Alex Delarge Talks About Toronto’s Real Feelings Towards Drake
Toronto is such an odd city; it is a place full of and haters, and I’m not using the phrase loosely. I am convinced that it is a self esteem issue that members of the city are facing and simply can’t admit. We’ve been given the name “screwface capital”, and not necessarily because of the hoodlums, but because of the regular folk who are extremely critical of others. Now this can be a good and bad thing: good because it pushes artists to be stronger and strive for more; however it’s bad because this critical view towards our talent is not meant to bring them up but rather tear them down. In Toronto we constantly struggle to define our identity, and because of that we don’t like our own skin right now, which makes it very difficult for us to realize talent in our own backyard.
Personally, I’m a very critical person but I try to be as honest as possible because there’s no point in giving somebody hope only to get shot down by someone important like a record exec. or music manager. I don’t believe in simply supporting an artist, if a person is talented I will naturally be a fan and support will be a normal reaction. This is why many people trust my opinion; I tell it like it is!
This brings me to my personal experience with Drake. My first musical encounter, like many others, was his first big song “City Is Mine”. I liked it but when I heard him rhyme over one of my favourite songs – Closer – I was sold. I would preach to other TOers about this new rapper, but to my surprise many knew of Drake already. I would often get, “Hey isn’t that the wheelchair dude from Degrassi?” The odd thing about this was that people had mainly negative opinions about him (ie: he’s alright, he’s soft, etc.) which I found a bit troubling because it was almost like they disapproved Drake before they gave him a chance to show what he can do.
My first real encounter with Drake was at a Toronto event held by his crew (ATF). We had a few words and he seemed like a pretty down to earth, humble type of dude. The night progressed, and during one of the sets, he came on the mic to spit a couple bars, but to my disbelief the crowd was actually booing him, and it was a pretty big event.
Fast forward to today and many TO’ers are in an odd position. Some still find it hard to fully accept Drake’s success so far, and the ones who are now on the bandwagon are secretly hoping for a downfall. It’s funny how Toronto works; for you to be successful in this city you NEED to be successful and recognized somewhere else. This is the basis behind Toronto’s identity complex. Drake understood this; it’s clear in his mixtape titled “So Far Gone”, which means so far gone from the rest in the city. Drake said it himself, he wasn’t aware he had fans in Toronto until he held a show during his mini tour. When you ask a TO’er today about their opinions on Drake, they’ll try to hold enthusiasm at bay for the fear of sounding like a groupie. (ie: he’s pretty good I guess)
My thoughts: This is exactly how I feel Minneapolis is too, and it’s quite sad.
No offense to New York or LA, but based on the amount of critics in the city, if you can make it in Toronto, you can make it everywhere.