Category: Music

Donald Glover: Fear and Trembling

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Donald Glover knows he’s going to die. He says it over and over again, not in a particularly dark way, but with a sense of finality most people reserve for talking about a wedding that they have to attend at the end of the year. It’s just another thing that’s going to happen. We’re at the Four Seasons in Toronto, seated, maybe two arm-lengths apart. He’s barefoot, wearing the same fur hat with ear flaps that he’s worn in recent radio interviews, telling me matter-of-factly that he’s going to die.

He’s a far cry from the jubilant and loveable Troy, the character he played on Community for the past four years of his life. Nor is he the same guy we were introduced to with the rise of YouTube sketch-comedy group Derrick Comedy back in 2007—the bro with a bag full of newly-Axe’d black dildos coming over to “just chill.” He’s technically here as his rap alter ego Childish Gambino, on a label-mandated press tour promoting his new rap album Because the Internet. But as he sits cross-legged sipping a glass of Oban Brand whiskey, it’s clear he has other things to talk about, not just death and hip-hop. Even though he knows that he’s going to die, he’s OK. The problem is that everything else isn’t, and he just wants to know why we’re not talking about it.

Despite the fact that he recently turned 30, Donald looks about 21, the same age as when Tina Fey hired him to write for 30 Rock. He’s very much a product of the internet, but now questions if the same structure that made him famous is responsible for more evil in this world than good. “At this point with the internet,” he says, “it feels like we’re just giving a handgun to an infant and going, ‘Don’t shoot yourself.’” The way he sees it, the internet’s created a dangerous system where people aren’t held accountable, where trends start and stop within weeks, and information is being put out at a rate so dizzyingly fast that it might as well just be noise.

The fact that this interview even took place is a testament to the power of the internet. After his Breakfast Club interview, I started tweeting my thoughts on Childish Gambino’s musical output. All of my opinions weren’t positive, but his friend Fam sought me out online to thank me for not criticizing the person, but the music he was making. This led to an email exchange that culminated in Fam inviting me to drop by the hotel the day before Glover would announce that he’d be doing all of his press at once, in the park, with all of his fans. In short, I was granted an exclusive sit-down to talk about Because the Internet, because of the internet.

When I arrive, Fam welcomes me inside. He’s recognizable as the supporting character in the final scene of Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, Donald’s new short film—the one by the bonfire, where Donald admits to having a gay encounter when he was younger. Although Donald and Fam aren’t lifelong friends, they behave like it. “One of the main reasons that me and Fam get along so well is that we both feel very alone,” he’ll later tell me.

When Donald arrives, he looks worn out, eyes sunk in as he shuffles across the carpet to shake my hand. He asks me how old I am. I stumble, saying I’m 21 even though I’m 23. I correct myself, and Donald tells me this means that I’m stuck feeling that age—something he knows well since he still thinks he’s twenty-five. He has no reservations, no caveats, nothing he won’t talk about. He settles onto the deacon’s bench at the end of the bed and sits Indian style, getting up only once to retrieve another splash of whiskey. Throughout the course of our two hours together, he answers my questions while either looking at the floor or gazing out of the window that faces a church across the street. He avoids eye contact until he’s ready to thoroughly address me, at which point we lock eyes. He goes off on tangents, but manages to make it back eventually. Sometimes he answers a simple question with an answer that touches on race, his past and humankind. Other times, he’ll give you the cold hard facts and nothing else.

What’s with the hat?
We were in New York and it was cold, and I saw a homeless man who had a hat like this. And then we kept walking and saw a hat store and it had that kind of hat, so I bought it.

Based on your more recent public appearances, you seem to be coming from a darker place.
We were in the airport and I was waiting in line at the ATM and there was a guy in front of me getting money. I came up and he got nervous, so I went to the side and waited for him to finish. I said to my group of friends, “I don’t think white people know how much effort in my day is put into making them feel comfortable.” In general, people don’t know how much of my time is dedicated to making them feel comfortable.Maybe it has to do with being older, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to make people comfortable all the time. Plus, we just feel like we’re going to die soon.

Like, in a hedonistic way? Or the world is doomed?
We’re just around death a lot. Since I started hanging out with Fam I just stopped trying to make it OK. People want you to think that it’s OK, you’re OK, take these pills, you’ll be OK. But it’s not OK. And instead of trying to make it OK and being told that I need to do certain things to cope, I’ve decided that maybe nothing is wrong and everybody feels this way. So maybe I should go with it. And since I’ve adopted that view, I wouldn’t say that things are working great, but I’m less tired.

Why are you in Toronto?
We’re here to do some interviews with radio stations, but I don’t believe in doing traditional interviews anymore. It’s so easy to twist words around, and I feel like with what we’re doing, the truth will eventually just come to light anyway. I’m not worried about the internet anymore.

It speeds up everything and we get information faster, and I don’t see the flip side of that. Like, people calling me a nigger or a faggot isn’t new—the internet just makes it easier. I don’t see where the good in that lies. Other than us being more aware of stuff, but I’m not more aware—I only pay attention to what’s on my timeline.

You could make the argument that we’re at least more informed. Look at the KONY thing.
We more informed, but there are so many opposing viewpoints. Some people say he’s helping, others say he’s supplying militias. Nobody knows who to believe or who to trust.

But isn’t the flip side of the internet the fact that it allows for people like me to be here interviewing you, or for you to have a career?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet. I think it’s great and it’s the only reason I’m here, I’m just like everyone else. I love watching Worldstar and all that shit.

What would your immediate reaction be to someone yelling out “Worldstar!” when you’re in public?
Hit the deck. If I hear it and it’s close to me, I’m just going to duck because someone is about to get hit. But niggas was screaming “Worldstar!” when we were in Atlanta and someone was shooting.

Where was this?
Atlanta at Opera nightclub. We were in Atlanta hanging and we came out and someone just started shooting in the parking lot. And everyone was yelling “Worldstar!” and running around until the cops came and broke everything up.

That’s weird.
I mean, it’s not that weird.

It is for Canadians.
Oh wow that’s right; you guys don’t have guns here.

Yeah, gun crime has kept a lot of people from crossing the border and performing here because they’re promoting a violent lifestyle.
It was hard for me to get cross the border today. The guy was giving me a real hard time. I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to say that it’s because I’m a rapper, but that probably was the case. The word “rapper” now has become so powerful.

When we went to Philly, the show had the be shut down because there was an electrical storm, so the fans came out to the tour bus to get some stuff signed. A lot of them were 15-year-old girls. Then the cops showed up with their batons and started clearing them out. And that’s what pissed me off. I know that people assume that I’m like the next Wayne Brady or whatever—which is fine, because that’s part of my brand and I’ve been making people feel comfortable around me for such a long time—but it’s just like the ATM thing. Like, the cop is going right after these little black girls, because he knows their parents aren’t gonna sue or whatever. And I get out of my bus to try to stop it and the cop yells, “Get back in the fucking van or I’ll fucking bust your fucking skull in you fucking retard!” But our white tour manager just got up in the cop’s face, and the cop didn’t do anything to him.

