But with cheeky Toronto references peppered throughout his platinum albums, Drake has ascended the throne as the superstar/hometown boy of our dreams.
Hosted by comedian Lauren Mitchell and music writer Rawiya Kameir, each episode takes a tangential look at the world of Drake, from his Degrassi days to now. The Star spoke to Mitchell and Kameir about why Drake is such a Toronto touchstone.
Lauren Mitchell: Why do people not love Drake as much as I do? is the real question I think. I’ve loved Drake for a long time. I was in high school when his era of Degrassi was happening . . . when he came out as a rapper it seemed sort of crazy, but I actually just really loved his music. So I’ve been into Drake for a really long time.
Q. What in your background makes you qualified to comment on his Drakeness?
Kameir: It helps that I’m in Toronto, but I am a music writer (for sites like the Fader, the Daily Beast and Pitchfork). The thing with the Internet though is I don’t think it takes much to be qualified other than just paying attention.
What Rawiya and I do is we sit and talk about Drake as if it wasn’t being recorded. That’s just how we talk about rap music, how we talk about him, how we talk about pop culture. Plenty of people have podcasts about stuff they’re not qualified to talk about, why not us?
Q. Are you worried about running out of material?
Kameir: Not at all. One of the reasons he’s so interesting to talk about is he’s a great starting point for a lot of conversations, so even though the podcast is Drake-themed, a lot of what we could end up talking about is not specifically about Drake. We talked about racism, and we also intend to talk about our vision of Toronto, and things like public transit.
Mitchell: The thing about Drake is that, and Rawiya has said this, but everything he touches turns to meat. Everything he does becomes news. Even the simplest things, like going on vacation with someone who might possibly be his girlfriend, that becomes a news story.
Kameir: He’s just released a new album and he’s on tour, so we’ll probably continue to talk about that news-worthy stuff. But I guess it depends on what he’s up to in the few days surrounding our recording. He was just in Dubai and he posted a bunch of really great pictures where he was hanging out with some animals, feeding a lion or something. I’m sure we can come up with some jokes around that.
Mitchell: To be honest, at this point we’re on a very case-by-case basis type of situation. Once a month Rawiya and I make a point to sit in a room together and talk about Drake in front of a microphone . . . We really don’t plan it at all. We send each other links to Drake stuff throughout the month just because it’s stuff that’s interesting to us, or we think it’s funny. But what we do is very off-the-cuff.
If you’re from Toronto, and you start talking about Drake, that person probably has a funny Drake story . . . so I think part of it is we’ll eventually want to have a segment where people come on and tell us their funny Drake stories, or Drake-related stories.
Q. If any one Drake lyric described your life, what would it be?
“I’m having spaghetti bolognese at the polo lounge.” I’m not huge on carbs, I just thought it was a funny lyric. It’s an inspirational lyric for me, I guess.
Mitchell: I’ve always loved “Sweatpants, hair-tied, chillin’ with no makeup on. / That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong.”
Q. What is the end goal of this podcast?
Kameir: We had a couple opportunities where we could have attached ourselves to a couple publications and been paid for it. But we really just wanted to do it for fun. There’s a Drake lyric that goes “Just keep doing it until it’s not fun anymore” so I think that’s really what it is for us.
Mitchell: I don’t know if we have an end goal, we just want to be a part of the media narrative around Drake. I mean, maybe the end goal is I get to meet Drake. If that was to happen, I would probably die of happiness, just so we’re clear.
Q. What is the most “Toronto” Drake song?
Kameir: I would say Know Yourself, that’s a very Toronto song. I think he’s getting increasingly Toronto, this last album that he put out has a lot of references to Toronto and it sounds like the cold, it sounds like winter. The whole thing is pretty Toronto.
Mitchell: Maybe recently, “Know Yourself.” But also Starting from the Bottom is a pretty good Toronto-y Drake song. He does such a good job of just dropping little references to Toronto in songs.
Q. What part of Toronto is the most “Drake”?
Mitchell: Maybe it’s Forest Hill, because that’s where he’s from, that’s where he spent most of his time growing up. But it also might on some level be Scarborough. Really probably, it’s like Yorkville, the places where he can afford to be in and the rest of us can’t.
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.