Admitting Drake's So Far Gone turns nine today (February 13) proves three things — time is a cruel mistress, people that remember Blogspot now have children, and Drake has been the hottest rapper alive for almost a decade. Aubrey's third official mixtape represented a coming of age. It shed the nervous energy and aimlessness of Room for Improvement and forged a singular vision of Drake's persona that is missing on Comeback Season.
In Drake's first MTV News interview in 2009, he describes his surprise at the reception for So Far Gone and how it positioned him as something growing against the hip-hop grain.
"I'm very taken aback, because I used to be so self-conscious about the strikes against me, like coming from Canada, being on a TV show, being super light-skinned," said Drake. "There's just things where you be like, 'Is this gonna work?' But now it gives me a chance to really accept that I am something different and something new. I see it more as an opportunity to really be, like, well, I don't have to be the next 'Ye. I don't have to be the next Wayne. I can just be the first Drake.
On the ninth anniversary of So Far Gone, we share some insight into the landmark release.
Kanye Cursed Out Noah "40" ShebibPhoto by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
So Far Gone being heavily influenced by Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak is a fact etched in hip-hop stone. That is why producer Noah "40" Shebib's story about a passive-aggressive Kanye getting mad at him is still priceless eight years later.
"‘Ye cussed me out one day about jacking his sound," said 40 in a 2010 Vibe interview. "'40, I don’t think you should be in the studio right now because you might just hear my new shit and subconsciously steal my new shit and it wouldn’t even be your fault.' I can’t even be mad at him because the last CD I listened to was 808s & Heartbreak before I started doing So Far Gone."
The Mixtape's Title Came From Oliver El-Khatib
Oliver El-Khatib is the OVO mastermind. Besides managing Drake's career and the branding behemoth that is October's Very Own, he also inspired the name of Drizzy's mixtape. In a 2009 Complex interview, Drake described how the title came to be.
"The whole tape extends from one of my closest friends, Oliver [El-Khatib]," said Drake. "One night, we were having a discussion about women and the way we were talking about them, it was so brazen and so disrespectful. He texted me right after we got off the phone and he was like, 'Are we becoming the men that our mothers divorced?'... We're good guys, I'm friends with some real good people and for him to even text me after we got off the phone it just showed we have a conscience. But sometimes you just get so far gone."
Drake Weirdly Premiered Songs For Ben Baller
Drake previewing his album in the passenger seat of Ben Baller's car is 2009 Aubrey at his finest. He name-drops the Blogspot link where fans can download the album. Future the Prince is awkwardly sitting in the back like a Canadian version of Driving Miss Daisy. The only thing that could make this video better is if Drake previewed "Ignant Shit" in a hotel room.
Wait, he did.
The Cover Was Inspired By An Advertisement
In a 2016 Complex interview, the illustrator Darkie explained how the design of So Far Gone was based on an advertisement from a famous weekly newspaper.
"Oliver gave me free reign to come up with something," said Darkie. "I sent him a bunch of art that I said I would love to flip and he selected the Economist ad. I flipped the text and instead of a spider the kid was curious about, we added money and hearts. It just felt right with the vibe of the mixtape."
40 Thought "Best I Ever Had" Was Corny
Noah "40" Shebib wasn't wrong almost a decade ago. "Best I Ever Had" was corny then and now. Lines like "Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin' with no make-up on" sound incredibly dated in 2018, but nine years ago, they were the pinnacle of rap sincerity.
"I didn’t know it was going to be big," said 40 in a 2014 XXL interview. "I thought it was kind of corny. I thought it stuck out on the tape and I was a little nervous whether or not it should be on there."
Drake Admitted He'd Never Make Another So Far GonePhoto by Chris Polk/AMA2009/Getty Images for DCP
Two years removed from the release of his breakout mixtape, Drake was still answering questions about making another project like So Far Gone. In a 2011 interview with MTV News, the Toronto rapper laid those questions to rest.
"So Far Gone was just a moment in time, so I can never return to that," said Drake. "And for people who value that moment in time, nothing will ever be as good as that because that’s your favorite moment in time."
Drake Learned How To Rap From A Guy In Prison Named PovertyPhoto by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
The world has a rapper named Poverty to thank for inspiring a young Aubrey Graham to pick up a pen and pad.
"How I got into rapping was, my dad was in jail for two years," said Drizzy in a 2009 Complex interview. "At the time, I was probably 16 or 17. This dude was like 20-22, and he would always rap to me over the phone; it was Poverty, that was his rap name. After a while, I started to get into it and I started to write my own shit down. And after a while, he would call me and we would just rap to each other. And after my dad got out, I kept in touch with dude and kept writing my shit down."
40 Yelled At Drake About Champagne Before Making "The Calm"
"The Calm" is still one of Drake's most personal songs. During the opening verse, Graham raps, "Please leave me alone / Drunk off champagne / Screamin' in the phone." That line and the rest of the song is true, according to Drake's engineer, 40.
"He was distraught one night and showed up with $1,000 worth of champagne, and I’m cussing at him because we’re all broke and trying to make this shit work," 40 told GQ in 2011. "Meanwhile, he’s renting Phantoms and shit. It’s all documented."
Later in the interview, 40 discusses how he witnessed Drake getting into an argument with his uncle that inspired the story fans hear on "The Calm."
Money Was An Issue During The Making Of So Far Gone
In a 2009 MTV News interview with Shaheem Reid about the making of "Successful," Drake is candid about the financial strain his family experienced during the making of the mixtape.
"When I was going through the creative process for So Far Gone, I was actually at a pretty dark place in my life," said Drake. "It was a frustrating time for my family, because my grandmother — who is now in her mid-to late 90s — was just losing it. It was hard for my mother to watch. And it was just, it was really at a point where it was like, 'Is this rap thing going to work?' Like, 'Is this my choice? Is this what I am committing to?' Money was an issue. Degrassi had ended years ago, and we were just all kind of trying to figure stuff out."