On his critics…
“They nitpick at everything,” he says, shaking his head. “I can’t do anything. All they want me to do is dress so they can make fun of me. Otherwise, it’s hard for them. I don’t give people many reasons to dislike me. They have to find shit. They’re like, ‘Aw man, sweaters! He wears sweaters too much.’ Like, what?”
The [“Headlines”] video’s most talked-about image was Drake draped in all-black Nike apparel, surrounded by two groups of ominous-looking dudes in black hoodies. Blog commenters derided him for renting some thugs to make himself look tough.
But the guys in question are not some newly assembled goon squad. Most come from two of Toronto’s worst neighborhoods, Malvern and Galloway, which have been warring for the past few years. “There’s a lot of people lost in that situation, and through having mutual friends in both of those hoods, we were all able to come together, shoot that video, and immortalize that moment,” says Drake—visibly perturbed that he has to explain himself. “I don’t brag about my hood stories. Everybody’s like, ‘Get the fuck out of here with that shit,’ but I’ve done a lot for the streets out here.”
“Everybody knows Drake isn’t hood,” says Niko, his right-hand man and confidant. Neeks, as the crew calls him, is a quiet, bespectacled dude who met Drizzy back when he was pushing his first mixtape, Room for Improvement. Neeks says Toronto rap used to be much more street-oriented. Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, and Choclair were the big names. “Drake came and flipped it and said everything that a hood guy can’t say. I guess that’s why people liked him.”