What To Take Away From The Drake vs. Rolling Stone Controversy

Posted: February 15, 2014 by ericbernsen in Features, Interviews, Music, News
Tags: , ,

While Drake is currently considered as one of the top-tier artists in hip-hop, his relationship with the media and the press has been one filled with trials and tribulations. From his back-and-forth jabs with Chris Brown about Rihanna to his comments about Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse, more often than not Drake comes across as overly sensitive and emotional. And after a recent interview with Rolling Stone that was made public this week, it appears that Drake has not fully learned from his lessons. From controversial comments about some of hip-hop’s biggest stars to misguided quotes about the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman after the publication’s release, the interview took a turn for the worst as things were taken out of proportion once the power of social media took over. While Drake is not on Kanye West’s level in terms of “ranting”, he tends to make costly public relations mistakes when he should just let his music do the talking for him. 

The saga first unfolded when blogs got ahold of Drake’s perhaps most controversial quote in the interview. When asked about Macklemore’s apology text to Kendrick that he posted for the world to see via Instagram after the Grammy’s, Drake responded by saying he thought it was “wack as fuck”. He went on to explain that he didn’t feel Macklemore’s text was genuine and he should have just accepted his Grammy wins then moved on. Drake felt there was no need to publicly post the message and that opinion is a common one throughout the hip-hop world. However, Drake continued by expressing some bitterness about Kendrick being the only nominated artist to receive an apology, “To name just Kendrick? That shit made me feel funny. No, in that case, you robbed everybody. We all need text messages!” This is where Drake made his mishap. By going out of his way to text Kendrick, Macklemore made it clear that he thought good kid, m.A.A.d city was a better RAP album than The Heist. However, that does not mean he thinks Drake’s album or any other artists was better so, hence, why would he issue an apology to everybody? Drake’s quote made it obvious that he still feels some resentment toward the sentiment that Kendrick’s album was better than Nothing Was The Same as well as the idea that Kendrick is the best rapper in the game. While it is only natural for Drake to want to be viewed as the number one rapper in the world, backhanded disses to Kendrick by means of bashing Macklemore’s actions is not the way to prove himself as hip-hop’s top emcee.

However, the controversy did not end there as more quotes from the interview were revealed that did not put Drake in a positive light. These included slights at the questionable lyrics of hip-hop giants such as Jay Z and Kanye West that were most definitely mean’t to be off the record. Drake took to Twitter to air his grievances about these quotes and also expressed his disgust at Rolling Stone for taking him off the cover at the last second (replacing him with the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman), “I never commented on Yeezus for my interview portion of Rolling Stone. They also took my cover from me last minute and ran the issue. I’m disgusted with that. RIP to Phillip Seymour Hoffman. All respect due. But the press is evil. I’m done doing interviews for magazines. I just want to give my music to the people. That’s the only way my message gets across accurately.” At this point in time, Drake let his emotions get the best of him since he was incorrect in thinking anything he says is “off the record”, and while he paid respect to Hoffman, complaining about being taken off the cover was a misguided choice. It is clear that Rolling Stone was also at fault for the way this article was presented to the public, but most of the negative attention was geared toward Drake, who took another day to release an official statement about the controversy:

Tough Day At The Office

With today being the 5th anniversary of So Far Gone I figured it’s fitting to return to it’s place of its origin in order to clear the air about an extremely emotional day. I completely support and agree with Rolling Stone replacing me on the cover with the legendary Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He is one of the most incredible actors of our time and a man that deserves to be immortalized by this publication. My frustration stemmed from the way it was executed. The circumstances at hand are completely justifiable (on the magazines behalf), but I was not able to salvage my story or my photos and that was devastating. They ran the issue without giving me a choice to be in it or not. I would have waited until it was my time because I understand the magnitude of the cover they chose but I just wasn’t given that option and that made me feel violated. I apologize to anybody who took my initial comments out of context because in no way would I ever want to offend the Hoffman family or see myself as bigger than that moment. I am still the same person. Today I was forced out of my character and felt the need to react swiftly. These days are the worst ones. Waking up after a great night in the studio and it’s your day to be picked apart. After dwelling on it for a few hours or days you will come to the conclusion that you brought it on yourself almost every time. So here I am having that moment. I once again apologize to everybody who took my cover comments the wrong way. I respect Rolling Stone for being willing to give a kid from Toronto a shot at the cover. I guess this is a day to learn and grow.

The Boy

To sum things up, Drake’s apology certainly seems heartfelt despite the fact he did not really say anything wrong. We should commend Drake for sharing his true feelings about Macklemore’s texts and Jay Z’s/Kanye’s sometimes corny lyrics. But at the same time, Drake has to be smarter with his words because perception is reality, especially for someone that is always in the public eye. Ever since coming up as a child actor on Degrassi, Drake has been relentlessly determined to be taken seriously in the world of hip-hop. This has been apparent through the success of his music, and there is still so much more Drake can accomplish as an artist. However, Drake has not yet mastered the art of not letting his emotions get the best of him. Some people showcase their confidence by letting their actions speak from themselves. Others tend to fear that people do not accept them for who they are and overcompensate. Drake has to work on being more like the former than the latter, and hopefully that became more clear to him over the past few days.

Click here to read the full Rolling Stone interview and let us know what you think! 

  1. twmowen says:

    What’s Drake been moaning about? He whined like a little girl on Twitter but the Rolling Stone writer was careful to put the criticism of Kanye’s lyrics in the context of Drake’s respect and admiration for Kanye.

    Agree with you about the Macklamore comments and the ‘off the record’ comments.
    Drake stating Rolling Stone should have kept the interview back, until a time of his choosing, like his believe that the Kanye comments should be off the record, show he fails to understand that journalism is about more than an artist PR machine.

    • ewbernsen says:

      Agree with your points as well, feel like Drake has a tendency to speak sarcastically and jokingly with interviewers not realizing that the way he talks will not translate on print. Either way he has a lot to learn if he doesn’t want backlash then he should not make controversial comments. Just has to stick to the music because that is what he’s good at.

      Appreciate the comment.

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