Music star Drake, who recently won two Grammy Awards in rap categories for his song “Hotline Bling,” is chafing at being pigeonholed as a rapper and says the award-winning single is a pop song.
In an Ovo Sound Radio interview recorded Feb. 13, the day after the Grammys, and released Saturday, Drake says that despite being a mix of black, Jewish and Canadian, “I am referred to as a black artist. Like last night at that awards show, I’m a black artist...I’m apparently a rapper even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song. The only category that they can manage to fit me in is a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black. I can’t figure out why.”
Assuring that, “I love the rap world and I love the rap community,” Drake — who was performing in Manchester, England, that night and did not attend the ceremony — explained, “I write pop songs for a reason. I want to be like Michael Jackson, I want to be like artists that I looked up to.” He said both “Hotline Bling” and another hit from last year, “One Dance,” “are pop songs, but I never get any credit for that.”
The 30-year-old artist, born Aubrey Drake Graham, won the 2012 Best Rap Album Grammy for “Take Care” and now the 2016 awards for best rap/sung performance and, with “Hotline Bling” co-writer Paul Jefferies, for best rap song. “I don’t even want them [the awards], because it just feels weird for some reason,” he told DJ Semtex, host of the radio show originating from Drake’s Ovo Sound label. “It just doesn’t feel right to me. I feel, like, almost alienated, or you’re trying to purposely alienate me by making me win [for] rap...putting me in that category because it’s the only place you can figure out where to put me.”
He added, “When you ask me do I feel like [it’s] racism... yeah, I feel it. I notice it going on...”