A highlight of Drake's long (long, long)-awaited More Life is the Kanye West collaboration "Glow." The song was so well-received, in fact, that it set off another round of speculation about when, or if, the two would release a joint album.
But the success of "Glow" is just the latest chapter in a push-and-pull between the two stars that has lasted a decade. Drake has gone from idolizing Kanye West to collaborating (and often competing) with him, and the road hasn't always been smooth. Below, the highlights of their journey:
September 1, 2007: Drake freestyles over "Barry Bonds"
Drizzy's Comeback Season mixtape contains a freestyle over Kanye's "Barry Bonds." Drake must have been combing through mixtapes, as Graduation, the Yeezy album that contains that track, wasn't even released until ten days later.
October 2008: Another Kanye freestyle
December 2008: They share a manager
One of Drake's first big moves in the music industry was taking on Cortez Bryant as a manager, which he did in December 2008. Bryant, who also managed Lil Wayne, was the bridge to Drake's deal at Young Money. The whole story, of course, is a lot more complicated and involves many lawsuits—you can catch up here. Bryant's business partner at the time was (and still is) Gee Roberson, who was managing Kanye. This was the first real link between Drake and Ye.
Late 2008-Early 2009: The First Meeting
Sometime before May 2009, Drake and Kanye first met in Hawaii. Drake told MTV News only that the interaction was very short. Because of the location and timeline, it's possible that this meeting was during the 808s & Heartbreak sessions, which happened in Honolulu during the fall of 2008.
February 14, 2009: Drake re-does "Say You Will"
On Valentine's Day (awwww), Drake releases So Far Gone. The project contains "Say What's Real," a re-imagining of the 808s track "Say You Will."
May 23, 2009: Yeezy praises Drake
On Kanye's now-sadly-deleted blog KanyeUniverseCity.com, he had kind words for one of Drake's punchlines on "Every Girl":
"Drake said, 'Do you like girls like I do?? Les-bi-honest!!!!!' Best line of the year so far!" he exclaimed in all caps.
May 26, 2009: "He's the most influential person"
In an interview just before his star-making show at New York City's SOB's nightclub, Drake talks to MTV News and is effusive in his praise of West:
"Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes... [B]efore I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."
June 25, 2009: "Digital Girl" is released
Kanye and Drake both appear on the remix of Jamie Foxx's "Digital Girl."
July 1, 2009: "Best I Ever Had" video released
Kanye West was behind the camera for once, directing Drake's video for "Best I Ever Had." The basketball-themed video ("Some of us younger men, we refer to our affiliation with women like a roster," Drake helpfully explained) is roundly—and rightfully—panned by fans and critics.
August 27, 2009: "Last name Ever, first name Greatest"
"Forever," a song with an already-long history, finds new life as a collaboration between Drake, Kanye, Eminem, and Lil Wayne. It's released, of all places, on the soundtrack to a LeBron James documentary.
April 28, 2010: "Find Your Love"
Drake's "Find Your Love" is released to radio in April, 2010. The track is co-written and co-produced by Kanye. Depending on who you believe, it is either a leftover from 808s or originally intended for Rihanna. Looking back in 2013, West saw this as a tipping point in their relationship. "I was fine with writing 'Find Your Love' with Drake on his first thing, until he got too big," he admitted.
Summer 2010: Some of the lights
The following summer, a snippet of the song that would become "All of the Lights" leaks, with a Drake verse at the beginning. It was originally called "Ghetto University." If you're curious, you can check it here. When the final version comes out the following November, Drizzy's contribution is nowhere to be found. Drake says he is "completely okay" with the change.
September 2010: Ex-girl to next girl?
That fall, Drake is seen at a club with Kanye's ex Amber Rose, and rumors start that Rose and Drake are an item.
January 2011: The first public diss
In an interview with Tim Westwood, Drake said that he and Lil Wayne were working on a joint album. And then he threw some not-so-subliminal jabs at another pair of top-tier rappers who were also recording a duo project.
"We still got to do that album," Drake said of the Weezy collab. "I heard some other guys are coming out with an album, too. There's two other rappers that are coming out with an album together... I don't know where they got that idea."
October 2011: "My goal is to surpass everything he's accomplished"
In his cover story with The Source, Drake talked openly about being compared to Kanye.
"It’s an honor. When I was a kid trying to figure out what I liked, it was ‘Ye who I related to the most. He was an artist, in every sense, from his cover art to his music. Now, I would say, he is really great [pause] competitor…and friend, at the same time... My goal is to surpass everything he’s accomplished. I don’t want to be as good as Kanye, I want to be better."
December 20, 2011: "The throne is for the taking"
Drake's verse on DJ Khaled's "I'm On One" seems to be a pretty direct shot at Jay and Ye, a.k.a. The Throne. "I'm just feeling like the throne is for the taking, watch me take it," Drizzy raps.
August 5, 2013: Kanye at OVO Fest, Pt. 1
Drake brought out a lot of surprise guests for 2013's OVO Fest, but there was one that stood out. Not only did Kanye perform, but he also admitted that Drake's dominance in the rap game was what inspired Watch the Throne. "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this nigga wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects," he told the audience. Drake would go on to call that night "the most important moment in my career."
