Drake Opens Up About The Influence Of The 6

by Jaclyn Anglis

If there's one thing all Drake fans know, it's that the rapper is more than happy to represent his hometown of Toronto. From his constant references to the city he christened as "The 6," as a nod to the city's area codes to his enthusiastic use of Canadian flag emojis in many Instagram posts, he is proud of where he is from. But recently, Drake has opened up even more about how The 6 has influenced him as an artist. Drake had a lot to say about the influence of Canada on his music during his new interview with The Fader.

In the rapper's first extended interview in over a year — his last was with Rolling Stone after which he announced he would be doing no more magazine interviews — he opened up a lot. He talked about his musical process, what type of legacy he hopes to leave behind, and his collaborations with a bunch of very talented people. He even brought up the infamous Meek Mill beef, which the Internet clearly decided was won in Drake's favor. But all throughout the interview, Toronto kept coming up, almost as if it were a character in the story. So, check out the different ways fans learned The 6 influenced — and continues to influence — Drake as an artist from his Fader interview.

1. He's Staying Mostly Local While Working On Views

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Staying mostly local while working on his upcoming album was a response to his Toronto-based friends and collaborators not being able to travel as much. And since he looks up to his Toronto buds, they, of course, would play a big role in his upcoming album, Views From The 6. He said of his longtime engineer and producer 40, “If I want to make the album I want to make, I have to go find him. I have to go sit with him, and we have to really put in effort.”

2. He Wanted To Have An Anthem Just For Toronto

Who would have known that running with your woes would lead to a city anthem? He said, "I told myself, over the duration of my career, I would definitely have a song that strictly belonged to Toronto but that the world embraced. So, ‘Know Yourself’ was a big thing off my checklist.”

3. He's Using Toronto's Unique Diversity In His Lyrics

Remember that line from his Meek Mill diss track, "talkin’ boasy and gwanin’ wassy"? That is Toronto-by-way-of-the-Caribbean slang right there! He has also used Arabic words like "mashallah" and "wallahi" as a nod to the city's Somali population.

4. He Wants The Whole City To Feel The Importance Of Those References

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"We use [that lingo] every day,” he says of the slang. "But it just took me some time to build up the confidence to figure out how to incorporate it into songs. And I’m really happy that I did. I think it’s important for the city to feel like they have a real presence out there."

5. He's Not Worried About The Lyrics Alienating Non-Torontoans

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Drake doesn't seem at all concerned that his many fans outside of The 6 might not immediately get some of his references. “I’ve just become really adamant about leaving fragments in everything I do that belong strictly to my city,” he said. “The world will pick up on it.”

6. He's Built Relationships With International Artists Who Influence Toronto

Some artists abroad have a heavy influence in Toronto's music scene, such as PopCaan, a Jamaican dancehall star and London-based MC Skepta. Drake, being from Toronto, has forged alliances with these stars and has developed both friendships and source material for his songs.

Of course, Drake's entire interview with the site is really worth checking out for all fans who want to know more about his cultural influence, not just his hometown's. I'm glad to have him back with a full-length feature!