Last year, I wrote a semi-guide for people who are subjects of interviews and I included this note:
“Hollywood has made you believe that your saying “off the record” means I’m somehow legally obligated to put my pen down and ignore what you say. That’s just simply not the case. The phrase “off the record” is just a series of words that don’t mean anything and aren’t legally binding whatsoever.”
Drake obviously didn’t read that article or receive the proper media training because he apparently said some things about Kanye West to his Rolling Stone reporter that he thought was off the record. And he paid the price for it, as he’s probably ruffled Kanye and Fabolous’ feathers…something Drake does not want any part of.
Their patched-up friendship doesn’t exclude criticism. For instance, Drake says that he was ambivalent about Kanye’s last album, “Yeezus.” “There were some real questionable bars on there,” he says. “Like that ‘Swaghili’ line? Come on, man. Even Fabolous wouldn’t say some shit like that.” But Drake says he speaks from a bedrock of deep respect. “Kanye’s the reason I’m here. I love everything about that guy.”
Drake has denied speaking about Yeezus for the “interview portion” of the feature, tweeting then deleting a few of the messages (but not before the Internet could save them first).
Here’s where Drake messed up. He should understand that the entire time the journalist is with him, he’s in the “interview portion.” If Drake doesn’t want his words put in a magazine, he just shouldn’t say anything.
But, as always, there are two sides here. While it’s not illegal or immoral for Rolling Stone to publish Drake’s words if he’s not actively conducting an interview, the magazine is walking a tight rope. Last year, they did the same thing to Serena Williams, publishing her obviously aloof comments about sexual assault. Rolling Stone doesn’t want to build a reputation as a magazine celebrities can’t trust or need to be careful around. Sure, they’re making headlines and selling copies in the short run, but their reputation* stands to lose a lot by continuing to betray their subjects’ trust.
In the end, Drake made a rookie mistake and Rolling Stone is looking amateur in turn. What may be more important is the fact that Drake is learning the pitfalls of upper echelon fame that’s been driving people like Kanye crazy all these years. We’ll see how well Drake can handle this level of scrutiny and if he can keep up his image he’s carefully crafted in the meantime.
Rolling Stone has yet to respond to Drake’s allegations.
* — Who am I kidding? They put that Boston bomber on the cover and made him look like a pop star, so f*ck these guys already, right?