Drake

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People are confused by Drake’s new album name

(Image: musicisentropy/Flickr)

(Image: musicisentropy/Flickr)

On Tuesday, Billboard revealed that the name of Drake’s still-unrecorded next album will be Views From the 6—and then confusion set in. Unlike the rapper’s previous album titles, which have been intelligible if slightly cryptic (Take Care, Nothing Was the Same), this one is so open to interpretation that even Billboard didn’t know quite what to make of it. And that’s despite a preponderance of evidence that it’s just a sly reference to the last digit in Toronto’s area code.

Even so, not everyone is convinced.

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Events

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The World-Class Toronto Summer Guide: 14 things that are worth sticking around for

The World-Class Toronto Summer Guide: 14 things worth sticking around for

Click to view gallery (Image: Katrin Ray Shumakov/Getty)

What’s one of the best things to do in Toronto this summer? If you can, get out of Toronto. See the world. Find another city’s heat and construction and transit problems to keep you occupied—preferably a city that’s got a globally recognized art gallery or museum or horse race or something. Of course, if you find yourself stuck in the city all season, that’s okay: there’s a lot going on here that, if you squint your eyes and hold your nose (and sometimes, even if you don’t do either) could actually be comparable to all the world-class things you’d find elsewhere. You want art? We’ve got some! Ancient Chinese artifacts? You know it. Exotic fish? Sure, that too. We’re not suggesting you tear up your plane tickets or anything. But we do think that this summer, Toronto might just be able to compete with the big boys. Here, a brief guide to just some of what’s exceptional in this city—and how it stacks up against other big-ticket events around the world.

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Sports

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In honour of Drake’s pants, the Toronto Raptors are giving out free lint rollers tonight

(Image: Drake: Drake/Instagram; roller: k.steudel)

(Image: Drake: Drake/Instagram; roller: k.steudel)

After Drake‘s famous pants de-linting episode during game two of the Toronto Raptors’ playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, this was inevitable. According to the Star, fans at tonight’s game five, at the ACC, will have their pick of two different lint-roller giveaways. There will be 1,200 official OVO/Raptors-branded rollers from Bounce, and IKEA has announced that it will be handing out some lint rollers of its own. Even deputy mayor Norm Kelly is hip to this emerging lintlessness fad, so popular with the youth.

And so, no matter the outcome of tonight’s game, the loser will be lint.

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Sports

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VIDEO: Drake uses a lint roller on his pants at last night’s Raptors playoff game

After all the Toronto Raptors publicity stunts we’ve seen during the past few days, this 10-second clip of Drake meticulously de-fuzzing his pants at Tuesday night’s Raps-versus-Nets playoff game seems to have finally done the trick. The internet is laughing at the rapper’s fastidiousness (he’s so non-threatening that even pet hair isn’t scared of him), but we totally get why he’d want to be lint-free. The cred of an entire sports empire is in those pants.

UPDATE: The video we originally embedded has been removed from YouTube. This new one is zoomed-out, but Drake is still visible in the background. Or, check out this giant animated GIF.

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People

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Drake is being sued over a beating at Rob Ford’s favourite nightclub

(Image: Drake/Instagram)

(Image: Drake/Instagram)

Drake is now the second Tononto-area music superstar to have recently been taken to court over an alleged assault in Toronto—the difference being that he, unlike Justin Bieber, isn’t the one who supposedly administered the beating. The story, according to the Globe, goes like this:

In August 2012, a man named Akiel Catwell was at Muzik Nightclub, a late-night venue at Exhibition Place, for an afterparty related to Drake’s annual OVOFest. After last call, Catwell claims he was walking outside with his girlfriend when he came across Waka Flocka Flame, the Atlanta-based rapper. Catwell’s girlfriend posed for a picture with Mr. Flame, and then, for reasons unclear, the rapper’s bodyguards beat Catwell into unconsciousness, breaking three of his teeth in the process. (The details of the beating haven’t been proven in court.)

Now, Catwell is suing not only Waka Flocka Flame, but also Drake, OVO Inc., and Muzik, for $4.8 million—a sum Drake’s lawyer has called “grossly excessive.” To be clear, Drake isn’t alleged to have been anywhere near the beating; his only connection to the incident is that the night’s entertainment happened to be related to his festival.

This is only the latest in a string of newsworthy happenings at Muzik over the past few months. The nightclub has become known as a favourite hangout of Rob Ford’s. (For those keeping track, that’s Bieber, Drake, and Ford in one article: the Toronto clickbait trifecta.) Also, its owner, Zlato Starkovski, was instrumental in persuading Exhibition Place’s board to ban electronic dance music events in city-owned buildings on the Ex grounds, leaving Muzik as the only sizeable EDM venue in the area.

