Thanks to a hit single, a Grammy Awards performance and a guest appearance at Comerica Park, Toronto rapper-singer Drake is now a bona fide FoE — Friend of Eminem.
The two first collaborated, along with Kanye West and Lil Wayne, on the 2009 single “Forever” from the soundtrack to the LeBron James documentary “More Than a Game.” They performed the song at the 2010 Grammy Awards, while Drake showed up to join Eminem on “Forever” at the first of the Detroit rapper’s two hometown shows in September.
“He’s been great to me,” says Drake (real name Aubrey Drake Graham), 23, who didn’t meet Eminem in person until the Grammy telecast. “He actually gave me some of the most reassuring advice ever. He was like, ‘The Grammy stage is a lot different than just performing at a show, ’cause you look out there and you see everybody you’ve ever looked up to watching you.’ He was like, ‘I know you don’t know me that well, we’re just meeting for the first time, but, man, if you ever need to catch yourself, just look at me and I’ll give it back to you.’
“And I had to at one point when we were on that stage. I looked at him and he smiled at me and I smiled at him, and that was the moment when I just let go and I said, ‘Yes, I know Jay-Z’s there and I know Beyoncé is there and I know Rihanna is sitting right there, whoever, but, man, this is my moment.’ ”
Drake’s moment is, of course, continuing. His debut album, “Thank Me Later,” debuted at No. 1 in June and was, until Eminem released “Recovery” the following week, the top-selling rap album of the year. It’s gone platinum and has spawned the hits “Over” and “Find Your Love.” He also won Canadian Juno Awards for Best New Artist and Rap Recording of the Year.
The success means Drake hears “less and less” about his acting career, primarily in the Canadian teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” and he’s confident that he’s being embraced for his music.
“I’m coming into a space where I’m actually a respected artist,” he says. “That lets me know something’s right. I’m just going to remain humble and read the feedback and see what people love and what they don’t love and start thinking about my next project. I’d love to go on a little vacation just to free my mind of all the things going on now, and then just get back to work.”
Drake and Tyga perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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