So is that because you’re a rapper or because you’re black?
Here’s the thing: he kept saying “rap.” And to us, and to you, we’d be like, “No, it’s a Childish Gambino show. It’s going to be filled with young girls and nerds who like puns. There’s no danger.” But they heard “rap” and that was it—it triggered something. And that word doesn’t mean the same thing to different generations.

Is that something you see going away as they age themselves out?
Absolutely. It’s going to be fine, eventually. We’re at a weird point right where I believe that people just think that everything is OK right now. We’re in a post-Obama world and everything is supposedly OK now. Fam works with inner city kids and a teacher told a kid, “Hey you can do anything because the president is black.” That just pissed me off. Because you can’t. I like Patrice O’Neal; he’s like a prophet and like a black Louis CK. He asked everyone at his show to put their hand up if they thought they were racist, and nobody put their hand up. But then he asked them if racism still existed, and everyone said yes. So where are all the racist people? We live in a time where you can’t prove it. And that’s part of life. And I don’t want this to be a race topic. But it still skews how I look at things. America is supposed to be this melting pot where everything is thrown in and the best rises to the top but that’s not true.

Are you reading books right now?
Yeah, I’m really into Kierkegaard shit right now.

Man, that is not going to make you happy.
It does make me happy, because it makes me feel less alone.

Was that the point of Clapping for the Wrong Reasons?
I mean, there was no point to the movie.

At all? You weren’t trying to do something with it?
I was just trying to make something.

I feel like if we’re all going to die soon, like we feel we are, I only want to make dope shit. I want something people can look back on and see what they were doing.

The film does have to do with the album and the feeling that I’m trying to get across. When it started, I just wanted to do something cool and interesting and personal. Bink! the producer came and lived in Chris Bosh’s mansion with us while we rented it for four months. And I was telling him that I feel like I try too much sometimes. And he told me that no matter what, someone is always going to feel how I feel. So that film captured how I was feeling at the time. Not just in the house, but in the world. The drifting, the not-knowing. Whether it be through relationships or through the house. That’s what I was trying to do.

I just wanted people to get across something that they don’t normally talk about, and why aren’t they talking about it. I mean, I feel that way: why am I pretending to be Troy? Why am I rapping about puns? When actually, I’m afraid that my parents are gonna die or I’m afraid that I’m going to be Tyrese [Gibson]. Those feelings are the types of things that connect us, not showing the car you drove or the stack you have. I fully expected people to be like, “Fuck this movie, it sucks. Fuck this guy, he’s pretentious.” But I just said fuck it, let me tell the story of how one time I kissed a boy. Am I gay? I don’t know, maybe. But the maybe is what’s really connecting us.

Fear is the only connecting factor, at least for me. Every time I say something that I think “someone else shouldn’t know this,” that’s the thing that normally gets the biggest response. I used to have this fantasy that when I turn 78 I would do everything I hadn’t done thus far. I’m going to do heroin, kill a person, blow dudes, just everything that’s left to do in life. But as I get older, I realize that there’s a good chance that I won’t even make it to 78. First of all, I’m a black male. Secondly, every male in my family has a lifespan of like mid-60s. So technically, I’m mid-life right now, even though I’m not that old. But that’s how I started looking at shit, so I started to wonder why I’m doing stuff. Why am I trying so hard to be nice to the guy at the ATM and making him not scared of me, or why am I not doing drugs, why am I living for other people?

How concerned are you with pushing stuff forward?
I feel like that’s the only thing that I can grab onto that makes sense and has a purpose to it. I’m extremely lucky in the fact that I’m alive and I’m human, that doesn’t happen a lot in the universe. This should never happen. Like, my dad, I know what his purpose was. He made sure that his kids were more educated than him so that they didn’t have to make the same decisions that he did. You have to man up when you have kids, and that’s what he did. My great grandparents bought their freedom and walked from Maryland to Virginia and bought the only land available. Have you ever seen American Gangster? You know Bumpy, the guy at the start who has a heart attack? My grandpa used to work with him, he was his right-hand man in real life. They ran numbers together. Those guys had this drive to go out and make something of themselves by any means necessary. So I look at all of them, and I wonder why does it stop with me, and I realize that it’s because I have so many options available. And watching Kanye and my other heroes do shit that they were afraid of made me ask myself, and this is not a diss to Community, but why am I sitting here and just smiling? Is it for residual checks?

Community does seem like a sweet gig.
And it is! It’s great, the people I worked with are great, the food was great, I got recognized everywhere and people loved me for it. But like, I was waking up screaming sometimes.

Because I knew I was gonna die. And if I knew that it was just like “this guy from Community died,” I’d be really disappointed. I can’t live like that. I’d feel guilty that I didn’t do anything for us, for humans.

Do you worry about spreading yourself too thin? Wouldn’t your cause have more validity behind it if you only focused on one thing?
I feel like if a person does that, locks himself away to make better music, then that is his purpose. He has that mindset. I don’t think what I did was that different. After I came off tour, we went to Australia and I was just super depressed. I mean, I tried to kill myself. I was really fucked up after that, because I had this girl that I thought I was going to marry and we broke up. I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t living up to my standard, I was living up to other people’s standards, and I just said “I don’t see the point.” So that’s what we did after Australia. I rented a mansion, I invited over a bunch of people that I could trust like my brother, Fam—

—Trinidad James?
Nah, he just showed up. Trinidad James is the best because he’s honestly “the nigga.” He’s such a nice guy and he’s so funny. And we were both raised Jehova’s Witness and we bonded over that—he got our sadness. You know, Prince and MJ were both raised Jehova’s Witness too. And the weird thing about that religion is that they teach you that when you die, that’s it. You get all of the guilt and none of the promise of it paying off one day.

There are so many people who subscribe to what you’re doing, who are already fans of you from other ventures. Does that put more pressure on you to succeed?

One of my most vivid memories is from when I was at Stone Mountain in Atlanta. They have this laser show. It’s a Confederate thing, and we were the only black family. So at the end when the South “gives up,” the people who were sitting around us started throwing beer cans at us. And I remember one of my first thoughts being, “How do I make them like me?” So I carry that with me and I want to make people like me. But that’s never gonna happen. So why am I trying to make them happy?

