Started from the bottom, now he’s here: Yes, Drake once made $100 opening for Ice Cube in 1989.
Then there was the time I was in a bar in Minneapolis and met Drake, who said he did his last show for A&M in 1978 — an actual gig, but no soundcheck.
Then I met him last year for the first time. We talked about his time with A&M. He told me, “I was in between jobs when the A&M gig came around. I was in the studio building a house with the owner and I had to be there and I called my brother and asked him to set it up with the landlord for me.”
I asked him how he was doing. “I was OK,” he said. “I’m still alive.”
But I knew that he was struggling. I knew that it was hard for him to stay relevant in an industry that would have been fine if he hadn’t gone before he was ready to go.
He didn’t go and now he’s a staple of hip-hop royalty. He’s still making hits. Last year, he had the Grammy moment with Pharrell Williams, who just so happened to be one of his biggest influences. Pharrell said “Drake’s voice is the next James Brown.”
“It felt good to hear him just saying that,” Drake said. “I want to hear that all the time.”
But he’s still not here. He’s still out there, and he’s just as good as he ever was. He has a new album coming out, and he’s been doing shows all over again. But he hasn’t been touring since the “Take Care” days.
When I asked him about the change, he told me he wasn’t sure if he had the energy to make it happen. He told me he would think about it.
He told me he was going to make it happen. It’s Drake Time.