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Sports

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VIDEO: this new Raptors ad is kind of amazing

raptors-ad

Suddenly, Drake’s “global ambassador” deal with the Toronto Raptors makes perfect sense. The video below, released on YouTube yesterday, looks and sounds like a Nike ad. It’s perfectly calibrated to stoke national pride—the tagline is “We The North”—while at the same time imbuing the Raptors with ineffable cool through the magic of symbolism. (There’s a wolf! And a basketball net on fire!)

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Features

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Sin City with snow: secrets of Toronto’s VIP club scene

When hip-hop and NBA stars want a good time, they call party queen Mona Halem. Inside a decadent world of $700 champagne, secret guest lists and hordes of beautiful women

Toronto's Party Queen

Mona Halem at Uniun nightclub in March

On a Monday night last August, half the hip-hop world showed up unannounced in Toronto: Lil Wayne, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Big Sean, French Montana, Mase, TLC. All had agreed to perform as surprise guests at Drake’s annual concert, OVO Fest, which, like all things Drake, has become wildly successful. The ability to produce a roster of acts that reads like a fantasy Grammy lineup speaks to Drake’s clout, but the secrecy involved presented a practical problem: with no advance notice, nobody had organized an after-party. For this group of career ballers, it was a rare case of all blinged out and nowhere to go. Even Drizzy, who lives in Toronto for at least part of the year, was at a loss. Then someone suggested the obvious: call Mona.

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Culture

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Drake, Deadmau5, Bieber and others make the 2014 Juno nomination list

(Image: CARAS/iPhoto)

(Image: CARAS/iPhoto)

Drake arguably doesn’t need Juno Awards, what with his wealth and his mega-fame—and that’s a good thing, because he seldom wins them. Nevertheless, he’s on the just-released 2014 nomination list several times over, and so are a bunch of other Toronto artists.

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Culture

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Drake gets shut out at the 2014 Grammy Awards

(Image: Drake/Instagram)

(Image: Drake/Instagram)

Despite being nominated in five different categories—Album of the Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Album, and twice for Best Rap Song—hometown hero and occasional sketch comedian Drake didn’t win a single trophy at last night’s Grammy Awards ceremony. The rapper’s scourge was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who dominated the hip-hop categories. Album of the Year went to Daft Punk for Random Access Memories.

And so Drake’s 2013 Best Rap Album Grammy remains all by itself on his mantel. Canadians can take some solace in the fact that Michael Bublé won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album—again. Oh, and Blue Ivy got a new gold sippy cup for some reason.

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Culture

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The five best moments from Drake’s surprisingly hilarious stint on Saturday Night Live

drake-bar-mitzvah-saturday-night-live

Drake’s appearance on the January 18th edition of Saturday Night Live was pretty great. The rapper proved that he has comic timing, he demonstrated a willingness to make fun of himself, and he even managed to get in a couple of solid musical numbers between bits. Because Toronto loves him, here’s a rundown of the five best moments from the show.

1. His bar-mitzvah rap

“Jewish rapper becomes a star” sounds like the synopsis of a terrible Mel Brooks movie, but here we are. Drake’s opening monologue included a sketch with him as a bar-mitzvah boy, dressed appropriately in an ill-fitting vest and bow tie. (You can watch the sketch here.) Almost nobody else in hip hop could get away with this much self-parody, and the nod to Drake’s heritage was genuinely heartwarming. Smart, unathletic Jewish kids have never had a role model like this before.

Anyone hoping for Drake to double down on the self-deprecation with a wheelchair-Jimmy parody would have been disappointed, though: aside from a couple brief mentions, his days on Degrassi: The Next Generation weren’t much of a factor in the night’s sketches.

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Culture

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VIDEO: Ahead of his appearance on Saturday Night Live, Drake is “the saddest boy in all of Toronto”

What is it about Drake? His touch turns shoes into eBay gold, and he manages to exude pure, industrial-grade likability even when he’s pretending to be self-pitying. Proof of the latter is in this promo video, released today by NBC ahead of the rapper’s appearance on the January 18 edition of Saturday Night Live, where he’ll be both the host and the musical guest. The key moment comes about one minute in, when Bobby Moynihan (known in Canada for this bit of Fordery) asks Drake to show off the acting chops he famously honed during his years on Degrassi: The Next Generation. ”No, you broke my heart,” Drake says, in a choked-sounding voice. “And now I’m reduced to the saddest boy in all of Toron— You know what? Not even Toronto. I am the saddest boy in all of Canada.” So there you have it: he can play against type.

