With a new album due this summer, Drake weighed in on music, money and last year's dust-up with Chris Brown in a cover-story interview for the July issue of GQ.
Reported in Los Angeles, where Drake is working on his third album with collaborator Noah '40' Shebib, the Canadian singer and rapper said he's drawing inspiration for the songs from Marvin Gaye's 1978 double album Here My Dear. Drake knows what he wants his new album to achieve: "I ain't gonna lie: I want to be the one you listen to this summer," he said, despite high-profile competition from the likes of Kanye West, who just released Yeezus; and Jay-Z, who has a new album on the way.
Drake has already booked a tour for this fall, and he said he's conscious even when he's writing them of how the songs will sound in concert. "Fifty bars of rap don't translate onstage," he said. "No matter how potent the music, you lose the crowd. They want a hook; they want to sing your stuff back to you. That's why on this album I've been trying to condense my thoughts to 16-bar verses. There's something to be said for spacing out the lines, to infiltrate people's minds."
The new album, Nothing Was the Same, will follow Drake's double-platinum 2011 release Take Care, which – like his 2010 debut Thank Me Later – reached Number One on the albums chart. The singer isn't coy about his desire to create hits, not least because they'll help him achieve his underlying goal: amassing considerable wealth. When Drake was 23, he vowed to make $25 million by the time he turned 25, and he did. Now 26, he seeks a net worth of $250 million by the time he turns 29, which he said will mean lining up investment interests.
"Rappers aren't the really rich ones. We all have nice houses with studios and cars, but you need a piece of someone's business to be super wealthy," Drake said.
Drake would prefer a summer focused on music after last year, when he was the subject of media attention after some kind of dispute between him and Brown erupted into a full-on brawl at a New York club. Though Drake didn't address what prompted the melee, in which neither performer was charged, he said the incident was regrettable.
"I don't want my name to be synonymous with that guy's name," Drake said. "I really don't. I wish we could sit down, just like you and me are right now, and talk it out man-to-man. But that's not going to happen. I'm not confrontational, but if someone challenges, I'm not going to back down."