Fresh off his Grammy win for “Best Rap Album,” Drake announced the title of his third album — ‘Nothing Was the Same’ — and also dropped the video for the project’s first single “Started From The Bottom.”
While Drake isn’t known for having quality videos to go along with his singles, he’s actually done pretty good with the last couple, like “HYFR“ and this one, which finds the Toronto native returning to his hometown and features appearances from his friends, OVO crew members and even his mother.
Directed by Director X (formerly “Little X”), who also directed “HYFR,” the video for “Started From The Bottom” shows Drizzy in different elements representing different forms of “coming up” in the game — from him dressed in all white and riding in a Bentley in the middle of a blizzard, to being promoted to night manager at a drug store and goofing around with his boys, to him flying around with a beautiful woman on a private jet.
But how did all of this come about? Who came up with the concept and the skits for the video? And what’s up with that “Bentley Blizzard” scene, and that shot of him standing on a “Started from the Top” billboard?
Director X answered all of those questions and more in a recent interview with Complex magazine. Read on for basically everything you need to know about Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” music video.
1. It was Drake’s idea to make the video a big budget production with a theme:
“Drake really came to me with this treatment,” Director X explained to Complex. “[He] really wanted to make a video that people would talk about. He basically wants to make the videos that I made when he was growing up.”
He added, “I just think people should know that Drake was the driving force pushing for that. He’s the one saying he wants to spend the money; he’s the one saying I want to make these big ideas happen. When people watch the video they need to understand that he’s putting in some work to entertain.”
2. The kid playing soccer at the beginning of the video (who is supposed to be a young Drake) is actually Drake’s friend’s son:
Director X told Complex: “It’s just executing; Where are we going to shoot, getting the right kids, casting them. The kid who plays Drake is his homie’s son—one of the real friends. We just wanted to show that nothing could make a statement about being together, teamwork, and winning more than team sports for kids.”
3. The “Bentley Blizzard” scene was all a lie. The snow was fake. It wasn’t even snowing that day!
Director X explained to Complex: “That shot of him in the car, we shot that once. The shot we used was one take. We did a bunch of other stuff like getting the snow right—this whole video ended up being that whole kind of thing. We’d shoot a couple shots, but it ended up being one take for everything. It was almost like making a movie.
“It wasn’t a snowy day that day. All of that snow is fake. Every bit is fake—the snow on the ground, the snow in the air, everything is artificial. The shot with his mother. In the back—that’s Movie Magic. It’s foam.
“It’s just the right calls to the right effects people. On my side of things, it’s not as difficult as it may seem because there are people who do this all the time for different productions. A million movies you’ve seen and the snow is not real. Can’t tell, but there are tons of them and this was one of those situations.”
4. The private jet scene was a semi-lie:
Director X to Complex: “No, we’re not flying it, but we were definitely in a jet. It’s a lot, especially for the amount of time that you see it. It’s a big production.”
5. That “Started from the Bottom” billboard shot was all real though:
Director X told Complex: “That’s Drake. He’s up there. If you were to ever come to Toronto on the Gardiner Expressway on your way downtown, that’s where it is. There’s not a double or anything. It was a cold fucking day—on the ground it was cold so imagine 200 feet in the air. Forget about it.”
6. The vacation/party scenes were real too:
Director X: “That’s the Dominican Republic. That’s where he was vacationing. We just showed up where they were, me and four other guys who shot it. It was great. A lot of the fun you see was actually happening. Everyone had a good time. If you’ve got good eyes, I’m dancing in there. I’m in the background grooving.”
7. So was that the bad chick at the beginning of the video. Her name is Maria Angelica Charuppi:
Director X explained, “I’ve known her forever. For a really long time. Everyone in this video is from Toronto. It’s a city, but its a town at the same time. So that’s my homie. The way God planned it, she was the closest to set. She’s the hottest girl, but she actually lives closest to Hamilton.
Hamilton is where we shot the airport for the flying scene, so just for scheduling we had to shoot the drug mart close to there because of production rules. The day of when we didn’t have anybody, we were just like, ‘Call Maria [Angelica Charuppi], she lives in Hamilton.’ We were like, ‘Don’t go to school today and come do this thing.’ So it just happened to be that the hottest girl on the planet lived 10 minutes from set when we were shooting in the middle of nowhere.
She wants to do all that stuff in front of the camera. She’s a performer, so it’s possible. She’s gorgeous and she’s incredible. She’s not in the mix on the other side of the border so people are like, ‘What the fuck just happened?’”
8. The Hookah Bar and Bowling Alley scenes were familiar territory for Drake:
Director X on the Hookah Bar: “That’s [Drake's] place Paradise. That shit is pretty easy. With all those people and everyone knowing each other, it’s a little bit different than the usual video set where people are strangers for the most part. Everyone knew everyone on that set, from the crew on down. Even that crew of guys shooting the video, they shoot all of their videos. Everyone knows everyone so it was very familiar. It was pretty normal. Nothing too crazy.”
On the Bowling Alley: “That’s the Lucky Strike he likes to go to. So it’s all kind of personal beyond it just being a bowling alley. That’s the one he goes to.”
9. And Drake and his friends OB O’Brien and Ryan Silverstein came up with that hilarious drug store skit:
Director X: “OB’s a real natural. Ryan is fun, but he’s not an actor or jokester like that in front of the camera, so he needed a little more finessing, just to get him comfortable. OB didn’t need nothing. He was off to the races. You can tell even in the ‘HYFR’ video just by the way the video starts and his attitude that he’s a real character. We just wanted to take it to a ridiculous place and have fun with it.
“It was generally planned out by Drake and them. They came up with that, but on set is where we finessed the lines and made them come together.”