In a candid two-hour video interview with Rap Radar released on Christmas, Drake talked being booed at Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw, working with Chris Brown after his failed relationship with Rihanna and his ongoing feuds with Pusha-T and Kanye West.
Here are the top 10 things we learned:
Drake’s heard you call him a culture vulture and he doesn’t agree. The Canadian rapper has received flack in all different shades for his chameleon approach to music: one single could feature a Jamaican Patois-speaking Drake while another could sound like a Reggaeton hit. Drake responded to the criticism:
“The definition of appropriating a culture is not supporting that culture, doing songs with people who are deeply rooted in that culture, giving opportunity to people who are in that culture. That’s not appropriating. Appropriating is taking it for your own personal gain and denying that it was ever inspired from this. That’s the true disservice that somebody could do to the UK, to dancehall, to Afrobeats. I ensure that (I’m) not only paying all due respects verbally but… I make it a point to give opportunity.”
“So Far Gone” and “Take Care” are his classics. When asked whether he thinks any of his projects are classic, Drake responded, “It’s tough to be in the moment talking about classics. I have trouble defining what a classic is anymore. To me, a classic would be a body of work that shaped that year and the years afterward and had a massive impact on the music being made, the culture. So, in that regard, yeah, for sure, I think I have classic albums.” After a push, he named 2009’s “So Far Gone” and 2011’s “Take Care.”
He’s no longer signed to Young Money and Cash Money. Drake addressed the speculation surrounding his label status; even though he’s still loyal to the empire built by Birdman, Slim Williams and Lil Wayne, he’s officially signed to Universal Music. “I’m always going to be involved in the Cash Money/Young Money imprint, and my loyalty, like I said, always lies there.”
Drake has never used a ghostwriter a day in his life. Drake responded to the ghostwriters rumors, for the thousandth time. This time, he specifically referenced rapper Quentin Miller’s contributions to his commercial mixtape (contractually considered his fourth studio album), “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”
“I pulled my weight when it came to my pen,” he said. “Anybody that knows me knows that my strongest talent is writing. That’s why people ask me to write songs for them.”
The 2015 project sparked some controversy after rapper Meek Mill alleged that Miller ghost-wrote Drake’s verse on Mill’s “R.I.C.O.,” leading to some scrutiny over Miller’s contributions on “IYRTITL.” Miller has denied the ghostwriting accusations, but recently declared his relationship with Drake dead, citing no desire to work with the rapper ever again.
Serena Williams had something to say about the Meek Mill beef. Speaking of Mill, it’s important to note that four-time Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams had advice to give Drake about the infamous feud.
“We had been talking a lot about her and [rival Maria] Sharapova going back and forth over the years and she had made this comment to me,” Drake explained. “‘If you’re gonna go again, you gotta finish it.’ And you know, she’s a top competitor. So, she was like, ‘You gotta finish it. I’m talking about done. Over. It’s gotta be something that everyone that he’s with and him have to hear.’ She kind of put this battery in my back.”
The feud began with Mill’s tweeted allegation that Drake didn’t write his own verses. After everyone picked their sides and weighed in, Drake released two diss tracks, “Charged Up” and “Back to Back,” to Meek’s radio silence until the months-late EP series, “4/4.” Mill and Drake have since buried the hatchet, performing together onstage in late 2018.
New decade, same feuds. Just because Drake’s cool with Mill now, don’t expect his new year’s’ resolutions to include making peace with Pusha-T or Kanye West. “He’s just made an entire career off of it,” Drake said of his feud with Pusha-T. “Some people like his music, I personally don’t ’cause I don’t believe any of it. And I like to listen to guys I believe.” He continued, “You get to peek behind the curtain too. When I was 16, thinking that he was the biggest dope dealer in the world serving bricks to all, every corner of America, yeah, sure I was a fan. Obviously more so just a fan of Pharrell and the Neptunes. Now that I’m grown-up and I know him and the truth, it’s just not as appealing.”