What do you consider validation on the internet? Does a publication like Pitchfork giving you a 1.6 influence you going forward?
Pitchfork helped me a lot. First of all, there’s no way I can make something worse than that. It would be impossible. It put a lot of people on my side too. But I’m not worried. If I worked for Pitchfork, I wouldn’t give myself a 9.0 either. They’re a brand, they sell tickets to a show they put on every year. They’re not going to give a 1.6 to someone who can be at their show and sell tickets. They’re not the same publication that I grew up with anyway. It’s changed, and that happens. Any good idea starts with a movement, becomes a business, and ends up a racket. And I’m not calling Pitchfork a racket, but they’re a business. And I didn’t fit their business structure. But I just want there to be a conversation, and this started a conversation about what Childish Gambino stands for.

You can say what you want about Macklemore, but he stands for shit. That’s what made him huge. You know how easy it would be for people to just disregard him and say, “Bye Macklemore, you’re Psy now”? It would’ve been very easy if he didn’t have something to stand behind. He’s doing the dopest shit. He’s giving gay rights speeches right now.

But he’s a straight white man.
Exactly. He acknowledges that.He’s self-aware. I know it may seem like a ploy, especially because he’s a straight white male, but that’s genuinely him. Most of the time, for a black woman to get shit done, you have to be one in a gazillion, you have to be Oprah. And even then you need a rich white dude to OK it. Most of the time when we see some racist shit, we can’t speak up. But a guy like Macklemore can. Like this weekend in Vegas, we couldn’t speak up and I was almost in tears over it.

What happened in Vegas?
My parents are disabled, so they can’t walk around. But the venue that I was performing at won’t let us inside. So I’m talking to the security guard, and and tell him, “Look, I know you’re saying no to everything because it’s a festival, but I’m performing tonight. My name is Childish Gambino, my real name is Donald Glover. You can look it up on your phone or tell your boss, but my parents are right there and everything is blocked and they can’t walk. Can you please just help us get inside?” And they’re just like, “No.” Then the cops come up to me and they say, “Can I help you” so I say, “Yeah I’m supposed to be performing and I’m just trying to get my parents inside,” and he tells me to “get off the street” because we weren’t standing right on the sidewalk. So we get on the sidewalk and the cops just cruise off.

And then I go back over to the security and the cop is with him and they start yelling at me again, so Fam says, “Yo, just chill,” and the cop loses his shit: “Did you just tell me to chill? License and registration.” So they force them to drive off, but Fam pulls over to get out and the cop says, “Get the fuck out of the street” and you can see in his eyes that if we make a wrong move or say something else, they’ve got us. And that shit happens all the time. This time was different because he emasculated me in front of my parents. I can’t even get them into my own concert. And you can’t complain, because then you become the whiner.

That’s crazy.
That was the worst part of that Pitchfork thing. I know people are going to trash the music, I see them doing that shit and I see where they’re coming from. There’s shit on Camp where if I saw it as a kid, I would say that that shit is corny. And I’m willing to take that. But the shit that I didn’t like about that Pitchfork article and that really made me mad is that the writer—and I know this nigga too because he lives on my block. Fuck that nigga. He’s afraid of me, and that’s something he’s gotta deal with. But the thing that I didn’t like in that review was that he said, “Oh, well Jay Z and Beyonce go to a Grizzly Bear concert—there’s no problem. This kid that is on Camp, he doesn’t exist anymore, because there’s people like Tyler the Creator etc.” and I’m like, “Fuck you. You don’t know. You didn’t grow up like me.” That’s the thing. You don’t get to tell me that racism is over. That’s the one thing that bothered me most about that.

Where do you see yourself in the rap game?
This is something that I take from comedy. Chris Rock always says to me, “It’s never the audience’s fault.” If I’m not respected, that’s on me. Like, who ever has won from coming out and saying, “I need to be respected because I’m awesome.” They’ll come around eventually.

New shit is scary to people.
It’s always scary. And that’s the thing, I’m finally cool with people saying “this is dumb” or “this is stupid” because I’ve realized that I’m not going to be around to realize if that’s true or not. All I know is that it’s dope to me, and that’s what matters. That’s all I wanna do from now on, is make dope shit that we all think is dope. Worrying about someone being happy with what I make in 2085 is pointless to me. I’m done pandering. I was definitely pandering for a long time, but I feel like it doesn’t help. I definitely used to make things because I knew people would be comfortable with them, but I’m done with that.

You seem to have gotten a lot better at rapping.
I’m going to say that’s drugs. It just made me less tense.

How upset would you be if your greatest contribution to music after it’s all said and done, was introducing Chance the Rapper?
I’d be upset, but only with myself. It would be like, you had the tools to do something great and you didn’t. There’s nobody stopping you from doing what you want. Even with this label situation, we’re just now slowly coming around to the fact that we have to do whatever it takes. So I’d be upset, not because he’s not good, but because I can be better than him if I push myself.

I haven’t done acid yet. It’s mostly just shrooms, edibles, and weed. I’m doing Ayahuasca soon.

Don’t you need to be in a happy mindframe before you do Ayahuasca?
Here’s the thing, I’m always sad. I always just “see” myself. I did a heavy edible the night before and I was happy, but I remember some things that I said while I was on it like “I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to people knowing who I am, or what my sister looks like.” The first time I got high I got really sad. But I kinda realized that’s who I am.

Would your ideal eventual career path eventually mirror someone like Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith or Drake?
I want to be something completely different from everyone on that list.

Now, excluding Tina Fey from that list. Fuck, marry, kill.
Drake’s my boy, but he would not be fun to fuck, that would be really sad. I’d probably fuck Will Smith because he’s ripped. I’d marry Jerry Seinfeld because he’s so fucking rich. So by process of elimination, I’d have to kill Drake.

Why do you think rap critics don’t embrace you the same way they embrace Drake?
My biggest problem is that critics approach music with their mind made up just because they don’t like the person who’s making the music. I put that on myself for not doing a good enough job. I definitely think that there’s reasons that they could use to say they do like me, but for whatever reason they don’t. And I get it. It’s like Jiro Dreams of Sushi where the customer had the best sushi ever at Jiro’s place and it turned out to be made by his son. And I knew that when Drake came out, I was like “fuck”. Because critics are gonna hate me, there’s gotta be a release valve for rapper/actor success. They can’t be like “fuck, this nigga’s great too! They’re both dope! What are the chances?” They aren’t gonna do that shit, and I knew that. But I have to be better, I have to beat him. And I’m not gonna beat Drake ever, I’m not that cool. I’m not gonna be smooth or cool, but I know I’m more imaginative than all these niggas. I’ve known that as a kid. I have more weird experiences to draw from.