August 30, 2013: "All this stuff got built up"
“Me and Ye just fell into this thing where we hadn’t actually talked to each other in so long that all this stuff got built up. Sometimes you just have to find the opportunity to tell someone that you really like and respect them. After that, everything can move forward. Hopefully we give the world what they want, because I know they want it. I know me and Ye could do some crazy shit together.”
February 13, 2014: The Rolling Stone interview
Drake gets some serious backlash after he's quoted in Rolling Stone dissing Kanye's "I'm In It." "There were some real questionable bars on there," he said. "Like that 'Swaghili' line? Come on, man. Even Fabolous wouldn't say some shit like that." Drizzy immediately claims he never said it.
Elsewhere in the interview, he chalks up the tension over the Throne project to "a lack of communication paired with natural competitiveness," and says of Jay and Ye, "But those two are gods to me."
February 15, 2014: Yeezy responds
During a concert in Newark, Kanye responds to the Rolling Stone controversy by attempting to dial it down. "They always be trying to pit niggas against each other and it ain’t going down no more," he said. "So, tonight, it ain’t none of that. We love Drake, we love every motherfucker that put their heart into this motherfuckin’ music."
January 31, 2015: Blessings
Big Sean's "Blessings" features West and Drake on their first collaboration in a while.
February 13, 2015: Yeezy Boosts
Drake brings Kanye onstage during a show at NYC's Irving Plaza. Ye gives Drizzy a pair of Yeezy Boosts, and Drake returns the favor by calling Kanye a "mentor" before covering two of his songs.
February 20, 2015: The first hints of an album
During an interview with The Breakfast Club, Kanye says that he and Drake were "gonna do an album together... It might happen... But he's probably going to be mad that I mentioned it on your show."
March 12, 2015: "An amazing sparring partner"
West gives an interview to Clique where he talks about how Drake is providing inspiration:
"I look at Drake as an amazing sparring partner. Someone who's like, 'Come on, man, get back up!'... I was sitting there getting fat. Sitting back, just knocked everybody out. And then this guy hits the gym, he's just running around like, bow, 14 hits... I'm like, Whoa. OK. Let me go to the studio, then. Let's see what's happening. Let me get these lyrics up... So, that's where we at right now, that's where you getting these records from."
August 3, 2015: OVO Fest, Pt. 2
December 31, 2015: The backhanded compliment
Kanye drops the Nike-dissing "Facts," with the line, "If Nike ain't have Drizzy, they wouldn't have nothing."
January 30, 2016: Who has the bigger, um, pool?
February 12, 2016: The co-write
March 2016: "Wolves"
A version of "Wolves" with Drake on it surfaces. He is nowhere to be found on the final product.
April 5, 2016: "Pop Style" and the disappearing verses
Drake releases the single version of "Pop Style" on iTunes, featuring Kanye and Jay Z. Both of their contributions are gone when the final version surfaces later that month.
April 29, 2016: "Ye is one of my favorite people"
Drake sits down with OVO Sound radio, and reveals that he and Kanye "were supposed to do a mixtape together." When talking about how the two are neighbors, he says, "Ye is one of my favorite people. Period. In the world man. I love Ye. I grew up with him as a role model, he is part of the reason I am here right now." Drizzy also says he likes to "pull up at [Kanye's] house and see what he's doing."
August 1, 2016: OVO Fest, Pt. 3
Kanye appears yet again at OVO Fest. But this time, he pretty directly teases a joint album. "Are you all ready for this album?... Now, I'm not talking about Pablo. I wasn't talking about Views. I wanna ask y'all right now, y'all ready for this album?"
August 29, 2016: The billboard
A mysterious billboard shows up that features the OVO and G.O.O.D. Music logos. This sets off even more speculation that a duo project is on the way.
@thefader) August 28, 2016
Literally the next day, Kanye plays "Pop Style" during a concert and says, again, "Y'all ready for this album?"
November 7, 2016: That IG Life
Drake posts a photo to Instagram of himself and West, with the caption, "There goes the neighborhood." Normally, this would only be a moderately big deal. However, Kanye's manager Scooter Braun comments on it, saying "It begins..." This is enough, of course, to drive even more theories of an album being around the corner.
November 20, 2016: Payola accusations
During a show of the quickly-aborted Saint Pablo tour, Kanye has a long onstage rant where, between opining about Jay Z's hitmen and Beyoncé's VMA diva moves, he talks of DJ Khaled "setting up" his Drake collaboration "For Free" with the radio—essentially accusing Khaled of payola.
February, 2017: Drake responds
Drake talks to DJ Semtex about Kanye's rant.
"I’m not really sure what he’s referring to half the time. Because in the same breath, I went from being…like working on a project with him, to him sorta publicly shitting on me and DJ Khaled for being on the radio too much... I’m not sure why we’re the target of your choice that you made that night. And yeah, I accept what you’re going through, and I just go and continue working on my own thing."
March 18, 2017: More Life
More Life, containing "Glow," is released, and the cycle begins anew.
- Drake Joins Kanye West To Perform "Forever" At The Yeezus Tour
- Quote of The Day: Drake Sees Kanye As Competition
- Drake Brings Out Kanye West For OVO Fest
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