This is one interview I was glad to be able to save.
Of all the old Rantlister Interviews I was able to save, this interview with Jake from DrakeGTA, done in February of 2009, was the most important to me for a couple of reasons.
The most important reason is that I knew Drake for many years, and during his time on the old AJnet Forums we developed a fairly close friendship. We called him the “Wise Old Man” because he always had a story for us, and he was also a bit older than the rest of us. Even when I finally shuttered the forum for good in August of 2020, I still kept in touch with Drake through email and Discord.
Imagine my surprise and sorrow when I woke up on the morning of September 15, 2021 to find a message from Drake’s wife telling me that Drake had passed away in his sleep that night. Drake was one of my closest friends, and to learn that he was killed by cirrhosis of the liver was heart-breaking, especially when I was still reeling from the loss of my IRL best friend Pyri (also a member of the AJnet Forums) back in November of 2020. I honestly haven’t felt the same since, the loss of these two definitely fucked with my head, and still continues to do so to some degree.
The other reason this interview is important to me is because, as you’ll read in the interview, Drake was also the originator of Rantlister. This was a long time ago, before Bob Smash and Bagoda were running the show. Hell, it wasn’t even called “Rantlister” yet. Without Drake, Rantlister never would have existed. Without Rantlister discovering me in 2007-2008, I would have probably given up on this site by the end of 2009. Rantlister is directly responsible for the existence of AJnet. Therefore, Drake is responsible for the existence of AJnet.
As I’ve said before, I’m republishing these old interviews because, in my opinion, they’re too important to become lost to time. I can’t understate the importance of this particular interview with a man who played a large part in what was once a large internet subculture. In fact, it was such an important interview that an at-the-time young and inexperienced AJ couldn’t be entrusted to handle it. Also, it was the first Rantlister interview, so they weren’t really sure how it was going to go over. Thus, this interview was done by Rantlister co-owner Bagoda (also known as the Cesspool Messiah).
I’ll eventually get around to archiving what old writings of Drake’s I can still find (I already republished one a while back, his recipe for hash browns), but for now here’s Rantlister’s interview of the progenitor of the original List, Jake the Drake, aka DrakeGTA. I fucking miss you Drake, hope you’re doing well wherever you are.
We here at Rantlister are constantly striving to make our humble little site better, which is a nice way of saying that we have no life. In the spirit of busy work we have decided to introduce a new feature we are calling the interview. It’s just a working title for now, I’m sure someone will think of something clever soon enough (but I wouldn’t hold my breath). At any rate (holy fuck, that’s what my grandmother says. At any rate. No one my age should be saying that) we’ll go until we stop getting responses or until we get side tracked with another pointless project.
To kick this bitch off we have a real treat. We have been lucky enough to land an interview with DrakeGTA who is the godfather of the rant list. It is he who started this whole business of listing rants. If you remember those days then this interview will be even more of treat but even if you are new to these parts this interview will give you a little bit of the history behind the internet sensation that is Rantliser.com
Without any further ado, I give you Jake the Drake…
1. When and How did the idea for “The List” come about and how long did you run the original list?
Before I ever tried writing my own rants, I read everyone else’s for about six months before I finally said: “You know what, I can do this, I can make rants at least this good and add something else for people who enjoy this kind stuff to read.” I don’t exactly remember when, it wasn’t very long after I started ranting that I started doing the list. I know I started the list in early 2005, and I started my site in late 2004. The reason that I started the list was pretty simple, I like to read everyone’s rants, and I got tired of keeping a list of rants in my bookmarks so I converted them to HTML for my own use. After a while, I decided to share that list with everyone because my list was more complete than any of the other lists I’d seen. I started doing updates for the list because I wanted to share some of the better rants other people were posting, (I was also doing responses to a few of them.) I decided after a while to just list all the updates (and not just the ones I liked.) I still try to read everyone’s rants.
2. Why did you stop?
I can’t give a short simple answer for this one, so you’ll get a long complicated one. You have to understand that when I first started I was full of hate and rage, and it was evident with everything I wrote. I see that reflected in some rant sites now, people who hate the whole world, deep down, not joking, they hate the whole world. I was doing a lot of growing up in 2006, and I was looking back at my old stuff, and I was ashamed of a lot of it. I was rereading some of the stuff I wrote when I first started, and I thought: “Man, this isn’t very good, this isn’t very funny, this isn’t entertaining, it’s riddled with grammatical and spelling errors; really, this stuff is amateur and embarrassing.” So, I had decided to purge a lot of my older stuff already.
This is also about the time I started going to church. Let me say now, I’m not preaching to anyone, or telling anyone what they should believe in. I was not a Christian in anyway at the start of 2006, I didn’t believe in God or heaven or hell. I had some very hateful things to say about Christians and their beliefs, and my page was full of them. Well, in 2006 I met a very wise man, who was a far better person then I am, and he taught several subjects at the college where I go. The woman who would become my wife took his Ethics class and I took his Comparative Religions class. My wife found out that he was a preacher, and we showed up at his church one Sunday, and his church offered something I’d never seen before, God from a scholarly perspective.
