I’m not gonna front kids, I don’t know much about this rapper, Drake, and I’ve pretty much kept it that way intentionally. He’s a big hit with the youth and I’ve seen him lay down a verse about Sprite before, but every time I hear or see something from the guy, it just seems corny as all get-out. I just can’t do it. Maybe there’s something there, but the few things that I’ve randomly tried to listen to from him always sounded ridiculously soft. I do know that his real name is “Aubrey” and that he played a character named “Jimmy” on Canadian teen soap opera reboot, Degrassi: The next generation (he was on there as recently as 2009). I know that much, because I’ve watched the video where his character is shot in the hallway–forcing him to be restricting to a wheel chair from then on out–a handful of times. I know that he poses a lot, likes controlled stubble, wears snap backs, and always has his hair freshly trimmed up.
Last year he was ballsy enough to release a really terrible track called “Wu-Tang Forever” that sounded like trash and was some pseudo-love song about “fucking” that had absolutely nothing to do with Wu-Tang Clan–sound or theme-wise–at all, and just irritated me to no end. Earlier this year, I caught a newer video (released last December) to another track called “Worst Behavior” which involves him struttin’ around wearing gold chains in rundown, grimy Memphis neighborhoods, in front of a chicken shack, a check’s cashed spot, and a soul food joint, while saying “nigga” and “mu’ fucka” very unconvincingly. There’s even a point where he acknowledges that the Jewish-Canadian mother that he grew up with would be “mortified” by his language, but that he’s not the same kid that would borrow her Acura to shoot Degrassi episodes. Featured in the video are Memphis legends Juicy J and his older brother Project Pat–both of Southern rap pioneers Three 6 Mafia–who are, presumably, there to provide him with street cred and, most likely, to operate as his human permits to dance around with video cameras in their territory, while acting like he’s the king of the hood, without getting jumped on. The longer, 10-plus-minute version also has a goofy white guy trying to act “down” and kick it with Juicy and Pat, but getting blown off–another great diversion.
Last week during game 2 of the NBA playoff series between the Brooklyn Nets and the team for which Drake has been made the Global Ambassador, the Toronto Raptors, Aubrey was caught on camera while sitting court-side and doing something that, from the limited narrow impression that I’ve formed of him, seemed very in character for the Canadian rapper: he was lint rolling his pants in the middle of the game, while the action was going down. The video of incident immediately went viral.
Never to be shamed–even when he probably should be–Drake‘s label OVO (“October’s Very Own”) teamed up with Procter and Gamble brand, Bounce (also of dryer sheet fame) to create limited edition promotional lint rollers to be handed out at game 5 between to two teams last night (April 30th). The promotional items were just basic $1.99 Bounce lint rollers, but featured both the Raptor‘s logo and OVO‘s trademark owl (also, technically a raptor) design. They also made sure to print the words “limited edition” on them, just so that nobody got confused and knew that, for one reason or another, this shit was actually important. Here’s what they looked like:
To be completely honest, even as someone who isn’t particularly a fan of Drake‘s work, I can appreciate the fact that he embraced the incident for what it was. His music isn’t for me–at least what I’ve heard of it–but he seemed to have a pretty solid personality in his Nardwuar interview, and I can respect him a lot more for shit like this than I can for him making videos like “Worst Behavior,” which was about as convincing as MJ insisting to Wesley Snipes that he was still “bad” while accompanied by backup dancers and a man doing tricks in suede roller skates.
The Raptors have actually created a special section in the Air Canada Centre where they play, known as the “Drake 416 Zone,” after the Toronto area code. They’ve also done cross promotions with the rapper’s company before. Back during a January game–coincidentally, also against The Nets–a limited edition OVO x Raptors shirt was handed out and resulted in fans flipping them on ebay for upwards of $200. It appears that another shirt was handed out last night to all of those who were seated in the 416 zone and an early email announcing the promotion and ticket availability for the game seemed to make light of Drake lint rolling his pants, shortly after the incident initially occurred.
— Luke Galati (@LukeGalati) April 23, 2014
Apparently, that joke snowballed and resulted in them changing their mind.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 1, 2014
As the above tweet/image suggests, 1,200 fans were giving these fucking things last night. Based on this image (below), attendees who received a special card were able to take it to the 117 section of the venue after the game to redeem it for their own.
Just a little while ago, I was reading a thread about the promotion in the HipHopHeads group on reddit, which I’ve begun checking out over the last couple of weeks. Of course, the idea that people were bound to try and ebay these things came up, which prompted someone in the group to check the auction site to see if any had actually been posted yet. That’s when we watched as 1 particular auction for the grooming tool ended with a beyond ridiculous winning bid of $55,100!!!
This type of shit always reminds me of that “David After Dentist” video where that little kid is faded out of his gourd in the back seat of his parents’ car. “Is this real life?” One thing’s for sure, that Wu-Tang million dollar single-copy album idea is looking less and less absurd by the minute.