Have you ever thought about making a concept album in order to stay away from the personal stuff that people use as ammunition?
That’s what this is. Even Camp was a character, but this is more of that. Dealing with critics is the same as dealing with the cops. Whose fault is it that I’m being harrased? It’s their fault, but at the same time, I know the rules. That’s what I’m trying to do with this album, is just not leave the critics anywhere to go. I want to make it so good and so thorough, that they’ll just have to conceed in some areas of their critique.

You say you’re the son of Kanye. What does the son of Childish Gambino look like?
I just hope that he doesn’t feel sad about who he is. I feel like the son of me doesn’t have to worry about that. I look at Kanye like Steven Hawking, he’s one of the brightest minds of our generation. But because he’s a black rapper he’s put in a box. Like when he was screaming about Justin Timberlake getting 15 minutes to perform even though Kanye has more Grammys than Michael Jackson—that frustration lives in me. And I don’t have the same level of frustration because I can do more than him—I’m a little better because people don’t look at me as a rapper, and my skin is lighter, and people aren’t as threatened. And Kanye has this wealth of knowledge, but people stop him because he’s an aggressive black male. I can go a little further, I can have the show, I can do the music. I understand how textures work in music, I can go a little further. I want the son of Childish to not even have to face those challenges.

The 6th Letter is Bigger Than Canada

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The 6th Letter is 20 minutes late. I’m set to meet the rapper at a restaurant in downtown Toronto, and fortunately for me, the Knicks are playing the Raptors in a pre-season game, the first of many New York versus Toronto battles this year. The game is especially fitting because of how much both teams borrowed from each other during the off-season in order to compete at a higher level—an analogous scenario to the one 6th Letter finds himself in after three years of making music.

Of all the latent talent current steeping in Toronto, the 6th Letter has been brewing for the longest amount of time with no concrete project. He was only 18 years old when his debut mixtape, Go Green—a light-hearted and easy going listen over boom-bap production—dropped in April of 2011. That mixtape sparked a buzz in the Greater Toronto area that was then supplemented by 6th’s heavy live performance circuit. He performed at nearly 50 events in 2011, opening up for every rapper who came to Toronto on a tour stop before the borders were cloistered-off to American artists for fear of violence.

He rode the wave of hype alongside the Bakers Club—a Toronto collective which consists of Raz Fresco, Brandon Chey, Lo Thraxx, Chill Will, and Brisk—helping those individuals find their voice in rap while 6th himself stayed in the background. Now, the 21-year old rapper is ready to have his coming out party on the back of his 23-song feature length mixtape NorthernPlayalisticGetHighMuzik, which is being entirely produced by Fresco.

His old school, THC-infused rhymes have received praise from a city that normally hates its native talent, and he’s also attracted out-of-town tastemakers, and specifically Jonny Shipes—a New Yorker who founded the Smokers Club tour and online paraphernalia store. Shipes would go on to be instrumental in the rise of Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era movement, leading some to wonder if he transplanted some of the Torontonian’s ideas into a fledgling New York rap collective. Toronto’s Bakers Club was less nostalgic and more splintered in their content, but the parallels between Pro Era were there. Boom-bap may have originated in New York, but its resurgence can be directly tied to the young rappers of Toronto in 2010—a full two years before Joey’s “Survival Tactics” caught fire online.

When the 6th Letter finally arrives to the Mexican restaurant, he shares some edibles, so immediately all issues of punctuality are forgiven. Sporting a Wu-Tang sweater with a golden chronic leaf pendant around his neck, the wiry, bespectacled rapper tells me about his upcoming project, explaining how it’s a culmination of influences. He also believes that it will justify his past couple years of silence. Because the fact is, NorthernPlayalisticGetHighMuzik is an album that could only be made by a Canadian rapper—one who sits literally on top of the biggest market for hip-hop music in the world and cherry picks his favorite influences. The mixtape is rooted in Eastern boom-bap technicalities, influenced by the West Coast’s g-funk sound, and infused with prime Southern cadences—an album made by an artist with no coastal alliances.

As our conversation draws on and the edibles begin to kick in, the Toronto Raptors doll out punishment to the Knicks on the big screen. For fans of all-things-North, this could be interpreted as a moment to mark the start of a changing of the guard in the East—and for two art-forms as closesly entwined as basketball and hip-hop, I can’t help but wonder if the same would hold true for our music scene. Or maybe that’s just the edibles.

How was the A3C Hip-Hop Festival in Atlanta?
I was going to go to A3C but I got sent back at the border because I was being too honest at the wrong time. They asked why I was visiting and I mentioned that I was performing and they said I needed a visa for that. So I only made it to the Buffalo border.

Damn. Where do things stand with the creation of NorthernPlayalisticGetHighMuzik?
I started recording this project in December of 2011. It’s about 75 to 80 percent done, I just have to tweak it and create some visuals to accompany it. Since I made Go Green, I’ve gone through a lot of shit in life. I finished high school and decided to work on my craft full-time instead of going to college, so I’ve had to deal with the consequences that came with that decision. But also, a lot of time was spent on me just trying to find my own sound and path in the field of music and just committing to what I want to do and refining my sound as much as possible. I reached a halfway point when I was recording this album and I had to take a break and recognize where I wanted to go with it. I haven’t put out a project in a long time, so it’s time for me to come with a full body of work that’s cohesive.

So what is it starting to sound like?
This project reflects everything that I was surrounded by growing up, from the Reggae music to the ’90s rap that my parents raised me on, like Wu Tang, Tribe, Busta. My music is like a collage. I take some pieces from all the music I’ve ever enjoyed and then I sprinkle elements from every day life into it. The weed I smoke, the clothes I wear, the people I interact with in Toronto. Everything has managed to find a way to be represented in this album.

You mentioned a lot of musical influences from all over the States. Is it hard to keep everything sounding authentic with so many varied styles?
You need a balance. I love the West Coast mainly for the weather, the weed, and the g-funk sound. Lately I’ve been into a lot more West coast stuff—even though the East Coast boom-bap is where I came from. As I got older I started getting myself into Canadian hip-hop because it was literally surrounding me. K-os, Ghettosocks, Saukrates, all of those guys had a huge influence on me. I’m trying to come forth with my own genre based on what they did. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the mixtape reflect the North from everything to the production techniques, all the way to the cadences.

How do the members of the Bakers Club interact amongst themselves?
Everyone in the Bakers Club helps each other and pushes each other. Raz Fresco produced this entire album with me. We give each other pointers, lyrically and production wise. Every time anyone in the Club creates something, that propels the rest of us and pushes us to be better.

Talk about your relationship with New York tastemaker Jonny Shipes.
With Jonny Shipes, I reached out to him because I saw what he was doing with the Smoker’s Club cinematic shit and I wanted him to hear my music. One time I saw him post his email and I sent him stuff to get a response. He sent me back emails saying he liked my shit and that I had potential. A month or two after that, he gave me the opportunity to open for the Smoker’s Club tour with Smoke DZA, Mac Miler, Big KRIT, and Currensy. That was the moment everything clicked and I realized that I could do this shit for a living. I still remember the date. It was October 1, 2010.

