Successful

Album: So Far Gone (2009)
Charted: 17
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Songfacts®:

  • This was the second single released from Canadian rapper Drake's third mixtape, So Far Gone.
  • This song features Drake's friend Trey Songz and his mentor Lil Wayne.
  • Drake recalled to MTV News the first time he heard Noah '40' Shebib's beat: "I remember hearing the record and the drums coming together, and they were just so rocking. It has this pocket, and there was no melody yet. I remember [Noah '40' Shebib] kind of making the joint, and then he hit this sound, which is the chords that are in there. It was so eerie. Like it was haunting, almost. I was like, 'Yo, that's it. You need to use that.' He started playing this patch, and just every note that he played fell into place. I had this beat sitting here that I love so much, and I didn't know what to do with it. I loved it. Sometimes, as an artist, you find a musical piece that you love so much, you want to do it justice. It's a very overwhelming feeling at times. I actually turned to Trey Songz, and I was like, 'Yo, I got this joint, and I know how it makes me feel. I just don't know how to say it the right way.'"
  • Songz told MTV News about his involvement in the song "Drake told me back in January he was gonna do another mixtape. At first, he was calling me about interludes and trying to segue his singing into his rapping. That didn't work out, because we couldn't come to terms about what records I was going to be on. Then he sent me this track one night. I was in the studio when he sent it. He said, 'Let me know what you think about it.' It was simplistic, but it knocks. It's eerie, it's dark. The first thing I laid down was the gothic, reverb-driven harmony: 'arrrgh, arrrgh, arrrgh.' I couldn't think of what I wanted to hear on it, so I did a whole bunch of harmonies."
    Songz then came up with the hook: He remembered: "The first thing that came to mind was 'I want the money, money and the cars/ Cars and the clothes/ The ho's/ I suppose I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful.' When I'm saying all that, conceptually for me, the deepest part of the record was when I say, 'I suppose.' I supposed that's what success is about. That's what [we're] led to believe."
    Drake recalled: "I opened it up in my e-mail, and I heard this hook, and it was so powerful to me, because he says all these things: 'I want the money, money and the cars.' And it's like, it's almost like it made me feel like it may not be right what I want, you know? All these things, it's like it made me feel young. It kind of made me feel ignorant to the game. But it was an exciting record even though the tempo is slow. That's what I want. That's what I've been told is success: 'The money, the cars, the clothes and the ho's. I suppose.' The 'I suppose' moment in there is like, it's almost like you're doubting yourself for a second. But at the end of the day, I just want to be successful. So that's what the record meant to me."
  • Drake explained to MTV News the lyric, "My mother tried to run away from home, but I left something in the car, so I caught her in the driveway. And she cried to me, so I cried too/ And my stomach was soaking wet, she's only 5'2." He said: "When I was going through the creative process for So Far Gone, I was actually at a pretty dark place in my life. It was a frustrating time for my family, because my grandmother - who is now in her mid- to late 90s - was just losing it. It was hard for my mother to watch. And it was just, it was really at a point where it was like, 'Is this rap thing going to work?' Like, 'Is this my choice? Is this what I am committing to?' Money was an issue. Degrassi [which Drake starred on as a teen] had ended years ago, and we were just all kind of trying to figure stuff out.
    So my mother was going through a rough time. And yeah, man, one night she just broke down and tried to actually run away from the house, tried to leave it all behind. It was just a lot going on, and she never would have really left. She would've always come back, but it was just a frustrating moment for her. So I had forgot something in my car, and I came outside and I saw bags sitting by her car. I saw her out there, and she just started crying right away when she saw me. Anyway, I don't wanna get too emotional, but I had to hug her. My father doesn't stay with us, so I had to be security for her and just let her know that everything is going to be all right."
  • The first six songs of the So Far Gone mixtape tells the story of a relationship that Drake was in. He told ShockHound that this track is his direct speech to her. He explained: "It says, 'I just want to be successful.' It's an actual conversation that I had with Trey Songz when I felt trapped in this relationship. I told him, 'I really want to make this work. I want to be successful, and I want to feel like I'm doing everything I can to achieve that.'"

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