Aubrey Drake Graham, more popularly known as Drake, the man who won our hearts as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi and swept us off our feet when he said that we look prettiest chillin with no makeup on. And unless you've been living under a rock you know that he's back and sexier than ever with his new mixtape If You're Reading This it's Too Late , which garnered generally favorable reviews from critics and extremely favorable reviews from my roommates and me who actually threw a Drake themed party in honor of the release and the man's life. But one other the thing that Drake has inspired beyond our adoration is one very specific question: What does "with my woes" mean?
Personal testimony aside, this album is full of some heavy stuff. He's angry at his parents, his record label Cash Money, Tyga, and, of course, the haters who didn't think he'd make it. Despite the fact that the album is fraught with an almost adolescent angst, Drake manages, once again, both not to alienate his listener and produce some quality lines that resonate with people — even if they have no idea what the hell he's saying. For example, he managed to popularize "The 6" as a nickname for Toronto, even though at first no one had any idea what he was talking about.
But perhaps the lyric that most got picked up by Instagram and Facebook photo captions all over North America was off the song "Know Yourself": The phrase, "running through the six with my woes."
Now, knowing what we do about the album, it would make sense that when Drake says "woes" he means "sorrows," "stresses," or "troubles," because that's what the word "woe" means by definition. But in an interview he gave Vice music magazine Noisey, Drake describes what he actually means by "woe":
Woe is my crew. It stands for “working on excellence.” It’s just my whole brand and my whole movement and my way of life for everyone. I want everyone to work on excellence. So, all my friends are my Woes and I feel anybody working on excellence in life is a Woe in life as well.
So, as it turns out, Drake is kind of talking about the opposite thing most people assume him to be talking about. He's not running through Toronto bogged down with visions of his mama, exes, and haters; he's actually running through Toronto while "lovin the crew." His woes aren't his fears — they're his weapons. To be a woe is to be someone who wants nothing more than to achieve the best that can be achieved in whatever field of life.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Running through the six with my working on excellence" makes no sense. You can't have that word there, Drake!" For those of you with your (extremely reasonable) doubts, my piece of advice would be to suspend all you know about grammar and sentence structure for a moment (because it's a bunch of elitist classist crap anyway, am I right?). Instead of focusing on what Drake can't do, lets focus on what drake CAN do. On Over My Dead Body, Drake was a philosopher and taught us that jealousy is just love and hate at the same time. On HYFR, he was an inspirational speaker and said that working with the negatives can make a better picture. And, of course, on Worst Behavior, he was the rowdy, fun-loving, young person who lives inside all our hearts when he let the world know that he didn't care a single bit and was going to stay on his worst behavior. So I think we can cut him some slack for just wanting to work on excellence, even if it doesn't quite make the most sense.
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