Pro Era came after Bakers Club and was impacted heavily by Shipes’ influence, right?
I feel like we have a lot in common but I wouldn’t say Pro Era are swagger jacking us, but there are some similarities between our crews. I’ll leave it at that.

Who would be your ideal collaboration?
For someone to hit me up and ask me to hop on their song it would have to be Big Boi. His flows are imppecable. When it comes to me trying to conjure up cadences, Big Boi is one of my biggest influences outside of MC Eiht.

If I could create any song I wanted with anyone I wanted on it, it would be a track with all the members of Bakers Club, K-Os, Saukrates, and Drake.

People have this notion that creating music in Canada is easier because of government grants. Do you think that government funding has any impact on the art created?
I’ll put it this way. If you rely on a grant to make music that’s cool, but when you struggle to create your art, that makes it more authentic to me. A bunch of my homies have home studios and we rent studios sometimes and most of the videos we shoot don’t have a budget. But that makes the finished product better to me.

So what’s your end goal? To be as popular as you can independently or to sign with a major?
There are so many different avenues I can use to reach my destination, but right now I don’t know whether I want to stay independent or go mainstream and become a label rapper. People stop me on the street all the time to say they like my music. One time, some random dude tried to freestyle battle me and we ended up starting a little cypher outside of McDonalds. So I know I have the buzz to be popular locally, but I want more than that.

Do you think it’s possible to find success if you just stay local for long enough?
It’s possible to find some success here. Toronto can be your homebase, but you can’t become popular nationally by becoming popular just locally, like you might be able to in Atlanta or Chicago. My mom was born in Jamaica and moved here. In fact, my mom was going to live in Flatbush, Brooklyn with my dad, but she changed her mind and came to live over here. It’s crazy to think how different things might have been if New York was my home instead of Toronto.

Why do people from the US not look at us like a major hub of talent?
As silly as it sounds, it’s because we’re Canadian and people just don’t take us seriously.

Drake and Basketball: When Rap Stars Meet Raptors

Also on Noisey

Drake is often described as Canada’s best rapper, mostly because we only have a half a handful—and the Toronto Raptors are often described as Canada’s Basketball Team, mostly because we only have the one. Ever since Memphis uprooted the Vancouver Grizzlies in 2001 and shared part of the ownership with Justin fucking Timberlake instead of say, Juicy J, Canada has had no choice but to root for a team based in Toronto—the least Canadian part of Canada (except for that weird French part). This is problematic for many reasons: the team is never very good, the jerseys have always been kind of ugly, we keep losing our best players to the States, our team name was chosen by a poll and was directly influenced by the success of Jurassic Park in spite of the fact that Velociraptors existed during the Cretaceous period, there were never any dinosaurs in Southern Ontario due to the fact that it was almost always covered in ice, and so on. But last week, it was announced that all of our problems would soon be pacified thanks to the Beige Gawd extending his charity towards our humble dino-squad. That’s right, Drake is now part of the franchise as a “host, business partner, and consultant” for the Toronto Raptors!

Toronto has a surprisingly storied franchise as a basketball association. The first ever basketball game was played between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers on November 1st, 1946. And although we lost that game and wouldn’t receive an official NBA team until almost 50 years later, the fact that we can lay claim to such an important part of the sport’s history shouldn’t be overlooked. Similarly, after not having a rap artist that’s insanely popular in a field that’s traditionally been dominated by New Yorkers, we are now gifted with Aubrey “Drake” Graham. It’s an overall positive that any Canadian artist is taking an invested interest in their hometeam and if Drake didn’t return the call, Nickleback or the Barenaked Ladies were likely next on the list.

But with the bond between hip-hop and NBA stronger than ever, it’s interesting to imagine what Drake could have in store for the Raptors. This is more than just Aubrey taking a percentage of the ownership team like Usher has done in Cleveland or Justin in Memphis but it’s also not a complete overhaul ala Jay Z and the Nets. According to sources within the Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment organization “everything about the team is on the table … aside from the name”. This leaves me wondering what exactly Champagne Papi could do to infuse the Toronto Raptors with his own personal brand. Here are the five that I came up with:


The Canada Goose brand specializes in creating very expensive thermal gear that’s exclusive to the Great White North. Drake has had a personal relationship with the brand ever since he helped them create an all-black version that retailed for a thousand Canadian dollars. Therefore, it would stand to reason that Drake would continue to build on this relationship and create a thermal, goose-down alternate jersey for the team to wear on the court. Would it be sweaty? Yes, but the added padding would encourage players to ball extra-aggressively instead of passive aggressively. Also, if Drake wants the Raptors to continue being the most Canadian team in the world, he should encourage them to start playing more games outdoors, preferably in the winter. Good luck to opposing teams trying to hit a three while shivering in their non-goose-down jerseys.


Drake’s OVO imprint has been characterized by an owl on the pendants, sweaters, and tattoos of everyone who wants to be in Drake’s inner circle. Nobody is sure why the owl was adopted by Aubrey, but the main reasons are either rooted in Illuminati conspiracy or in the fact that an owl’s eyes and beak look like the letters “OvO”. Although Drake can’t replace the team name or logo, I don’t believe there’s anything in the NBA rulebooks that forbids you from having two mascots. The Toronto Raptor is a beloved character in the ACC, but introducing a plucky sidekick might help sell more tickets. The pairing just makes logical sense: Raptors are the smartest dinosaur, as evident by the fact that they could turn a door handle—and Owls are the smartest bird in the animal kingdom, which is why they’re always wearing graduation hats and asking probing questions. They could also possibly compromise by making an owl/raptor hybrid mascot, since there’s scientific proof of the fact that raptors evolved into birds. Maybe they evolved into eagles and not owls, but a mascot doesn’t have to be scientifically probable in order to work (looking at you, Golden State). If the city decides that two mascots might be too much for one team to handle, then perhaps we settle things by dedicating a half-time show to a fight to the death? We couldn’t use men in suits because then tampering becomes an issue, so you’d have to find an actual owl and an actual raptor to do combat. Whatever, Drake has the money.


