Pop Life

All the Houston References On Drake's Nothing Was the Same

Today Drake will officially crown himself the current king of not only the rap charts, but moving the needle (both on and offline) with the release of his third album, Nothing Was the Same. The buzz around the rapper, ne Aubrey Graham, has swelled to almost insane levels thanks to Nothing's album art, which was ridiculed; the single "Wu-Tang Forever," which of course pissed off rap traditionalists to no end; and Drake's long-running infatuation with being the rapping/singing pop star du jour.

These are all necessary qualifications for any buzzworthy album, but something else goes without saying -- Drake loves Houston to death. No one man has flown a more appreciative Canuck flag for Houston than Drake, and little reminders of that are all over Nothing Was the Same.

Unlike, for example, A$AP Rocky or a few others who find themselves enamored with H-Town culture, Drake has been in the city enough not only to know established antiques, but inhabitants and then some. He's an honorary Houstonian whether you want to admit it or not.

With that, we open up our NWTS lyric sheet to read every major Houston reference like a seance. Trust us, it goes way beyond "Connect" on these parts.

SONG: "FROM TIME" 1. "Thinkin' bout Texas/ Back when Porsche used to work at Treasures"

Before it started losing its luster thanks to police raids, stories of prostitution and drugs, and so on, Treasures was a pretty popular Westheimer strip club on the Westheimer strip, a few minutes away from the Galleria. We all know our share of Porsche's though, some strip, some go to college and make something of themselves.

While we've never been inside Treasures, we know for damn sure something went on in there to make it a weekly topic on the local news. Oh, if you were using your "Drake Loves Strippers" drinking game there, take a shot.

2. "Or further back than that/ Before I had the Houston leverage"

Let's take it back to 2008, shall we? A year before So Far Gone changed the course of his life, Drake was pretty much like any other rapper -- a kid who wanted to be heard and taken seriously. So, strippers are probably the safest people to having judge-free conversations with, due to the fact that they, well, bare everything on a near-nightly basis.

Three songs into his conversation with Porsche, Drake immediately realizes she may not have his best interests at heart when she says he'll never be bigger than Trey Songz. Come a long way from "Replacement Girl," haven't we?

More Drake, more Houston on the next page.

3. "Now it's therapeutic/ Blowin' money in the Galleria"

The Galleria is Houston's biggest mall and one of the best malls in America, according to many reports. Is this where Drake stole his mom's credit card to buy Michael Kors for chicks? Possibly. Then again, it's the same mall that back in February looked like its own city during All-Star Weekend.


4. "281 to my city/ Heard you had trouble at customs..."

Drake is no stranger to flying chicks out. He's no stranger to the 713/281/832 area codes that happen to make up much of greater Houston, either. See a pattern here? Flying Houston strippers up to Toronto is one thing. Knowing that they have to clear customs is an entirely different matter.


5. "Like H-Town in the summertime, I keep it 100/ Met a lot of girls in my times there/ Word to Paul Wall, not one fronted"

This can be interpreted as a double entendre, possibly even triple if you want to dive that deep. First off we know it's ungodly hot in Houston during the summers, so the temperature hovering near 100 degrees makes sense. Drake also keeps it real, hence the phrase "Keep It 100," but also it's the namesake of Houston rapper OneHunnidt. Drake shouts out Onehunnidt's brother JJ (né Jonathan Johnson) on 2010's "Miss Me," released the same year JJ died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Also, there's the Paul Wall connection. Wall is someone who can vouch for Drake getting girls in Houston and none of them giving him the curve. Which is kind of hard to believe considering who we're talking about, but still.

6. "Backstage at Warehouse in '09 like, 'Is Bun coming?/ Fuck that, is anyone coming 'fore I show up there and there's no one there?'/ These days, I could probably pack it for like 20 nights if I go in there"

Here's the one that made everybody who works at Warehouse Live jump for absolute joy. In 2009, Drake had his first Houston show ever at Warehouse Live. (There's video evidence of this happening.) While he was wondering about how the crowd would receive him, he was also wondering about the ace up his sleeve in Bun B coming out.

It's no secret Bun is the most omnipresent being in the entire city of Houston. Name a decent rap show in the city and he'll magically appear with a fitted hat, his favorite pair of sneakers that day and an elder-statesman reverence about him. Of course Bun appeared from backstage to perform "Uptown" with Drake.

These days, a Drake concert at Warehouse Live would be absolute pandemonium. The venue's ballroom, which holds approximately 1,500-2,000 people, pales in comparison to the city's largest venue for rap acts, Toyota Center. (To date, no rap act has held a solo show inside Reliant Stadium, the city's biggest venue.) Drake could probably sell out 20 dates in that intimate setting with no questions asked.

But 2009 Drake and 2013 Drake are not even the same person, nor are they even in the same area codes in terms of popularity.


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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell