Look for this article in PAPER’s Summer 2010 music issue on newsstands June 21.
It may sound cliché, but Drake remembers October 31, 2009, like it was yesterday.
That was the night Drake knew his transformation from Aubrey Drake Graham — star of teen soap opera Degrassi: The Next Generation — to famous rapper had begun. That was the night Jay-Z performed in his hometown.
“Jay-Z coming to Toronto meant every single person was going to be there, which meant the majority of the people in my life were there,” the 23-year-old rapper recalls. “And there was a big rumor around the city: Is Drake close enough to Jay where he would bring me out? And people were like, ‘No, it would never happen.’”
Well, it did happen. Not only did Jay-Z bring Drake out to perform on stage with him, he let a still-fringe artist perform one of his own songs, “Successful,” in its entirety. “I’ll never forget that. I must have looked in the eyes of 40 people I know in the first 20 rows,” Drake says, sounding still somewhat shocked. “There were ex-girlfriends, guys who hated me, people who loved me, my mother — and it was just like, ‘This is it.’” Like most other testaments to Drake’s success, there’s a video on the Internet to prove the moment actually happened.
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