The post-mortem love affair between Drake and Aaliyah is well-documented and well-criticized. Since Drake has done almost everything possible to convince us that he’s Aaliyah’s soulmate outside of beating up R. Kelly, it would stand to reason that he will abuse this new platform too. The Air Canada Center is known for keeping the energy high before and during the game with their resident DJ 4Korners, who plays high-tempo rap music throughout the night. But if Drake has his say, there’s a slight possibility that all of the music will be replaced with the sultry down-tempo music of Aaliyah. Hopefully, this causes the opposing teams to surrender before they even take the court. Just imagine hearing that silky voice during every possible scenario in which you need to stay combative. Getting ready in the locker room? One in a Million. Shooting warm-up jumpers? Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number. Down by two points with 20 seconds to play? We Need a Resolution. Even though all of these are great songs, they don’t make people want to do anything but dance around while wearing pajamas. Which, coincidentally, is why she’s Drake’s favorite artist of all time and ephemeral BFF4L&D.


Remember that time Drake installed an experience shower in his condo so that he could blast his naked body with various scents? Of course you do. Now that he has the power, Drake can pump whatever scent he chooses into the vents of the stadium and ensure that everyone is town meets Drake’s rhinal standards – which are ridiculously high due to his fragrance sensitivity. Rumor has it that he didn’t even want GQ to run his story unless they could promise him that there wouldn’t be any cologne samples included within five pages of his piece.


You know how you can buy overpriced beer and warm foods to help you cope with the fact that your team is down by 20 points? Under Drake’s rule, those options would be reduced to one: mini-hookahs. Now you can relieve your stress by inhaling warm, fruit flavored smoke. A few bylaws would have to be corrected in order to allow for smoking indoors, but if anyone approves of smoking anything, anywhere, it’s our current mayor. And don’t worry about the price! Your personal hookah won’t run you more than the current cost of a beer and a poutine, and since sharing is encouraged you can go dutch!

These are all just ideas, but they’re also just the tip of the iceberg known as the Drakeover. He could also spike the team’s Gatorade with codeine in order to assure that we remain in the bottom of the standings (started.), install stripper poles in the VIP sections, or put Chubbs on the roster an assure him 6 minutes of garbage time every game. The city of Toronto loves supporting things that they can take even the slightest amount of pride in, regardless of the level of success that that thing is currently achieving. For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup in 1967 and they’ve sold out every single home game since. The Toronto Blue Jays won a World Series in the early 90s and are still viewed as one of the strongest teams in the league, suffering from the worst division placement ever (the Yankees AND the Red Sox? Come on…) Similarly, Drake could put out nothing but showtunes for the rest of his life and the city would still ride for him. Remember when Matt Devlin, a Raptor’s announcer, said that “Wall-Eh” was “no Drake” during a live broadcast in Washington? This was coming from a fifty-something white dude who had probably never even heard “Lord Knows.”

Making Sense of Justin Bieber’s Journal Entries

Also on Noisey

Justin Bieber is the closest thing we have to a thoroughbred popstar in 2013. He possesses the precise combination of charisma, self-destruction and talent needed in order to excel as a young adult in the music business, leaving behind his wanton days of YouTube fame and hair-flipping.

Most recently he’s been spotted in the bed of a curvy South American prostitute, fulfilling the dream of every 19-year-old boy who just discovered his favorite PornHub channel. He’s also managed to build a streak of hate that stretches across the world due to his questionable actions.

All of his recent actions can’t be easily dismissed by a simple excuse: He disrespected the first black president of the United States Bill Clinton, he proclaimed that Anne Frank would be DTF if she was a young girl today, he refused to soil his new shoes by walking the Great Wall of China, and he used an Argentinean flag as a mop during his live show. But almost all of Justin’s actions are rooted in his youthful ignorance.

It’s worth remembering that Justin Bieber is from Stratford, Ontario, a town previously most famous for hosting an annual festival in honor of Shakespeare. But let’s be honest—Justin hasn’t known anything but the music industry since Scooter Braun kidnapped him at 14.

He’s never attended a single day of high school. How do you expect him to know who Anne Frank is if he never sat through History class? Or that national flags should only be used to clean up dry spills—a topic that all Canadian students discuss thoroughly in Grade 11 Civics. Justin’s personality is only strange when we compare him to “normal” teens, but being normal means you can’t be the most popular in the world for the last three years.

Here’s some perspective: Usher came out with My Way when he was 19, which is Justin’s current age. Justin has already released three studio albums (more if you count the acoustic accompaniments), a movie and three diferent perfumes in his already five year long campaign. His last album Believe contains glorious pop hits, infused with flavors from traditional R&B to Motown oldies. Besides the fact that it was musically one of his best albums, Believe also sold the worst, racking up only 1.5 million sales to date—which is a lot in this climate, but consider that his first album has sold 5 million and the Christmas album he released six months before Believe has sold over 2 million).

Some pointed to the fact that Believe leans too close to the “urban” side of things and that Justin abandoned the pop formula that made him famous. When “Baby” dropped featuring a neutered Ludacris spitting a lukewarm 16, it felt like a legitimate co-sign. That feeling didn’t translate to the Big Sean, Drake and Nicki Minaj cameos on Believe since Bieber is arguably bigger than those artists. But Believe is an important stepping stone in the life of Justin Bieber. If you want to have career longevity, it can’t be as a pop star. The very definition of pop music is that it’s ephemeral, changing with the times to reflect what society values the most. The only way for Bieber to stay relevant was to crossover, and Believe was the first dribble.

For his fourth studio album, Justin is taking a page from Kanye’s GOOD Friday book and releasing a song from the untitled project every Monday. Based on what we’ve heard for the last six weeks, the new album will be the second coming of Confessions. Granted, there probably won’t be tales of an unwanted pregnancy and a scorned girlfriend since a 19 year old can’t tell you shit about love and loss, but that doesn’t make these singles any less amazing.

Let’s look at all of them in depth, analyzing them according to the cover art, production and songwriting. I was originally going to include originality as a metric, but that’s a useless measure when discussing the human conduit known as Justin Bieber.


Cover Art: 3/5

Awe, it’s like a wilted heart! WHO DID THIS TO YOU JUSTIN, I’LL KILL THEM!

Production: 2/5

Plucky guitar and snares start the song, but that shifts to dark, ominous drums about halfway through the song. It’s an R&B beat with one foot in pop tropes.

Songwriting: 2/5

This song is all about Justin calling a girl to come over for a secret bootycall and then getting mad at her afterwards for saying he broke her heart. But then during the talk-rap portion of the song that’s lifted directly from “Confessions Pt. 2,” Justin says that he still loves her and that there are four seasons in the year or some shit. Stop leading me on, Justin.

“All That Matters”

Cover Art: 1/5

You know when you decide to make a logo for yourself, so you just connect the first and last letters of your name in an intricate fashion? That’s what Justin appears to have done with “ATM” here but it just fills me with disgust and confusion.

Production: 4/5

Acoustic guitar with trap drums? Yes please.

