News / Toronto

Drake started from the bottom and now he's at the top - of the ivory tower

A Western University student recently published an article on Drake's Canadian identity in an academic journal.

Western University graduate student Amara Pope is researching how Drake constructs a Canadian identity through his lyrics and music videos.

Eduardo Lima/Metro / Metro Order this photo

Western University graduate student Amara Pope is researching how Drake constructs a Canadian identity through his lyrics and music videos.

While most university students spent last year hunkered down in the library, Amara Pope was streaming Drake music videos for credit.

Much to her peer’s jealousy, watching the Toronto rapper’s “Started from the Bottom” video was research for a paper on Drake’s Canadian identity that Pope published in an academic journal last week.

“I was always a big Drake fan, even back when he was on Degrassi,” said the Western University media studies student. “I started analyzing music videos during my undergraduate degree and I thought it would be cool to include him in my studies.”

But first, the PhD student had to convince her professors that Drizzy was worthy of academic attention.

“I introduced them to his music. One prof wasn't a fan of ‘Hotline Bling,’ but then started sending me all the memes,” she said, noting Western’s faculty members preferred Drake’s hit “One Dance.”

Pope’s research explores how racial communities claim “ownership” over Drake and how the rapper projects a Canadian identity by using the Toronto name and skyline in his videos.

However, Pope found Drake’s Canadian side is often at odds with his references to Memphis (his father’s hometown) and his decision to drop the “u” from the spelling of his song “Worst Behavior.”

Pope’s paper was published Dec. 31. She’s already getting praise from friends, but hasn’t heard from Drake… yet.

“I’ve had zero interactions with him, but maybe one day he will see it in the newspaper,” she said laughing. “That would be awesome.”

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