Aubrey Graham, Champagne Papi, 6 god, The Boy, whether you proclaim to be a Drake fan or a steadfast contrarian of his hip-hop prowess, when Drizzy drops a song, you listen.
The night the Toronto Drake’s- I mean Raptors, won the 2019 NBA World Championship in what will become the shortest-lived 12-hour dynasty, Toronto’s unofficial Mayor released two new songs from his The Best In The World Pack. “Money in the Grave” featuring Rick Ross and “Omertà”.
“Omertà” is peak braggadocios Drake, spitting rhymes like: “I plan to buy your most personal belongings when they up for auction. Man, truth be told, I think about it often. The petty king, the overseer of many things. I wish that I was playin' in a sport where we were gettin' rings. I wouldn't have space on either hand for anything”. Flame emoji everywhere and a reminder that Drake or whoever you think writes for him has a way of putting words together.
As I was bobbing my head, dissecting every word looking for a Pusha-T connection, one thing in particular stood out - Drake’s recent elitism when it comes to his dining preferences
Just three years prior on 2016’s Views, Drake was proclaiming to his scorned girlfriend just how much he loves Cheesecake Factory and all its suburban patrons.
Apparently all it took was three years perfecting his beard/fade combo and winning an NBA championship, for Drake to compare Benihana, which is in the same class of eating as Cheesecake Factory, to pigeon food.
My interest in Jimmy’s gastro desires didn’t stop there. In fact, it ignited a new question to pose in the never-ending argument over Drake’s identity. Instead of looking at his disdain for Benihanas while favoring Cheesecake Factory as proof of the dissonance between who Drake raps to be and who he actually is, I saw it as an example of his evolving personhood.
After spending a copious amount of hours I’m too embarrassed to admit listening to every Drake song for any mention of food, here is a timeline of hip-hops’ golden boy’s stomach.
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
KD, as in Kraft Dinners. Drake has never been shy when it comes to expressing his affection for his mother. He’s referenced her in songs like “Look What You’ve Done”; telling her, “You get the operation you dreamed of and I finally send you to Rome. I get to make good on my promise. It all worked out, girl, we shoulda known. Cause you deserve it.” So this Kraft Mac & Cheese jab is surprising. Not quite a “Duppy Freestyle”, but Drake definitely aired out his mothers’ deficient cooking skills.
Up & Coming Drake
Applebees and Outback
Chain restaurants, the fuel of middle America. Like the Mac & Cheese verse, Drake is reflecting on the bottom from which he started. Sharing an inspiring story about his path to stardom alongside his close friend and road manager, Gibbo, he’s reminiscing to a time when the pair weren’t chartering flights, let alone flying first-class, but getting those two free bags on Southwest. Far from being an endorsement of Outback or Applebees’ food quality, this is a lesson on humility, sacrifice, budgeting, and friendship. Only build with people who will order an Applebees 2 for $20 with you.
You too can book a dinner reservation at the acclaimed French Laundry in Napa Valley; if you are a prominent food blogger or get lucky enough to be added to the over two month queue. Even then, landing a reservation is like finding Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. The coveted wait will give you time to save up for the $270 per person dinner.
To-go sushi on the first date? Not the most romantic, but as the songs notes, at the request of the young woman.
2012, young Drizzy, but developed enough to enjoy a pasta dish a step up from Kraft Mac & Cheese.
Swish by Han, Joso’s, Ristorante Sotto Sotto,
A slight linguistic controversy with this one. Some lyrical analysts believe Drake is saying “Swish” as in the upscale Toronto Korean-fusion eatery Swish by Han, which closed down in 2014. Others believe he’s saying Swiss, a late night equivalent of TGIF Friday’s where you can get chicken wings and fries at 2 am.
Traditional Italian spots Ristorante Sotto Sotto and Joso’s are perfect backdrops for the crime family gatherings Drake is fascinated with. 2018’s Scorpion has a song titled “Mob Ties” and this year’s “Omertà” Drake raps, “ethics and values, mob traditions, old fashioned Monopoly action”. According to Rap Genius, Omertà is a mafia practice that requires a silent oath in regards to “illegal activities or unlawful practices, regardless of the consequences”. He even compares himself to Marlon Brando’s famed character on “Going Bad”: “Don Corleone. Trust me, at the top it isn't lonely”.
