How to Drake It in America

In one song off the new album, Drake delves into the pain of his parents’  split, but as always for Drake, it’s raw material—powerful, personal, and  cautionary—reshaped as art. And it’s what makes Drake Drake: his  willingness to go there and say it out loud, and in that way possess it. If it’s  an impulse not wholly recognizable in rap, it suggests that perhaps Drake  belongs on a slightly different continuum, one belonging, at least in spirit, to  confessional poets or expressionist painters or indie bands like the xx, a band  he loves. But, he says, his lodestar for the new work has been Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, the 1978 double-album confessional chronicling the  collapse of Gaye’s first marriage, described by one critic as “the sound of  divorce…exposed in all its tender-nerve glory.” 

“It’s so honest,” says Drake, who’s also been recording in Gaye’s old studio,  Marvin’s Room. “He just puts it all out there. 

“As for my whole story,” he says, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve told bits  and pieces of it—and I’ll tell more. Maybe because I had friends who grew up in  the hood, I could have acted like I had, too, and perpetrated a different  lifestyle, and it would be eating away at me because it wouldn’t be the truth.  I’m actually here in front of you living the truth. I wake up in the morning and  my heart is light, man. It’s not heavy. I don’t have skeletons in the closet on  their way out. This is my real age, my real name, my real past, and I’m good  with that.” 

As he speaks, he gesticulates as if onstage, then adds:

“No—I’m grateful for that.”

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