Songwriting: 3/5

Justin has dedicated this song to his supposed better half, using romantic imagery such as comparing himself to a car with no gas when she’s not around—no drive. However, he also mentions that this female only appears at night, meaning that this whole song is either some complicated metaphor for a dream girl, or another ode to late-night bootycalls.

“Hold Tight”

Cover Art: 3/5

A preemptive pause to help those enjoying this song justify their actions to themselves.

Production: 5/5

This is moisture music. The air gets damp like a fucking rain forest the second you press play. Put all of your electronic devices in a bag of rice before you decide to listen to this.

Songwriting: 3/5

Justin Bieber painfully wants to be a bad boy, making this song about lips that hold on tight—presumably to his Stratford Beacon. Unfortunately he’s still obviously a 19-year-old boy in many ways, as evident by the groan-worthy inclusion of lyrics like “wrapped around my arm like a wristwatch”. Granted, there’s a good chance that Justin didn’t write any of the songs on this album, but until we can assign the blame squarely to Terius or some faceless ghostwriter, this is Justin’s burden to bare.


Cover Art: 4/5

Extra points for jacking 2010 Eminem’s swag and just making it purple.

Production: 6/5

True story: I saw doves fly past my window and copulate when I first heard this song. A Craig David flip insinuates that whoever made this beat is a huge Ryan Hemsworth fan, making this song a pinnacle of East-meets-slightly-more-East Canadian greatness.

Songwriting: 5/5

Justin’s very apologetic in this song, coping with the struggles of keeping a relationship afloat without any previous experience. He speaks candidly about making mistakes and causing problems without truly implicating himself in any wrongdoing. Just like a real Canadian!

“Bad Day”

Cover Art: 5/5

This art looks like his team spent more than five minutes just looking at the keyboard for infrequently used symbols, so points for that.

Production: 2/5

Acoustic guitars and simple drums and snares? Meh. There’s some background singers on the tail end of this too, leading me to assume that Boyz II Men are still hanging around Bieber trying to get another co-sign.

Songwriting: 4/5

This song is about being broken up with, probably as a result of all the fuckery Justin described in the last two songs.

“All Bad”

Cover Art: .5/5

Are you fucking kidding me?

Production: 4/5

Heavy drums over some ethereal production, allowing Justin to sweep up the XO supporters that have gone straight-edge since someone slipped something into their drink at the last basement party they attended.

Songwriting: 4/5

Now Justin is begging for the girl that left him to come back because, in the grand scheme of things, he’s not THAT bad, girl. Don’t listen to the haters, they just wanna be you, girl. But girl, even if I make you mad and you leave, don’t worry, because I still have the number of that bootycall and it’s starting to get dark outside.

Bonus: “Tulips” f/ R. Kelly (Prediction)

Cover Art: 5/5

A purple tulip, parted in a way that implies the flower is a metaphor for something else that’s also commonly referred to as a flower.

Production: 4/5

An acoustic rendition of a DJ Mustard beat.

Songwriting: 5/5

The song starts off with Justin talking about “two lips” with some thinly veiled sex metaphors. The mood of the song decidedly switches when R.Kelly joins in, vividly describing the various ways that he will beat that pussy up. I’d have to do some research, but I’m pretty sure this is the first R&B song to ever mention double penetration.

The Most Canadian Things on Nothing Was The Same

Also on Noisey

If the chorus of cherubs in the sky and the gentle plucking coming from the harps of golden-hearted strippers are any indication, Drake’s latest album has been released. In case you weren’t aware Drake is from Toronto, at least according to his birth certificate. However, he’s been cheerleading for states south of the border in the hopes of attracting fans since he released So Far Gone. They say that the more nothing changes, the more Nothing Was The Same, and on his newest album Aubrey can be heard shouting out Atlanta, Memphis, Houston, Las Vegas and Miami among others. However, the realization that Drake is in fact a Canadian, as well as a Torontonian, manages to poke through from time to time on NWTS in between the saccharine melodies and fetishisation of 90s culture. Some of the album’s references, outro speeches and song titles could be difficult to understand for those of you who weren’t blessed with having a Prime Minister, which is why we’ve chosen to help you eh-nderstand with “Nothing Was The Same’s Guide to the Greater Toronto Area”. In keeping with the Canadian traditions of yesteryear, we’ve also included a haiku review for each song, which is best interpreted when huddled around an open fire in a drum circle while draped in beaver pelt.


We keep it thorough, nigga, rap like this for all of my borough niggas

Toronto doesn’t have boroughs like New York or Minneapolis. We call them “municipalities” in order to improve our reading comprehension (see also: provinces & territories instead of states). The only borough would be the Scarborough, which Drake champions heavily in this album. It’s not a “hood” in the American sense of the word, but it does have a history of violence and a surplus of ethnicities that make other Torontonians refer to it as such.

Owl chains like credentials, you know you see the necklace

Rumour has it that every major facility in the city has a back entrance that can only be opened with an owl shaped key. It also allows you to upsize your fries at Harveys with every order, free of charge.

This for shorty up on Glengrove who love when I catch my tempo

Glengrove Suites are a collection of properties available for short and long term lease across the city. They are more upscale than most apartments, but not upscale enough for Drake to come inside without putting on those little fabric shoe covers first.

Whitney soul sample
lays foundation for bragging
and film references


Mobbin’ on the low
Fuckin’ on the low
Smokin’ on the low

Drake admires the mayor’s ability to smoke crack and stay in office, so he wrote this chorus with Rob as his muse.

Gettin’ high at the condo, that’s when it all comes together

People in Toronto love condos. Partly because it rhymes, and mostly because it allows you to live in your preferred area without having to rely on a shitty subway infrastructure. In fact, there are currently 251 new condos being build in the city right now in addition to the hundreds upon hundreds that have already been developed. Look up, and you might see Drake sniffing glue through the window!

Apologies for
acting out through staying in.
Celebrate the creep


Workin’ all night, traffic on the way home

If Drake was listening to 680 News on the radio, he would’ve received up-to-the-minute traffic reports and acted accordingly.

Say I never struggled, wasn’t hungry, yeah, I doubt it

When Drake was asked about his upbringing in the GQ interview, he silenced all the rumours about his upper-middle-class background by insisting that he was simply middle-class. Yeah, he lived in an expensive neighbourhood, but it was in the most inconspicuous area of that neighborhood and his family only lived in half a duplex (so, a house). Yeah, he was a child star on television, but shooting scenes all day is hard work and since it was a Canadian TV show he wasn’t even that famous.

Album outlier
created to convince us
Drake is underdog


Stadium packed, just glad to see the city on the map

Although Drake does in fact pack stadiums and has made Toronto a more recognized community worldwide he has never packed, let alone performed, at the biggest stadium in his hometown: The Rogers Centre. He did, however, shoot the “Headlines” video there, but it was empty at the time.

