Drake sat down with Elle Magazine and opened up about his life on the road, growing up in Canada and his journey to find love.Talk about making an entrance: Before his debut album even hit stores, Drake was nominated for two Grammys (Best Rap Song and Best Rap Solo). After he signed a $2 million record deal in 2009 with a group of labels led by mentor Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment, Thank Me Later—an atmospheric, subtle bit of ruminative singsong rap about love and money—dropped last year, selling almost 450,000 copies in a week. (It turns out his lyric “Last name ever/ first name greatest” wasn’t just empty posturing.) Born Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto to a Jewish mom and an African-American dad, he played a wheelchair-bound jock for eight seasons on Canadian teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation. After quietly releasing a few mix tapes, suddenly he was hanging on Lil Wayne’s tour bus, rhyming about drinking cough syrup with codeine, and enjoying a much-publicized (if short-lived) romance with Rihanna. Drake’s second album, Take Care, arrives on his twenty-fifth birthday (Oct. 24). If the single “Marvin’s Room” is any indication—“I’ve had sex four times this week/ I’ll explain”—we’re guessing women will be helping him celebrate. See the interview here.
ELLE: Let’s start with “Marvin’s Room.” Four women in a week? Yes, please explain.
DRAKE: I used to be filling a void. There was a point where I felt like I needed to keep the company of a woman every night.
ELLE: The same woman?
D: Uh, different women.
ELLE: You don’t have to apologize.
D: Yeah, at the same time, I do. Because one day I’m going to want to meet a woman that doesn’t have such a tainted past. It’s like, Well, how can I expect the woman I love to have such a clean record?
ELLE: Are you lonely?
D: When you’re on the road and moving city to city, when someone isn’t there at the end of the night, you feel empty. The 15 or 20 seconds after a man reaches his climax is the realest moment he’ll ever have in his life. And if you happen to be with somebody that isn’t someone you want to converse with, you start feeling like, I wish I was just here watching True Blood by myself.
ELLE: You were basically raised by a single mom. Have you taken a girl to meet her?
D: The most intense thing I’ve ever done was bring a girl to Passover dinner.
ELLE: Was it Nicki Minaj?
D: No, no. Although that’s a woman my mother is in love with.
ELLE: Why did you and Nicki pretend to get married on Twitter?
D: I don’t know if we were really pretending. I’d marry Nicki. I think Nicki would be one of the only people that would understand me at the end of all this and be able to love me.
ELLE: Does your mom want you to marry a Jewish girl?
D: She just wants me to be happy. But I’m sure she’d love it if I married a Jewish girl.
ELLE: When you were a kid, your father—who’d been incarcerated—would drive you all the way from Toronto to Memphis to spend time with his family. What did you learn about women from him?
D: What not to do. Ways that I never want to make a woman feel. I was there when my mom used to be upset or cry because of the things my father would do. In a rare moment of self-realization, my dad confirmed that I should treat women better. My dad has a lot of gifts. He’s charming and was a sharp dresser, big on atmosphere and candles. I learned a lot from him about being a romantic.
ELLE: You rap about nude photos. Ever receive naked texts?
D: Come on. Of course.
ELLE: Does that impress you?
D: It depends. If you send them without me asking, it’s like, You’ve done this before. But I’m away a lot. If there’s a woman I’m into, I might want to get a picture from her to handle business myself, as opposed to doing something I might regret.
ELLE: That’s oddly romantic.
D: This twisted technology generation—it’s sort of our building steps to a happy home one day.
ELLE: The ménage à trois—overrated?
D: I’ve never had one.
D: I swear. I’m a one-woman kind of guy.
ELLE: Has a woman ever hurt you?
D: I’ve probably been hurt more than I’ve hurt someone else. It’s a different world, with the microscope of the Internet.
ELLE: What makes it so hard?
D: To get women to trust you. When you have a woman in your life and you’re telling her, “I’m in New York working on my album,” and you’re actually in New York working on your album, but they’re saying you’re in the Bahamas with so-and-so, it’s hard for her to believe. I’ve had women lash out based off the fact that they think I’m lying when I’m not.
ELLE: “Fireworks” was about being Rihanna’s rebound guy, right?
D: Not necessarily the rebound guy.
ELLE: Did she hurt you?
D: At the time it hurt, but she didn’t mean to. I’ll never put that on her. I was hurt because I started to slowly realize what it was. I guess I thought it was more. That was the first girl with any fame that paid me any mind. You spend days reading about this person in the magazines. All of a sudden you have this number-one song and you’re at some birthday party and there she is. And you’re just some naive kid from Toronto staying in some shitty-ass hotel who got invited to this party on a whim. That’s just how it happened.
ELLE: The new album is out on your birthday. What’s the plan?
D: I’m going to Vegas.
ELLE: Any one woman you hope shows?
D: I’m gonna invite Kat Dennings. I’m in love with her. She’s really funny. But I think she’s dating someone.
ELLE: I’ll put that in the interview. You can use ELLE like a personal ad.
D: Please, man. Thank you for that.