The summer’s nearly over. But rap wiz Drake is feeling the heat. The deadline to submit the final version of his sophomore album, Take Care, is one month out. To say the least, it’s crunch time. Though, it seems he’s comfy in the clutch.
While holed up in his “quaint” Toronto studio recently, Drake checked in with EW to give us a progress report on the album, due on his birthday, October 24. Creatively, he says he’s “at a great place” and has a tons a recorded material to select from.
In the EW story on stands now, he gave us five recording rules to live by. Here, though, we get into the rest of the conversation—one that includes, among other things, how Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album impacted his project, how his song with Stevie Wonder might make you shed a tear, and why you won’t hear him crying about his riches this go around.
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? READ FULL STORY