I have to try to paint a mental picture here so that you’ll understand. I had hated God and Christians most of my life. You have to imagine me, I’m short, I’m fat, I’m bald, I got a six-inch long goatee, I’m covered in tattoos and piercings, I don’t own anything but black tee-shirts with metal bands on them, I ride a motorcycle, and I chain smoke. Here I am, in the middle of a PhD lead Bible study, in a church, challenging Christianity. Well, this guy, (like I said, he’s a much better person then I am,) he invites me to more Bible studies and theological discussions. I would bring the best of my arguments, the best ones I could find, and he would calmly explain why I was wrong, using detailed philosophical and theological concepts. After about a month, he started giving me books to read, saying: “Read this book, and email me your arguments and objections.” So I’d go home, read these books, make notes, and come up with new arguments for why the book or the Bible was wrong. Well, he would thoughtfully destroy all my augments, again. Finally, after about six months of this, I came to understand, God is very real, and the only thing keeping me from God was my own over inflated hubris.
That led to the natural progression of: “If God is real, what does that mean for me?” Well, that meant I’d better try to have a relationship with God, and figure out what it is that God wants me to do. I did a lot of praying, and soul searching, and reading, and I came to an understanding that God wanted me to humble myself and just accept Him. After I decided it was time to devote my life to God, I realized that my page was not very becoming of a Christian, so I decided to delete it all.
I realize that’s not a very cool story, nothing you’d expect from The Drake, like: “I went on a ten month whiskey bender and forgot to pay my bandwidth fee,” but it is true. I’ve found peace and meaning, when I never knew I didn’t have peace or meaning. You can think what you will of me, I don’t pretend to be a good Christian, or someone who is fit to be an ambassador of Christ, but I am working on it.
3. What have you been up to since you closed down your site?
Well, I got married and I started nursing school. I’m in a very high intensity nursing program, long hours, hard tests, that kind of thing, we have about a 30% graduation rate, meaning if 40 students start only about 12 of us graduate. That takes up most of my time, like right now, I should really be doing one of about four projects. When I’m not in school, I’m with my wife and our kid, and that soaks up the rest of my time.
4. How does it make you feel to see what your idea has grown into?
I like rantlister, I think the site is very professionally done, in fact, much more professional then drakegta.com ever was.
5. Would you say that ranting as a genre has changed since you ran the list? Why or why not?
I see that the names have changed, most of the people I used to talk with have quit writing and there are a lot of new guys. I see a lot more diversity than I used to, everything is a lot more varied in opinions and styles than it was when I was writing. There are a few things that never change, most people still aren’t using RSS, that was my biggest bane because if they didn’t use RSS I had to check their pages myself. I also see that the ranting community still bickers and picks fights with each other like it always has. I was also guilty of that, and I hurt some people’s feelings, and I said some awful shit to some people who were really my friends, there are a lot of people I owe apologies to. I’ve been a jerk. I wish the community was a little less hostile to each other, but that’s the name of the game, we are all trolls really, self-righteous little pricks, the whole lot of us.
6. Do you read any of the list sites regularly? If so, which ones?
I read the Rantlister front page and follow the updates. I’m not impressed by every site there, but some of them are awfully funny, and every now and then, I find one so funny or so well written that I share it with my wife or the other students at school.
7. Is there a chance you may return to ranting?
Yes, a chance. I want to write more than anything, professionally. It’s an obsession, it’s all I do, think about writing. Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, since I was four years old. I will write professionally. I’m not saying it will be easy, I’m just saying I’m going to do it. I’m hoping that soon after I finish school, I will have enough free time to start another website similar to my old one, but not exactly the same, more comedy based, less serious, more jovial, and less hateful.
You guys may have read the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, (I would recommend anything by him,) anyway, he talks about the trick in any profession or art is 10,000 hours of practice. I’m not quite there yet, I still need a lot of practice, so I wouldn’t mind doing some more comedy pieces for internet mass consumption. I really enjoy the whole rant site style, without trying to sound like some rapper in the early 90s trying to explain why hip-hop is more real then rock and roll, I just think a ot of professional writing has lost it’s edge and it’s depth, and there is something more pure about raw unfiltered rants.
8. Any additional words of wisdom for the ranting community?
Yes, don’t delete your site, it’s a bad idea, you start missing it within about thirty seconds. (P.S. Eraser57 deletes the shit out of your files, so even after you’ve changed your mind and go dig up an undelete program it’s too late.)
Thank you Drake for taking the time to answer our questions. If you enjoy Rantlister then your gratitude should be directed towards this man (not me folks, Drake) most preferably in the form of monetary donations. If you have any questions for Drake feel free to sign up for the forums and ask him.