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In Support Of DRAKE

In Support Of DRAKE

Photo above: Drake performing on July 16, 2010 at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest. Photo courtesy of Brennan Schnell.

By Kirk Moss
Pride Guest Writer

In a peculiar written article, somewhat poking fun and mocking Drake’s attentiveness to the region of Scarborough in NOW Magazines’ Feb 19-25-2015 “Drake’s Scarborough Love Catching Some Heat” {it’s recommended one reads this article online prior to reading below to acquire a full context of this response/editorial} there really needs to be some ‘clearing of the air’ on the subject of Drake overall, and the debauchery bordering slander expressed by the author, and which seemingly reflects a slight tone of under-appreciation on  the part of some ignorant, yet stubbornly-opinionated Torontonians, and for way too long these lingering sentiments of disdain towards Drake, a young, successful, black, male, have gone unchallenged. Until NOW!

Drake is a cultural, musical, Canadian and International Icon, just in case anyone forgot.  He’s worked impressively hard to earn the attention of the globe, and he constantly demonstrates the utmost pride for being a Torontonian. The insightful, yet grounded artist is paving the way for others yet to blossom on the musical scene to dream gigantically, especially those in Scarborough, where I grew up and continue to pass-through, visit, work, and hail friends every “minute” I get.

Drizzy, who’s body of work immaculately speaks for itself, his efforts in bringing iconic acts (entertainers, sports athletes and celebrities) to our city every summer for OVO Fest, and his ability to craft mind bending rhymes, thought-provoking musical gems, emotionally-stirring lyrical lines, is “the furthest thing from perfect, like everyone” else, and does not pretend to be a saint or a person without flaws or mistakes, neither is he short on praises. However, speaking more directly and importantly of Scarborough, as mentioned on his last album “Nothing Was The Same”, in the words of collaborator Mr. “Not Nice” and, reminding those who claim to forget, “it’s been an East Side ting from time”, meaning or to translate this Scarborough-accented line; ever since or over a lengthy period of time. We’re left to speculate, reading between his musical lines, that perhaps it was during or prior to the Degrassi days, Drake fell in love with Scarborough and maintains a particular interest through friends and associates, shifting the old Acura through 401 traffic, exiting at Markham Road and, avoiding any envious-shadows lurking, “creeping” he states, after dark.

He makes no claims to one area of the T. Dot, but the “bredrin” obviously recognizes the importance of “bigging up” one of the most talented, dynamic, culturally-rich aspects and regions of our City; Scarborough. Perhaps the man who is “So Far Gone” is trying to point our attention to a place long neglected and socio-politically-starved, now witnessing its own Resurrection, Renaissance and Artistic Revitalization in the most meaningful way possible and, in an era where hollow trash talking of subways brings continuous babble and empty promises; Drake, modestly, steps up to push forward the momentum of an Artistic Blaze of Talent scorching the blocks, projects, malls, strip-plaza, schools, studios, libraries, recreation-centres and parks across Scarborough, and hallelujah, someone in their right mind, who feels it, experienced it, sees it, and wants to empower its essence, knowing fully well this burning artistic flame has been “on the come up”  for decades, is finally giving it rightful, eastern-shine.

The time has come, and is long overdue, for us Torontonians to show the care, respect and admiration for our Toronto hip hop artistic and musical geniuses before they can no longer make our “back bones slide”. Why do some of us, a thorn-in-the-side minority of Torontonians, continue to unconstructively and rather destructively ignore, reject and unduly criticize and tear-down our own Toronto superstars? The question is a rhetorical one; requiring a simple head-scratch, next topic, keep it moving, and what’s new, in the conversation, to silence irrelevant and unnecessary babble or “Much Ado About Nothing, ”(1598-1599) and by the time the sunsets in Rexdale you’ll be left wondering “Who’s On First” (1930’s) like Abbott and Costello whose argument went unfinished even to this day (a ‘depressing’ conversation to say the least, pun intended). You get the point! Less we forget, and to forever erase any doubtful misconception, Drake, who once dwelled in a basement apartment of all places within the vicinity of Forrest Hill, not a mansion, being raised by a single-mom tirelessly trying to make ends meet, elevated into musical stardom at lightning speed, and ever since “Nothing” has been the same for our City and place/stake in Pop Culture.

Even the Raptors have adopted his winning attitude and ‘successful’ mentality, and he enticed a golden European soccer star to cross the Atlantic Pond and join Toronto FC which became a “Bloody Big Deal”; just ask BMO. Considering, next to possibly only little Mr. Justin Beiber, Drake is arguably the wealthiest Canadian under 30 years old; for certain he’s the richest young black person ever in our nation’s history, period! NOW classify that in your Black-Canadian History Archives, and don’t forget what Mr. Smalls, a bad boy of his own notorious-times, once said about being young, black, male and wealthy. Forget “Shoppin Bag Drizzy’s” predictions of reaching 25 years old and “sitting on $25 million” which he did and, since then more than doubled that amount to a cool Forbes Net Worth of, let me clear my throat, $60 Million {blouse & skirt!}.

When the legendary hip hop DJ Kid Capri flew into town on a frigid Sunday afternoon {Feb 22, 2015} as a special guest at the Royal Ontario Museum “In Conversation Series,” a first for the culture of hip hop, hosted by Manifesto, he spoke eloquently and quite highly of Drake’s talents and challenged the local audience to improve its acknowledgement of Drake’s efforts and accomplishments, which include smashing the Spotify online streaming record with 22.2 million (kiss mi neck back!) streams in merely three days (for real?), selling 535,000 albums (a lie!?), plus a not so long ago Grammy Award coupled with a Juno {or tree?}. These impressive numbers speak volumes of the indelible mark Drake continues to make on pop culture without glamorizing notions of street-credibility, but rather by simply writing, singing and rapping heartfelt songs bound to last for generations unborn.

What is quite vividly illustrated in his new Vimeo video “Jungle” is a creative visionary on the verge of perhaps hitting the big screen; where Drake finally launches/unleashes his vault on stories, tightly treading the line of art mirroring reality, with his team of youthful artistic cultural workers, using powerful moving images to grip our imagination, keeping our eyes and minds glued to his next big-move.

Instead of showing gratitude or appreciation for his efforts later, Drake insists over a slow extro-beat “you could thank me now!” and “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”.

Kirk Moss is a creative-thinker, thought-provoking-journalist, and dedicated-educator, who writes his own punch-lines, head-lines and by-lines, while never missing a day of sport fishing!

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