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V Exclusive! Drake's Feb/Mar 2012 VIBE Feature Story

DRAKE INVADED HIP-HOP AS A HUMBLE “EMO” RAP-SINGER FROM CANADA WITH THE USUAL DESIGNS ON “THE MONEY, THE CARS AND THE CLOTHES.” BUT WHILE YOU TOOK HIS HEARTACHE FOR NO-HEART, DRAKE CHANGED HIS GAME FACE AND FLEXED HIS BAD BOY MUSCLE. FROM THIS POINT ON, THERE IS NO MORE MR. NICE GUY --Lola Ogunnaike

TUCKED AWAY in the wings backstage at the American Music Awards is where you’ll ?nd Aubrey Graham, aka Drake, rap’s reigning prince. As members of his entourage quietly shuf?e about and two actresses from the ABC hit Modern Family prepare to introduce him, he’s practicing “Headlines,” the song he’ll be performing before the music industry’s preening glitterati in a matter of minutes. Though The New York Times has just de- clared him “hip-hop’s center of gravity,” he still has the nervous energy of a newbie. Hopping about like a young ?ghter eager to enter the ring—mouthing his lyrics, pantomiming with his hands—you don’t see much more than his silhouette until it’s showtime. And when it is indeed that time, the lights blaze, the crowd roars and he bounds onstage.

It’s a solid showing, but it’s far from a home run, which he admits the following evening over chips and dip at the Polo Lounge Restaurant at the Beverly Hills Hotel, an old-Hollywood-style eatery that attracts A-listers and D-grade strivers alike. Seconds before his performance, he was told that the elaborate light display that was supposed to accompany his set was on the fritz, which threw him off a bit. It’s not an excuse, he makes clear, but an explanation. “I’m very hard on myself,” Drake says. “I’m constantly striving for something beyond perfection.”

It’s the rare bump in an otherwise remarkable and meteoric rise for the Canadian-born phenom, who made a major breakthrough three years ago with an original backstory (half Black, half Jewish Toronto-based child-actor-turned- leading-MC) and an even more compelling mixtape (2009’s So Far Gone). Thank Me Later, his of?cial ?rst album, not only announced his arrival, it established him as one of hip-hop’s brightest stars and one of the T-Dot’s leading cultural exports. Lil Wayne’s imprimatur, as well as cosigns from everyone from Jay-Z to Justin Bieber, all but ensured his success. As he crisscrossed the U.S. with Weezy during the I Am Music tour, he played the humble student to Wayne’s wizened sensei. “[On the tour bus] I was this quiet ?y on the wall,” he told me at the time. “I was too scared to even ask for my own bunk. I would sleep sitting up in a little corner.”

These days, Drake sleeps in penthouses and it’s his name on the side of the tour bus. With his six degrees of Kevin Bacon-like connection to nearly all of music’s major players, the young grasshopper is now a ubiquitous presence on the radio. Crisp lyrics, adventurous melodies and collabos with up-and-comers (the Weeknd) and the fully arrived (Rick Ross) alike have cemented his status as one of music’s most important artists. His latest effort, Take Care, a sensuous 80-minute meditation on loves lost, dreams won and the colossal weight of success, is his most ambitious work to date. Sonically promiscuous, the album effortlessly mixes R&B, pop, electronica, neo-soul and a dash of the blues. The product ?nds Drake at turns boastful (“There’s some bills and taxes I’m still evading/But I blew 6 million on myself and I feel amazing”), thoughtful (“I’m hearing all of the jokes, I know that they tryna push me/I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy”) and comical (“Sometimes I need that romance, sometimes I need that pole dance”).

He sings as much, if not more, than he raps. But T-Paining too much doesn’t bother him in the least. “One of my ?rst hits was a slow jam. I came out sounding like a lost member of Jodeci,” he jokes. “Like my name should’ve been Dra-kante.” His willingness to constantly push artistic boundaries has earned him high praise and a loyal audience. Take Care debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200, moving 631,000 copies in its ?rst week alone. It’s since sold more than 1 million copies.

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Nicky Jam And Ozuna's "Te Robare" Video Transports Them To Another World

Nicky Jam and Ozuna are on a mission to get the girl they want at all costs. A black and white montage serves as the backdrop for their playful new video for their latest single, “Te Robare,” which translates into the mischievous: “I’ll steal you.”

Throughout their performance, a bevy of beautiful women have brief interludes that go from talking in a vaporized infused telephone booth to breaking into a sexy dance group sequence. "We are very happy to be able to share this new single with the fans of the reggaetón genre, we are sure that they will enjoy this song as much as we do,” Nicky said in a press release.

