It was on February 13th, 2009, when Nothing was the Same. It is when Drake released his third project, under his then-unofficial October’s Very Own label, So Far Gone. Although So Far Gone is Drake’s third project, following up the previous releases of Room for Improvement and Comeback Season, it is the project that sparked the Canadian rapper’s career. Success doesn’t occur overnight. Tracing through the OVO blog, started by Oliver El-Khatib, one is able to get an in-depth perspective of the artists work and success. At the time of the release of So Far Gone, Drake was receiving major label attention and had a small buzz around him. He was poised to blow up, although people were unsure of exactly where Drake was headed. He was the opposite of a proven commodity. The mixtape was at first not 100% concrete that it was going to be an independent release, although if it wasn’t everyone was still going to be able to get it just like every other one of his previous albums. When asked about it in an interview, he did the whole “I’m gonna answer but totally not answer” the question technique. It was a display of his entire career, the confidence in himself to act like he was already a proven commodity. At the time individuals were debating whether or not Drake was even the top artist in Canada. It was between him and Kardinal Offishal. This is eye-opening to mainstream fans, due to the fact that nowadays we are comparing him to the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West. We are having debates on whether or not Drake is considered the greatest of all time, or where he falls on that list. Back in 2008, the debate was whether or not he would be able to escape Kardinal’s shadow and put Toronto on the map. Drake leaked a record off So Far Gone, “Little Bit (Remix), on the OVO blog and it threw his fans into a loop. The track is quintessential Drake. It exhibits his way of blending R&B with hip-hop.
In January of 2008, Drake was confused with his career, after his six seasons on Degrassi came to an end. Due to his interest in pursuing a music career. At the same time, he was in a very destructive relationship with a female. It was bad headspace for one to be in, trust me I know. That is the inspiration for the start of So Far Gone stemmed from. The opening track, “Lust for Life”, is his way of crying out the things in which he never would say. The things in which he was thinking, that was the mindset. Followed by the track “Houstalantavegas”, which explains how he felt that nothing was good enough for the girl, ever. Or how she always was looking for more excitement. Which was followed by the track “Successful.” The song is Drake basically claiming that all he wants is to be successful and that he’s unsure if he could do that with his current relationship going on. The next track “Let’s Call It Off” is the break-up of the two individuals. After he broke up with her a week later, that is when the motivation behind “November 18th” came from. It is when he went to Houston and met Lil Wayne.
As the release date of the project started to approach, the blog stopped with the posts about women and revolved solely on So Far Gone. One is able to feel the momentum building by reading the posts and the comments. He explains in his one post the story around the project, saying that the tape was a conceptual journey of his life since January 2008 and that it was his way of telling the stories that individuals prefer to hear in an entertaining fashion. Throughout the final stages of the process, producer 40 was constantly updating the blog while finishing the last touches on the project. It is through these updates in which one can feel the pressure and excitement mounting amongst the artist and his team. It is the first time in Drake’s career where there was no mystery, no branding, no aura, it was just a group of friends excited to release a project. Documenting every single move while doing so. February 13th, 2009 was truly the day that changed Aubrey Graham’s life. The blog reflected that. Even though at the time of release he was already touring with Lil Wayne, giving the illusion that Drake was already a star, the way in which he spoke about it was anything but that. It is documented that before the tour he had never done any of his own full-fledged shows, performing only ten times in his life.
It isn’t the posts on the blog that tell the story the best, it’s the lack of posts that do. In 2008, Drake was posting often. Whether it was posting pictures, about girls, etc. After the release of So Far Gone, the posts became few and far between. He went from posting every day on the OVO blog, like normal bloggers do, to dealing with the likes of fake Twitter accounts, attending Kanye West’s birthday party, and shooting music videos with Kanye. In August of 2009, Drake posted twice on the blog, talking about how he was coping with his new found fame. He was also dealing with a torn ACL at the time. Drake expressed that even with his new found success, he was still the kid who wanted it more than anything else in the world. He explained that while although fans were saying he lost interest in his craft because of radio play and exposure, that nothing has changed on his end. He refused to get comfortable, to fall in line and follow everyone’s formula before him. Drake was still trying to figure out how he was going to gain entry into the game, while already being deemed a star in it. He expressed also on the blog, that the craziest part of becoming “famous”, was that he had to spend half of his time defending himself and the other half trying to stay sane resulting in him being forced to figure out time to be creative.
By February of 2010, a year after the release of So Far Gone, Drake turned into a superstar. The OVO blog was and still is a fascinating look into the early career of the superstar we know today. While the private plans, pictures with LeBron James, or the jet skis don’t have the same emotional appeal than the earlier photos of Drake sitting outside a studio or posting about random girls did, one is able to feel the human being that grew into Drake the superstar and grow out of posting. The documentation of a star. One is unable to blog every thought when they are living in the fog of stardom. It is rare for one project to truly make a star, With Drake, that is not the case. He was an outsider until February 13th, 2009. After that, he became the living embodiment of the title in which his project was named after. Drake was So Far Gone.