back in.
 “The album is even-tempo and my joint is kind of a wake-up, like, 'Oh shit! What’s this?' Detail added the Auto-Tune sound on top of the beat—that’s definitely not me singing” —DJ Dahi, producer
Where does that energy come from, lines like, “Muhfuckas never loved us?”
In my mind, I’m still fighting to convince you that I’m meant to be here. I just want people to love me like they love 'Pac. I want people to remember I spoke from the heart and told the truth. It’s so crazy because while 'Pac was here, he felt like everybody hated him. And that’s where that shit comes from. As much as I brush shit off, I don’t feel like people love Drake necessarily. I’m still human—I see a lot of love, tickets selling, people going crazy. But at the same time, it’s tough to just see that. I see the rest of it, too. I know I must be most-hated out here.
Do the jokes and Internet memes ever get to you?
It’s flattery. I’m just being human, it’s not like I’m on records crying and making videos in the rain and shit. I always get to this point where it’s like, “Man, how come this guy is allowed to do this? How come this guy is allowed to talk about the streets? All he did was be around it, just like me. He didn’t live it, but he’s allowed to talk about it. How come this guy is allowed to make girl records—love records—but they’re not girl records or love records when he does it?” I just have to step back and be like, because it doesn’t matter what those guys do. Whoever that is, it just doesn’t matter. They’re not important enough to be scrutinized like that. So it’s that feeling of accepting that I’m at the top and I don’t give them enough to talk about, so they have to make shit. No one ever loves that guy that’s on top.
Not to compare you, but that’s reminiscent of Ja Rule being criticized for singing, when his rival 50 Cent was doing the same thing on his choruses.
Yeah, I see it in a lot of places. The difference between me and that parallel is that as much as I may make great records for women, nobody could ever box me into a corner. I see myself more as 50 than Ja, not from a street perspective, but from a hitmaking perspective. I have the “21 Questions” and “Started From the Bottom.”  I’ve tapped into both markets, whereas when Ja would go the street route it would be seen as a reach because 50 kept attacking him. So he’d have to stay in that girl lane. I can really rap, so I would never let that happen. That is an interesting situation to bring up. I don’t want confrontation because it’s stressful, man. As much of a show as it is for people and sometimes what makes it exciting, for us it’s just unnecessary pressure and stress. That shit’s not fun. It’s not fun to be in a beef with somebody. If you do win the war of words, then what? Then where does it go? The person starts feeling self-conscious, and then we start getting into some whole other shit. I try and avoid shit like that for the sake of my career.
 “When I spoke to Drake he said that song sparked the creative process for the whole album. Everybody was saying it’s a trap beat. but it’s not—it just has trap elements.” —Mike Zombie, producer
Rap nerds have speculated whether “The Language” is a subliminal response to Kendrick Lamar’s verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” Is it appropriate to put those two records side by side?