Joso’s and its Godfather aesthetic is where Drake shot the infamously moody album cover for 2011’s Take Care. Fans and tourist go to the restaurant all the time to reenact the photo. So next time you’re planning a trip to Toronto, make sure you fit that in.
More important than chicken, Drake is dismantling outdated gender roles by heading the cooking while his female counterpart is tasked with the clean up.
Lobster and Shrimp
If Beyonce can go to Red Lobster, Drake can go to Red Lobster.
Although Drake does have a penchant for below average chain restaurants, there’s never a reason to purposefully go to a Hooters. Especially in Atlanta where you can find actual good chicken wings and beautiful women anywhere. Drake was solely there for Courtney.
By this point, Drake has talked about seafood so much that we shall now call him Shellfish Papi. Nobu Malibu, with all the views Drake lives for, is apparently the only sushi spot for rappers. The name is so rhyme-able that it comes up at least a few times a year in various verses.
V-Live’s Alfredo Pasta
And another mafia reference. Drake spent a lot of time at two places in the early part of his career; Houston and strip clubs. The popular strip club frequented by athletes and rappers alike even served as the set for the “Child’s Play” video. The definition of art imitating life.
Unfortunately, after the cameras went away, V-Live was shut down. Besides the owners owing the state of Texas over two hundred thousand dollars in unpaid taxes, a string of Grand Theft Auto type mishaps occurred in a 6-month span.
March of 2016, there was a drive-by shooting where the valet was robbed at gunpoint. June of 2016, Moses Malone Jr., son of NBA Legend Moses Malone, was attacked and robbed by a group of armed men. Then finally in September of 2016, two patrons were shot. Thankfully no one was killed, but it wasn’t a great look for the business.
Although V-Live no longer lives, the club can say it made an impact while it lasted. In the words of their most loyal customer, Drake himself: “here for a good time, not a long time."
Location: Unknown. Cost? Your life. Seems dramatic, but we’ll take Drake’s word for it.
Sotto Cincinnati (But with Serena Williams)
“I mean you kinda look like that girl from the U.S. Open” is what Drake said back in 2010 on J. Cole’s “In the morning”. So it wasn’t a shock when rumors surfaced that Drake and Serena were spending time together. He’d been manifesting their romance for years.
In August of 2015, TMZ released this grainy photo of the two together doing their best Lady and The Tramp impression at Sotto Cincinnati . Their public relationship came and went after Drake distracted her at the US Open costing her another Grand Slam. Has to make you wonder how bad Serena beat Drake in a match after he bragged on “Worst Behavior” that he could “beat Serena when she’s playing with her left”.
While Drake is a lover, he likes his options. So the deep attachment to an establishment where you can get gumbo and Thai coconut lime chicken at the same time is very on-brand. The tragedy of Cheesecake Factory is that out of the 250 food options you can order, the only item they do well is the brown bread. That’s it.
Nobu (Again) and Milestones
Again, an example of Drake’s food politics. Milestones is essentially a Canadian Yardhouse. And as we’ve seen, Drake’s cuisine’s choice is directly correlated to his level of interest in you; the way to his heart is in fact through his stomach.
So if you ever find yourself spending time with Drake and he suggests Milestones, don’t go. He doesn’t like you that much.
Giorgio Baldi, Madeo, Calamari Rings and Tomato
The Robyn he’s referring to is the one and only Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty. Santa Monica’s Giorgio Baldi is the celebrity mecca for Italian food and according to Drake, Rihanna’s favorite. Meanwhile he prefers Madeo Ristorante in Beverly Hills.
Gene's PO-Boys and Dat Dog
“In My Feelings” dominated Summer ‘18. An ode to The Jewel City, the song’s producer Trap Money Benny implemented the New Orleans Bounce sound using samples from the late Magnolia Shorty. With the song’s success, Drizzy knew he had to have an even bigger video. After an opening scene starring the legendary actress Phylicia Rashad, Drake is seen gallivanting the town with the most New Orleans Young Money Cash Money Grill he could find.
Highlighting local neighborhood like Frenchman Street and Hollygrove, the video tries to capture an authentic NOLA. And being the foodie Drake is, he made sure to add Gene’s ‘Po-Boys and Dat Dog to the list of local places to visit.
The two dives that serve exactly what their names suggest, ‘po boys and hot dogs.