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Sports

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Toronto FC’s commercial for Jermain Defoe is strangely hilarious

Toronto FC’s recent acquisition of U.K. soccer star Jermain Defoe (for which we apparently have Drake to thank) may not help the team break its lifelong losing streak, but it has already had two very noticeable effects: season tickets are virtually sold out, and then there’s also this fairly entertaining commercial, shot for the team by ad agency Sid Lee. It has British people doing spit-takes—so, something for everyone, really. In reality, U.K. fans probably aren’t quite so shocked by Defoe’s decampment, especially given the $10 million incentive (which is reportedly how much his contract is worth), and considering his age. To paraphrase Brad Pitt in Moneyball, the plan appears to be for Toronto FC to squeeze the last bits of soccer out of Defoe before the 31-year-old is ready to hang up his cleats.

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Random Stuff

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UPDATED: Drake’s limited-edition Nike sneakers are going for $100,000 on eBay

(Image: Ebay)

(Image: eBay)

Apparently, anything Drake touches turns to gold—or at least salable merchandise. At Saturday’s “Drake Night” Raptors game at the ACC, the city’s ruling rap star (and Raptors “global ambassador”) bestowed gifts upon the assembled masses: 20,000 long-sleeved tees for the crowd and, for two extremely lucky plebes, a pair of as-yet-unreleased OVO Air Jordan kicks, designed by Drake in collaboration with Nike.

As previously reported, the free shirts are currently being hocked on Craigslist for up to $300. Now a pair of shoes is also up for grabs—for a cool hundred Gs. The Toronto Star reports that the sneakers were posted to eBay with a suggested starting bid of $300, which quickly snowballed to preposterous levels over the course of a few days and 153 subsequent bids. (With four days left on the auction, there’s still plenty of time for the price tag to climb even higher.) The lesson from all this, obviously, is clear: if you’re looking for a foolproof retirement plan, just get Drake to touch all your stuff.

UPDATE: It appears that Drake’s golden touch isn’t quite as powerful as it seemed. Canadian music site Aux followed up with Devon Little, one of the two Torontonians who placed the coveted sneakers on eBay and quickly drew six-digit bids. Little claimed that despite all the hoopla the shoes attracted (including interview requests from CTV and the Toronto Star and a personal telephone call from the head honcho at eBay Canada), the sky-high bids for the shoes were just a hoax.

“We started cancelling bids because obviously people were just trolling and wanted to be a part of this thing,” Little told Aux. He got in touch with the woman who won the second pair of shoes and found that her high bidders had also failed to follow through. “It was all hype,” Little said. “The market was never real.” The public’s rabid interest in the story, on the other hand, was legitand so alarming that it prompted Little to move the shoes to a safe box out of town. “I didn’t feel comfortable with the shoes in my house,” he said.

The Goods

Random Stuff

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Drake flaunts a Raptor-themed novelty jacket at Saturday’s game (and accidentally fuels a black market for free shirts)

(Images: Dave Haggith/Twitter, left; Craigslist, right)

(Images: Dave Haggith/Twitter, left; Craigslist, right)

Toronto b-ball fans and Drake devotees spent the weekend gossiping about the hip-hopper’s latest sartorial statement: a Raptors-themed suit jacket that he modeled for the media after the Toronto team’s “Drake Night” game at the ACC on Saturday. The light-brown suit topper looked ordinary enough to the unsuspecting eye. The flair was on the inside, in the form of a lining fashioned out of former Raptor Vince Carter’s rookie jersey.

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People

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Year in Review: Toronto’s 10 big winners of 2013

Who had a good year in 2013?

Plenty of Toronto’s celebrities, politicians, business leaders and sports stars are doing very well for themselves, but each year there are a few who rise above the rest by capturing imaginations both at home and around the world. Who managed to do that in 2013? Here’s our list of 10 Torontonians—seven humans and three animals—who seized everything the year had to offer.

RELATED: Check out our list of 2013′s losers »

Who had a good year in 2013?
Tatiana Maslany: Starlet

If there’s one thing Canadians are good at, it’s being smug when one of our actors gets international acclaim. So let’s be smug right now. Saskatchewan’s Tatiana Maslany blew people’s minds with her acting chops on BBC America’s Orphan Black, a sci-fi television series that’s filmed in Toronto. In the show, she plays seven different clones with wildly different personalities. Maslany received some well-deserved recognition this year, with a Critics’ Choice Television Award, a People’s Choice nomination and a Golden Globe nomination, among other distinctions.

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