Despite the video featuring a slew of women, it's worth noting that it looks sexy but classic. Jam prides himself in creating this type of imagery in his visuals. In 2017, he told Billboard, "Our audience is so broad that we have to make videos where women look beautiful and conservative and are treated with respect because the videos are seen by kids and adults," he said. "Other reggaetóneros who do what they do are targeting one audience. They don’t have the same responsibility we do."

In addition to releasing new music, Nicky Jam is kicking off his "Intimo Tour 2019" on April 11 in Chicago and will go through the month of May. Watch the video for "Te Robare" above.

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Premiere: Tommie of 'Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta' Calls On Anthony Hamilton For 'Truth' Music Video

"With every trial is a testimony!" Tommie tells VIBE. "Here is mine."

With that, the The Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta star drops her new music video for "Truth." The song sees her recounting a lifetime of struggles - sexual assault, birthing her child in jail, homelessness, and more, while a soulful Anthony Hamilton sings a hook that congratulates her for how far she's come. The video, directed by illHD and Tommie herself, splits between its own storyline and vintage footage of her life.

“This is/was my real life! Beyond the lights. I wanted to share with the people the back story, my whole truth," Tommie said. "In doing so I hope to motivate others struggling with their truth to not be afraid and be inspired to not give up!”

Watch the video for Tommie and Anthony Hamilton's "Truth" above.

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Rich The Kid, Nav, And More Friday Music Releases You Need To Hear

Mar. 2019 was a pretty slow month, but we are back with a new list of the hottest Friday releases. From Rich the Kid to Nav and more, here are all of the Friday music releases that you need to hear below.

Enjoy!

Rich The Kid – The World Is Yours 2

Rich the Kid is back with The World Is Yours 2. The 16-track project features Offset, Big Sean, Tory Lanez, Gunna, Ty Dolla $ign, and more. The album also includes the pre-released singles, "Splashin'" and "4 Phones."

This is Rich the Kid's second studio album. It is a sequel to The World Is Yours, which was released in Mar. 2018.

Listen to Rich the Kid's new album below.

Apple Music  Spotify Tidal

Nav – Bad Habits

Nav's sophomore studio album is here. Bad Habits consists of 16 tracks and includes guest appearances by Meek Mill, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Gunna, and more.

Nav dropped the tracklist and video teaser ahead of the album's release. The preview includes behind-the-scenes footage of the rapper's past live concerts.

The album is completely produced by The Weeknd. Listen to Bad Habits below.

Spotify Apple Music Tidal

Cantrell – DEVIL NEVER EVEN LIVED

With a memorable freestyle on Sway In the Morning and Mass Appeal's recently concluded Starting 5 tour under his belt, Albany, Ga. rapper Cantrell has settled down to release his sophomore EP, DEVIL NEVER EVEN LIVED. The second half of a two-EP anthology started with Stardust 2 Angels (2018), Cantrell's new project is anchored by the singles "Fo Five" and "Know It's Wrong" and shares heavy, internalized storytelling with hauntingly beautiful production.

“I wanted to go deeper into me, what I’ve come from, and how that may have shaped the young man that created Stardust 2 Angels,” Cantrell said in a statement about the album. “I wanted to show it all, the good and the bad that brought me to this point... I’m asking for listeners' time so they deserve that much, if not more.”

Spotify Apple Music Tidal

Megan Thee Stallion – "Sex Talk"

Raunch and debauchery ensue in Megan Thee Stallion's newest single "Sex Talk." The track, which arrived early Friday morning (March 22), is sexy, empowering, and strong as the 24-year-old takes charge of her sexual nature in this single that puts a women's pleasure over a man's.

"Can I f**k ya to a trap beat? He said girl you tryin' to trap me?/Ah hell nah, ni**a no I ain't (What?)/You can hit that door, here go ahead leave," she raps over the bass-heavy beat.

"Sex Talk" is projected to land on the Houston rappers forthcoming album Fever, which is slated to hit streaming shelves in Apr 2019. Stream the Stallion's "Sex Talk" below.

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Jacquees ft. Lil Baby – "Your Peace"

Jacquees, or the King of R&B, as he likes to call himself, just released a new single featuring Lil’ Baby. “Your Peace” features Jacquees' signature sound and the Atlanta rapper riding on the R&B beat. Listen to the track to hear the two Georgia artists try to find peace with a special someone.

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