Photo by Ray Yau

The enthusiasm in NYU’s Skirball Center was palpable in the lead up to Elliott Wilson’s CRWN interview with Drake. In the lead up to Drake’s appearance his third album, Nothing Was The Same, was playing in the background. His management obviously expected the crowd to have heard the album by then, which leaked a little more than a week before its official drop date. The crowd could be heard reciting lyrics to Tuscan Leather, Started From The Bottom and Worst Behavior. The interviewer, Eliott Wilson, is well-known within the hip-hop community for his website Rap Radar, which chronicles what’s happening in the rap world.
From the get-go there was a calm about Aubrey, who didn’t shy away from acknowledging the album’s premature leak along with the fact that 90% of the audience had probably heard it. Throughout their conversation, he stressed how the album as a piece was something that needed to be digested over the course of the coming weeks. Wilson spent the majority of the hour-long Q&A picking Drake’s brain about individual tracks, lyrics, and the process that went into producing it all. As forthcoming as Drake appeared, we didn’t get the unfettered look into Noah 40 and his workflow that some may have hoped. However, what can be said is that Drake is one charismatic fellow, nonchalantly tossing off remarks about the Internet’s fascination with his multiple faces and his tendency toward the softer side of hip-hop into feel good moments that bordered on stand-up comedy. On a more serious note, he elaborated on the disclaimer before his Late Night with Jimmy Fallon performance of Too Much. No one can say Drake doesn’t care about family as he gushed about his mother and why those lyrics referring to her resonated so much.
The auditorium had a special section set aside for Drake’s OVO crew where Noah 40 was noticeably absent. Toward the end of the interview it became apparent why as Wilson called the night’s special guest onto the stage. 40 sat down to discuss the evolution of the pair’s OVO sound and why he believes it evolved the way it did. The majority comes down to work ethic as both push each to work harder (according to Drake, 40 bested him on this album, often still in the studio when Drake awoke in the morning).
Throughout all of this the crowd was in a controlled frenzy yelling out catchphrases and answering Wilson’s questions for him. By the time the Q&A with audience members took place people were moving at 110mph to get their chance to ask a question. A question that stood out was from a woman in the balcony who asked him about the way he singles out people he’s had relationships on record and how it transfers to his fans’ actions in real life. In response, he cautioned against living on the Internet and Twitter, opting for real life interaction. In other words, go have a drink with the people you care about or have issues with.
This was a great forum for those with questions about Drake’s “authenticity.” He was candid without resorting to media buzzwords e.g. Chris Brown. He laid it on the table perfectly at the beginning of the chat when he discussed radio and how they try to boost ratings with controversial topics. Instead we got a peak into the inner workings of a person some have called the voice of the millennial.