Drake says he never experienced racism until he came to America when his music career hit it big.
The performer made the revelation at a post-Grammys interview with Beats 1’s OVO Sound Radio, which aired Saturday, Feb. 18. When asked if his experience as a performer with mixed parentage affected him (his mother his Jewish and his father is Black), he said in Canada, much of the culture is blended.
“I always had friends from all different backgrounds, all different walks of life, we all get along,” Drake told the radio host. “I never really notice color, religion. We don’t live like that. There’s not that much segregation in Canada, especially in Toronto. It’s a cultural mosaic. You don’t ever develop hate.”
He also discussed his trouble with integrating into the American rap industry, not because of his race, but more so because of his nationality.
“The first time I really experienced [racism] was when I got famous and went to America and people would challenge me like I don’t understand how it works or like, ‘Oh, you’re Canadian. You’ll never understand the Black American struggle,'” he said. “That was the first time I had ever gotten challenged. If I ever feel like an outsider it’s usually because I’m not American.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Drake said he felt his newly won Grammys in the Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance categories for his hit single “Hotline Bling” made him feel “alienated.”
“I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song,” he said. “The only category they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m Black. I can’t figure out why.”
Drake noted he wants “to be like Michael Jackson” and lamented the fact that he doesn’t get credit for writing pop songs.
“I don’t even want them because it just feels weird for some reason,” Drake explained of his Grammy wins. “It just doesn’t feel right to me. I feel almost alienated or [like they’re] trying to purposely alienate me by making me win rap awards or pacify me by handing me something and putting me in that category because it’s the only place where you can figure out where to put me.”