Drake checked in with Entertainment Weekly to give them a report on having Stevie Wonder as a mentor, Take Care and more. Full Interview after the jump.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In what ways are you challenging yourself this album?
DRAKE: I push myself in a lot of aspects when I write a song. I write a piece and where most people would stop and say “Oh, that’s the hook right there,” I’ll move that to the first four bars of the verse and do a new hook. That makes the song easy to learn and catchy. That’s how I like to challenge myself. I’ll write something and everyone that’s around might be like “Oh that’s that hook right there.” And then I’ll write something better than that.
How many tracks are you shooting for here?
Obviously, I can only fit so many songs on a CD. So what I’m doing is there will be a Take Care physical edition in stores that’ll hopefully have 15 to 17 songs on it. Then I know a lot of people do deluxe editions. But since October 24 is a special day for me, I got, like, a Take Care birthday edition that I’m going to put on iTunes that will have extra songs. I really want to encourage people to be excited about the album releasing. I remember how excited a lot of artists used to make me. I used to want to buy the physical copy to see the artwork. And if there were any bonus tracks, I’d go find them. I’m definitely trying to cause some of that excitement. I hope people go get the songs off the birthday edition. It’s going to be great, man. I’ve got a wide array of music this time. I’m very excited.
Talk to me about your team. Who are the people who are helping guide you through the album?
There are about three or four major opinions that I respect. Obviously, the main one would be [engineer and producer] 40 (Noah Shebib). He’s worked with me every single night I’ve set foot in the studio since Comeback Season. He knows what I’m capable of and he’s not afraid to say “You can do that better” or “That’s it” or “I know you can write a better verse than that.” And Oliver El-Khatib, who has progressed from my friend who just used to advise me on how to dress to a guy who came up with the artwork for So Far Gone to, since he’s such a creative brain, that he’s become one of my managers. Then my DJ Future the Prince has a great ear for music. And probably the most important person in the equation is Hush, who is a friend of mine who grew up rapping in Toronto and he’s present every night. If anyone knows what I’m capable of, it’s Hush. We love rap the same way and we have the same exact ear. So I know he’s hearing what I’m hearing. I never take criticism personally from anyone. I love feedback, but especially when it comes to Hush. He understands rap probably better than anyone else I mentioned. And he’s a close friend of mine.
Rap has become like fast food. Fans want it quickly and a lot of it. It’s only been a year since Thank Me Later and your fans seem to be starving for Take Care. Do you think they’ve forgotten that artists need life experiences to craft their art?
Yeah! You’ve got to live, man. Exactly. I remember when artist used to take, like, four years to make an album. Usher used to disappear for three years. It took Justin Timberlake a really long time to craft Justified. Even Beyoncé’s albums are spanned three years apart. You’ve got to live, man. And now we’ve sort of birthed and encouraged this generation of instant gratification. Where it’s like “The Weeknd’s about to release his new mixtape on Twitter and I can get it right away with the click of a button.” He just released House of Balloons a couple of months ago and they’re already like, “We need new s—! You’re taking too long.” It’s crazy, man.
I really hope that there’s people who sit with the music and drive to it and just really soak it in—not just run back to the computer and demand more. It’s important for our generation to know that it’s okay to take some time. It’s okay if an album takes a year or two to make. That just means it’s probably going to be better than if they took two months and released it.
That’s why I felt like with the Thank Me Later process I was almost trying to create some stories for myself to rap about because everything was going so fast. I was in such demand at the time that I was almost disconnecting with what was going on around me. It was kind of hard to tap into the psyche of myself. I could still make great songs. But it was hard to give people a huge part of Aubrey at that time. I didn’t have that much going on other than work. For this album I spent a lot of time in Toronto. I’ve been here for the longest time since my career started. I’ve been here for like four months now, just seeing people I know, seeing my family, seeing friends, going out, driving in the city again. It’s incredible. I think words are something I’m eager for people to hear. That’s why I’m not doing any listening sessions. I really don’t want your first impression to be from some—and no offense to you obviously—from some writer that sees it through one set of eyes and ears and then the whole world goes and forms an opinion based off that article. I want people to get it all on the same day. Even if it leaks, I want people to hear it together, as opposed to reading an in depth article about every song. I don’t people to know what to expect. There’s a lot of shocking sonic music on this album.
What do you think of how Jay-Z and Kanye West released Watch the Throne? They did a couple of exclusive sessions. I went to the first one. And they kept the album from leaking by going straight to iTunes.
With Jay and with Watch the Throne, I’m so glad that it came out. As artists, we all need extra motivation. And I feel like in these last 30 days, that album is going to make me go 10 times harder from just, you know, hearing all the bars and all the sounds.