If you’re reading this, it’s not too late to become one of Drake’s devoted fans

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If you’re reading this, it’s not too late to become one of Drake’s devoted fans

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With Drake’s latest album “Views” selling just over 1 million copies, the champagne papi, as he’s known on Instagram, is proving he’s come a long way from his days of playing Jimmy on the Canadian TV show “Degrassi.”

Drake’s success is further hyped after scoring his first No. 1 single “One Dance,” the release of his OVO x Air Jordan 6 “Hot 100s” shoes and anticipation for his Summer Sixteen tour with Future.

Even though Drake might now be the hottest name in popular music, he owes his success to his devoted fans. Whether his message is the importance of good relationships, or proving the haters wrong, the fan base the rapper has built over the years is impressive.

Diana Gutierrez, a DePaul senior, has been following Drake for eight years now. Gutierrez was able to acknowledge the rapper’s potential from the start of his career, and has maintained her loyalty because of the artist’s relatable lyrics and the message behind his words.

“The album that did it for me was ‘So Far Gone,’ because it was so early in his career and he was already doing great things,” Gutierrez said. “He was connecting on a whole level that I had no idea existed. He says what I can’t say. He explains things as a story. He breaks down problems that people are having, either in a relationship, career or social life, and then he says ‘It’s okay, don’t forget why I’m here.’ It calms me.”

In honor of the rapper, Joe’s on Weed Street in Wicker Park hosted a house party dedicated exclusively to Drake fans. Gutierrez was unable to attend the event, but said that if Drizzy is in the building, she will do anything to be in attendance.

#VIEWS

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“I haven’t missed a Drake concert since he started touring around Chicago,” Gutierrez said. “I’ll be in Mexico for Chicago’s tour (date this year). Instead of flying back to Chicago, I’m willing to go to Toronto. I’ve never missed, and this year is not going to be the year.”

While some fans like Gutierrez have a dedication for Drake, others including freshman Alex Bednar said that if you haven’t heard Drake’s music, it’s still not too late.

“I got into him this year. Listening to ‘Take Care’ for the first time blew me away,” Bednar said. “I had these pre-established ideas of what rap was. What Drake brings to the table is he’s not afraid to delve into his personal emotions.”

Drake’s personal touch has led many to criticize the rapper for being too soft, especially by fellow rapper Meek Mill. Bednar said he thinks the freshness Drake offers may be offsetting, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a negative characteristic.

“Whenever anything new comes into the music scene, it’s commonly criticized just for it being different,” Bednar said. “With it being new, it’s opening the doors to this new generation of upcoming rap artists. What it means to be a fan of Drake is to have that excitement and flare over hip-hop, and also realizing how being open about emotions can fuel this combination fo R&B and rap together.”

Sophomore Cree Noble, who frequently mentions Drake on her popular culture Radio DePaul show ChiCiTea, said she appreciates the artist not only for his vulnerability but also his soothing words during difficult times.

“I love to see a rapper show emotion; I find it more authentic,” Noble said. “Drake isn’t afraid to show his intimate and emotional side. Drake helped me with my current relationship. His song ‘From Time’ was really our anthem.”

As much as Noble credits Drake for his emotional music, she doesn’t hesitate to remind the rapper not to forget where he started.

“If it was not for ‘Degrassi,’ there would be no Drake,” Noble said. “Drake needs to return to his roots and act, because when he got shot in the back (in his role on ‘Degrassi’), I felt that this boy would one day win an Oscar.”

With “Views” still pulling in record-breaking numbers, and rumors spreading of a new album in the making, Gutierrez wonders what the hip-hop artist will do next.

“People are starting to see him more than just a rapper and singer,” Gutierrez said. “That’s frightening to say ‘what’s the next step,’ but I think that’ll keep all the Drake fans on their toes.”