Started From The Bottom

Album: Nothing Was the Same (2013)
Charted: 25 6


  • The first official single from Drake's third album was leaked on his October's Very Own blog on February 1, 2013. He said at the time: "I feel sometimes that people don't have enough information about my beginnings and therefore they make up a life story for me that isn't consistent with actual events. My family and my second family (consisting of the best friends anybody could ever have) all struggled and worked extremely hard to make all this happen. I did not buy my way into this spot and it was the furthest thing from easy to achieve. I am proud of every part of my past and I'm excited for this song to find a place in your life as well."

    Drake added, "I didn't feel I needed any interviews or radio or press to launch this song. It felt right to come back to the site that I started on and release it to the people that started here with me."
  • Drake reveals on the song a frustration that because he didn't come out of the ghetto like some other rappers, he is portrayed as never having struggled. "Boys tell stories 'bout the man," he spits. "Say I never struggled, wasn't hungry, yeah I doubt it n---a."
  • Producer Mike Zombie created the sinister-sounding soundscape, over which Drake raps in a more menacing tone than usual presumably to highlight his early struggles.
  • Directed by Little X, the song's music video finds Drake starting at the bottom in a pharmacy before being promoted to night manager. By the end of the clip he is flying the skies in a private jet. It was the clip for Psy's "Gangnam Style" that inspired the epic nature of the visual. "It's been a long time since people had seen a big video," Little X explained to MTV News. "His conversation with me, even when we did 'HYFR,' was that music videos didn't have the impact that they used to have. Drake came up watching the videos that I made, and all of us made back in those days [when] Busta Rhymes was being chased by elephants, Diddy was jumping out of helicopters, driving Hummers in the desert and dancing with Jennifer Lopez.

    "Videos were massive events back then and that didn't exist anymore," he continued. "'Gangnam Style' kinda brought a bit of that back, so I guess that hyped him up... doing something large and exciting and something that people would wanna see and talk about."
  • The video is a celebration of Drake and his team's journey from the bottom to life on top. "We just wanted everyone to feel the fun of it all," said Little X. "For me it was always a celebration. Just what he said, 'started from the bottom' and now we're here - so I was in the world of we're here. Especially after we get past that moment in Shoppers [Drug Mart], we start hitting you with that life that they're living right now."
  • Drake told the July 2013 edition of GQ magazine regarding this cut: "I think a lot of people wish their favorite rapper wrote it, as if a song like that should be gangster, but I was the one who wrote it, and everyone has their bottom."
  • This won Best Video at the 2013 BET Awards. Drake also won the viewers' choice award after being nominated for 12 prizes. The ceremony celebrates black actors, athletes and musicians as part of the US cable TV network, Black Entertainment Television.
  • Drake performed the song for the first time on television live during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on August 25, 2013.
  • Drake references his motto of "no new friends" in the bridge. The phrase also was used as the title of a DJ Khaled single, which Drizzy prominently featured:

    "No new ni--as, ni--a we don't feel that
    F--k a fake friend, where you real friends at?"

    "I'll be out trying to get a sandwich or something and the guy will say to me, 'I'd give you a free drink with that, but you know, no new friends,'" Drake told Billboard magazine with a laugh. "I swear I'm not sitting around going, 'What's the new meme going to be?' But I do spend a lot of time when I'm writing, especially lately, trying to make something for people to live by. I'm trying to make anthems that are empowering to people, to find phrases that I haven't heard before. I'm not just going to sit here and be like, 'Fu--in' bitches, getting money!'"
  • Nothing was the Same's artwork was created by the Southern California artist Kadir Nelson, who also designed Michael Jackson's posthumous album, Michael. The two-part piece features a profile of Drizzy as a child with an afro comb in his hair, looking directly at an adult version of the Toronto rapper/singer adorned with a gold chain. Drake explained to MTV News that the artwork represents that his "most clean, concise thoughts from now, and my best recollection of [the past]."

    "I wanted to give people something that they'd be like, 'I'll never forget this right here," he added. "It's vibrant and there's something about it that captures you, and I think that's kinda how this album sounds."
  • Drake was inspired to write "Started From The Bottom" after hearing Jay Z and Kanye West's Watch The Throne track "Niggas in Paris" for the the first time. He recalled to Rolling Stone: "I was like, 'How did I not think of that?' – 'Ball so hard, that s--t cray!' It was real rap s--t, but it felt melodic; all the cadences felt so good." The Toronto MC added that it challenged him to come up with a rapped hook just as catchy as a sung one and he came up with this song.

Comments: 1

  • Nick from Ludlow, MaThe song is a joke but the beat is dope as hell.
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