XXL celebrates a very special issue this month: It’s the magazine’s 150th and 16th anniversary issue and Drake’s first solo cover. Yeah, it’s a big deal, and this is a great issue. It’s been 16 years since Jay Z and Master P both graced split covers of the first XXL. This month’s cover subject, Drake, was just 10 years old. Fast forward to 2013 and he’s one of the biggest rappers in hip-hop. And he’s currently prepping the release of his in-demand third album, Nothing Was The Same (Young Money/Cash Money/Universal) for September 17.
Discussing everything from his new album and his relationships with other rappers and celebrities to his return to acting and his overall success, the Toronto MC was open and honest with writer Thomas Golianopoulos during their two-hour interview. Here are a few quotes from the exclusive interview.
ON THE NEW ALBUM
I remember coming into this year thinking, “How am I going to cut through all these people and shine?” I’ve never been part of a year when so many legends are dropping projects. How am I going to be seen? I’m going to be like the kid waving in the background in the photo with all of his tall relatives. And, I guess, those were my initial thoughts, and not to say that I haven’t enjoyed some of the stuff that has come out this year, but it didn’t pan out the way I thought it was going to. I think I am going for it, to really establish what are murmurs or things being said quietly, “Um, I think that Drake might actually…” On September 17th I want people to be like, “Oh, we were right.”
ON HIS IMAGE
Do I think that if I didn’t have, for lack of a better term, a unique look about me, if I was from somewhere in America and if I hadn’t been on a kids TV show [Degrassi: The Next Generation], would I be as famous? I don’t know, man. Honestly, I don’t think so. I was just some young kid on a TV show. And I haven’t become anything else while I’ve been in this position. It’s not like I got here and was like, “Oh, got to switch up my image.” I don’t wake up nervous. I feel like maybe a lot of these guys do. How old are you, really? What is your background, really? What have you really done in the drug game, in the thug game?
ON THE COMPETITION
It’s tough for me. That’s a guy I can’t pretend not to like. He’s the guy to me, in a lot of ways. That’s Kanye West. But I’m also here to be the best. I’m here to surpass. I’m here to outdo. I’m ready for whatever with anybody.
ON HIS SUCCESS
I get Jewish people coming up to me proud like, “Mazel Tov, bro. Come to my house for Shabbat dinner.”
I don’t even know who that is doing that or what that’s about. If that is her, I guess it’s a little weird and disturbing. It’s obviously a behavioral pattern that is way bigger than me. Whoever is behind it, whether it’s her or somebody else, they know people are paying attention so they keep it going.
Also in the magazine this month, XXL honors the 150th issue with the ultimate list of the 150 most important people, places and things in hip-hop during the XXL era. And keeping with the birthday theme, many important albums are celebrating special anniversaries this year. In honor of those critically acclaimed LPs, XXL had some of today’s most popular MCs review them. Kendrick Lamar talks Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, which turns 20 this year. Nas looks back at Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, which turns 15. And B.o.B. discusses the OutKast decade-old opus,Speakerboxxx/The Love Below plus many more in the magazine and on XXLMag.com.
The 150th and 16th anniversary issue of XXL is jam-packed with good stuff and hits stands August 20.