Drake revealed that he has no desire to mend anything with Pusha-T, saying that he sleeps well at night knowing that he didn’t get out-barred: “It was just, you know, he told the world that the biggest artist at the time has a kid that he hasn’t told you about. I knew kind of, for me, it was over at that point. It wasn’t even about battle rap.”
In May 2018, Pusha-T hit first, accusing Drake of ghostwriting on Daytona’s “Infrared,” his first release in three years. Drake responded with “Duppy Freestyle,” dragging West into the mix by reminding everyone that Drake had written for the Chicago rapper. Pusha-T then released “The Story of Adidon,” revealing Drake’s secret child — a fact West allegedly told Pusha-T.
Drake went into his problems with West, citing that the rapper was the root of all of his problems with Pusha-T. “There’s something there that bothers [West] deeply and I can’t fix it for him. I could never, ever, ever ever turn my back on the things that I’ve said about him in a positive light, and I still feel all those same things… Obviously with the exception of Lil Wayne — and if I look at Hov as the guy who truly shaped the majority of my thinking, skill set, all those things — Kanye West would be my favorite artist all around,” Drake said. “And that’s just facts. I have no problem saying that. Things have changed. I’m not just some kid that’s a fan anymore. Now we have personal situations, and like I said, a lot of his issues with me, I can’t fix them for him.”
Additionally, Drake confirmed that the lyrics from his “Sicko Mode” verse were directed at West, something the latter took issue with in late 2018.
He has “massive respect” for Jay-Z. Drake addressed the past jabs thrown between him and the rap billionaire, explaining that the two sat down and talked through it all. “I think Jay has respect for me and he’s aware of the massive respect that I have for him at the end of the day,” he said, before adding the importance of giving respected artists props while everyone’s still around.
Because of Rihanna, he had a “moment of hesitation” about working with Chris Brown. Drake, who declared his love for Rihanna at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, talked working with Chris Brown on “No Guidance.”
“That person that was in the middle of us is no longer a part of either of our lives currently, and I have the most utmost love and respect for her. I think of her as family more than anything,” Drake said, referring to Rihanna. “I actually had kind of a moment of hesitation before, because I didn’t want her to ever feel disrespected by me linking up with [Brown], but I also know how many nights she knows that me and him have both been consumed by this issue. I think she’s a good person with a good heart that would rather see us put that issue to bed than continue childish s— that could end up in a serious situation.”
Brown pled guilty to a felony for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. He was sentenced to five-years probation and received a restraining order which limited his distance from Rihanna until 2014.
Drake confirmed that another Chris Brown collaboration was done, unsure of whether it would end up on the new album.
Drake’s biggest regret is not putting out the OVOXO album and going on tour with the Weeknd. Drake revealed his thoughts on the Weeknd’s decision to sign to Republic instead of staying with Drake’s own label, OVO Sound, in 2012. “To this day, I’m always excited, always super happy for all those guys. And I never had any resentment toward, like, ‘You didn’t stay on OVO.’ I’m not gonna say there weren’t people that didn’t feel a way about it. My thing, I never expected Abel to stay on OVO.”
The Canadian rappers had a rocky friendship and collab history, but Drake promised to rectify the situation. “My biggest regret would be that we probably wasted seven years not communicating with each other when we had something beautiful going on. OVOXO still could have been a thing, and still will be a thing, by the way,” Drake said. “My biggest regret would be that we didn’t give people that album, that tour. The two biggest artists from the city don’t link, so it’s not a good look for where we’re from. Hopefully we can fix that and make good on the years that we missed.”
His other biggest regret is how he handled the Camp Flog Gnaw situation. Fans who strongly believed that Frank Ocean was going to be the surprise headliner at Camp Flog Gnaw were less than thrilled when it turned out to be Drake. Even backstage, Drake felt what was to come next.
“I was kind of sitting there, going like, ‘You guys know Frank’s not here, right? You may as well get over that — let’s rock. I’m the guy, I’m the replacement. I got a couple joints if you wanna hear them,'” he said. “Now, in hindsight, I wish I would’ve said, ‘Yo, guys, there’s no Frank,’ or just broke out into ‘A tornado flew around …’ Those are the two biggest regrets of my life.”