I just gave the city life, it ain’t about who did it first
It’s ’bout who did it right, niggas lookin’ like “Preach”

Maestro Fresh Wes and Kardinal Offishall were both the original trailblazers of Toronto, but since they didn’t whore themselves out to the US by establishing a foothold in specific markets they didn’t do it “right”.

I find peace knowin’ that it’s harder in the streets, I know
Luckily I didn’t have to grow there I would only go there cause niggas that I know there

Most of Drake’s current circle of goons grew up in Scarborough. Specifically in Parma Court, located in the western-most region of the eastern-Toronto municipality. It’s also home to a very strong current rap scene which includes Roney.

People like Mazin who was a best friend to me
Start to become a distant memory

Mazin was the other “ethnic” character on Degrassi who would go on to star in the Disney movie Jump In! He’ll probably be receiving more roles after Hollywood hears this album and decides to mold him into a big-screen Beanie Siegel.

The first draft of this
was just Aubrey going “wooo”
for seven minutes


Broken telephone for every single conversation
By the time it gets to you, shit switches these days

The telecommunication industry in Toronto is a virtual monopoly, leaving you with a simple choice of bad or worse. Service is spotty, calls are dropped, and you inevitably have to switch carriers every few years. Alternatively, Drake is talking about that game you played in elementary school.

A song so horrid,
credits should be checked to see
if Wale wrote it


Please note the extra “u”. It’s there for a reason, and that’s because we still fall under the rule of the Queen and write in her English from time to time. This includes the occasional placement of a “u”, the switching or “r” and “e” on words where it’s the suffix (centre), and replacing the “z” (which we pronounce zed) with an “s” on words like “visualisation”

This ain’t the son you raised who used to take the Acura
5 a.m. then go and shoot Degrassi up on Morningside

Morningside is a neighbourhood inside of Scarborough, and Degrassi was partly shot at the Centennial College there. It’s also known as “Seven Oaks” and is bordered by a country club, so the danger speaks for itself.

Yeah, back and forth across the border line
Hate to leave the city, but I’ve got to do the overtime

Even though Toronto has a larger population than Chicago, it’s difficult for an artist to organically “come up” here. This is due in part to a heavy immigrant population that isn’t forced to assimilate and therefore retains their traditions and culture. As much as Drake’s pandering to our Southern brothers may seem vapid, it’s a necessary evil if your aim is to become the world’s biggest rap star.

When you want career
longevity, emulate
your pastor’s advice


My mother is 66 and her favorite line to hit me with is
Who the fuck wants to be 70 and alone?

This question is regularly answered at Crocodile Rock, a popular downtown nightclub that services older women looking to get their coug’ on.

“Been Baka aka Not Nice from time, G. Been a East Side ting. Scarborough ting from time, G, been have up di ting dem from time, G. So I don’t know what’s wrong with these little wastemen out here eh? Y’all need to know yourself.”

If NWTS does nothing else in this world, it will give people a chance to hear how people from Scarborough really talk. This speech comes courtesy of @BakaAKAnotnice and what you’re hearing isn’t played up or exaggerated in the slightest. It’s a mix of West Indian dialects and while it may sound grating, it’s down right nauseating when you hear it spoken by a white-bread bro trying to sound menacing.

A flashback journey
through lovers, presented by
Drake featuring Drake


Just hold on we’re going home

Not many people know this, but this is the most popular line spoken to a nine-year old who has had it with the rides at Canada’s Wonderland.

A ballad so sweet,
you can’t help but hate yourself
for loving it so.


The song opens with the distant sound of a highlight play from either the 1992 or 1993 Toronto Blue Jay’s World Series win. Although Drake would’ve only been 6 or 7 at the time and unable to vividly remember the only Toronto sports team to ever win anything outside the 60′s, it’s the only memory that Toronto sports fans can recall that doesn’t force them to sigh heavily and shake their head.

Same city, same friends if you’re looking
I’ll be here just swanging

Toronto prides itself in providing a plethora of public parks for children to play in. Popular attractions include jungle gyms, a large plastic tube, and swings.

I take Eglinton to 401 east
And exit at Markham road in the east end
Where all the pretty girls are sleeping

As cool as it is to have specific parts of your city shouted out on a global pop record, it would be cooler if the area in question wasn’t simply filled with big-box stores and parking lots. Also, the girls who I personally know living in that area would never be described as pretty by anyone other than their fathers and are the type of girls on Twitter who add “DaReal” in fron of their names because they think someone wants to assume their identity for some reason.

Exhibit Z as
to why Drake would make a bad
golfing instructor


Get what I can out the country
And then I just get on the jet and go back to the cold

Yeah, it’s cold in Toronto. Actually, our climate is damn near on-par with New York city but whatever, as far as stereotypes go it could be worse.

Flaunting your self-worth
won’t endear you to your peers,
although Birdman will.


Ooo, 305 to my city
I get it, I get it

I like to imagine this song is about Chris Bosh having to travel to Toronto for an away-game, stepping out onto the court to hear the taunts from the crowd, and having a moment of deep self-realization.

281 to my city, heard you had trouble at customs
Your girl got a DUI, I’ll make the calls to get y’all through customs

Canada customs does not fuck around. It’s hard enough to make it through if you have a criminal record and an expensive attorney who’s willing to help you throw money at the problem (see: Danny Brown’s never coming to Canada), but it must be damn near impossible if you’re a simple stripper. Unless of course you know Drake. Speaking of which, why can’t Drake just do us a solid and smuggle Danny in?

A song best enjoyed
while you’re bathed in blacklight and
a nagging regret


Stuck in the house, need to get out more

When it does snow, it snows hard. Sometimes to the point where you’re unable to step out the front door because the snow has managed to create another colder and whiter front door in front of your existing one.

An exceptional
melody that survives the
potluck reference


After hours at Il Mulino Or Sotto Sotto, just talking women and vino

I thought these were some expensive-ass restaurants located off the coast of Capri or some shit but they’re actually both overpriced local spots. I’m going to take my $10,000 that Noisey pays me for this article and go visit both of them next weekend and pay the waiters to only address me as Aubrey Graham Esq. for the entirety of my meal.

My classmates, they went on to be chartered accountants
Or work with their parents, but thinking back on how they treated me
My high school reunion might be worth an appearance

A chartered accountant is the Canadian version of a certified public accountant; working with your parents is the Canadian version of having a career; a high school is the Canadian version of a pit of despair.

Two lukewarm rap songs
form at the spine to create
an “on-paper” jam


I don’t have anything for this one, but wouldn’t it be great if people became convinced that this is how Canadians spell “through”, similar to how we fuck around with the spelling of “Behaviour”?

The breezy type song
that would best serve summer if
things were still the same.