America’s favorite wordsmith, Drake, is W Magazine’s latest muse for their exclusive art issue.
Enlisting five artists to create works depicting their interpretation of Drake a.k.a. Champagne Papi including KAWS (lead image), Mark Flood, Henry Taylor, Katherine Bernhardt and Jim Joe (who designed the IYRTITL album cover), W Magazine selected the 28 year-old, who is a major force in both the art and music worlds, to front their latest issue.
Written by Lynn Hirschberg and shot by fellow Torontonian Caitlin Cornenberg below is an excerpt from “Drake: View From The Five.”
In August, a war of words broke out between Meek Mill, a rapper best known as Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend, and Drake, the superstar hip-hop artist, whose If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was the first album to sell a million copies this year. On Twitter, Mill accused Drake of having used a ghostwriter for a song they had worked on together. Drake, who is an unorthodox rapper—he doesn’t just rhyme, he sings; he’s melodic, confessional, and romantic, as well as militant—responded to the charges with a brilliant, manifesto-like retort. Instead of lobbing equally incendiary tweets, Drake rose above the feud, saying, “I signed up for greatness. This comes with it.”
That higher calling/larger ambition has been a theme throughout Drake’s life. Born Aubrey Drake Graham to a biracial couple in Toronto, the musician, 29, has been performing since childhood. At 14, he landed a role on Degrassi: The Next Generation, the long-running, hugely popular, emotionally complicated Canadian teen soap opera. At the same time, Drake was already making music. “That was part of the reason I was kicked off the show,” Drake told me, calling from Los Angeles in late summer. He was there recording his next album, Views From the 6, and would be performing the next night in Las Vegas. (A surprise album,What a Time to Be Alive, recorded with fellow rapper Future, dropped September 20 and immediately went to No. 1 on iTunes.) “Back then, I’d spend a full day on set and then go to the studio to make music until 4 or 5 a.m. I’d sleep in my dressing room and then be in front of the cameras again by 9 a.m. Eventually, they realized I was juggling two professions and told me I had to choose.” Drake laughed. “I chose this life.”
Although Drake burst onto the scene as a unique musical force, he remained a kind of multi-hyphenate: In 2014 he hosted the ESPY awards andSaturday Night Live, and was sharp and funny on both. “I can’t wait to get back into acting,” Drake told me. “No one ever asks me to do movies, and, although music is my focal point now, I’d love to do a film. That was the life that I lived before, and it would be interesting to live it again.” Recently, Drake has become involved with the art world: He was commissioned by Sotheby’s, in New York, to create a soundtrack for an exhibition and private sale of works by important African-American artists, including Theaster Gates, Wangechi Mutu, David Hammons, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, at the auction house. “The art at Sotheby’s moved me like a song would,” Drake said. “I saw music in those paintings. I now try to treat each single as a piece of art. I try to attach the sound that I’m making to an image in my mind.
View each artist interpretation and continue reading the interview at W Magazine HERE.