Drake lands a cover on Billboard magazine as “the new face of Hip-Hop” and shows no signs of slowing down. Currently on tour, Billboard catches up with Drake on one of those nights during the tour in the cover story of this issue: Check out an excerpt for this story below:
On a clammy Saturday afternoon in May, thousands of nose-ringed, suburban teens are crammed into the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., to catch their favorite emo, dance, punk and emo-dance-punk acts at the two-day Bamboozle Festival. While middle-aged chaperones waited patiently in the “parents” tent, barely clothed diehards bounced from stage to stage, panting at the sight of Ke$ha, Matt & Kim, MGMT, OK Go and headliners Weezer and Paramore, among others.
But one of the night’s unexpectedly large turnouts was for 23-year-old hip-hop sensation Drake, whose highly anticipated debut album, “Thank Me Later,” will be released June 15 on Aspire/Young Money/Cash Money with distribution through Universal Motown.
Backed by a five-piece band and DJ, and dressed in all black, Drake took the stage a little before 9 p.m.-20 minutes late due to a bad case of allergies-and commanded the attention of even those tailgating in the parking lot.
It was Drake’s mentor and label head, Lil Wayne, who encouraged him to perform at diverse and ambitious events like Bamboozle. “When I do House of Blues in Chicago or L.A., they scream,” Drake says. “But when you do these festivals, they’ll stand there and stare at you and judge you. But there’s a part of them that’s listening.”
Born Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto, Drake got his showbiz start playing Jimmy Brooks, the wheelchair-bound former basketball player on the Canadian teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Just a few mixtapes and an EP later, Drizzy, as he’s known, has emerged as the most revered new MC in years. As hip-hop continues to drift further away from rap’s basic elements and seeks to re-energize and expand its fan base with a new, hybrid sound that blends rap, R&B, dance, even alt-rock-witness the success of B.o.B, Kid Cudi and progenitors Kanye West and OutKast-this half-singing, half-rapping, half-Jewish, half-black former actor and current heartthrob is helping change the face of the genre firsthand.
Read the full story at ATF.
Terrell Johnson is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of SWGRUS.