Ever since the release of Drake’s latest chart topping album, Scorpion, the hip hop world has been abuzz regarding the latest rumors and speculation regarding a beef between the Toronto native and Kanye West.
The founder of OVO Sound already had his hands full earlier this year when he traded diss tracks with Pusha T, the latter of whom exposed the fact that the former was hiding a child from the world; or as Drake would put it on the track “Emotionless,” he was merely hiding the world from his kid. In any case, reports are claiming that this Kanye-Drake beef is somehow even deeper than the Pusha altercation. For those who are still wondering just why the hell two of the music industry’s biggest superstars would be beefing years after being close collaborators, read further for a comprehensive list about their history together, and all the key points that turned these friends into enemies.
Early 2009: Drake Meets Kanye
And this is where it all began. Long before his debut album would hit the shelves, Drake would meet with Kanye West for the first time in Hawaii, as the Canadian recollected to MTV News at the time. Their meeting was brief, but they made sure to mention that they wanted to make music together. In the coming months, the two would make public displays of their appreciation for one another–Drake by telling MTV News how Kanye was “the most influential person as a far as a musician that [he’d] ever had in [his] life,” and Kanye by praising Drake’s songwriting skills on his KanyeUniverseCity.com blog–and by the end of the year, we got our first two Drake/Kanye collaborations: “Digital Girl Remix” (with Jamie Foxx and The-Dream), and “Forever” (with Eminem and Lil Wayne).
July 2009: Kanye Directs “Best I Ever Had” Video
Later that same year, Drake and Kanye would have their biggest collaboration to date, but Kanye wouldn’t be making a trip to the booth for this one. Instead, Ye went behind the camera when he directed the music video for the standout hit on So Far Gone, “Best I Ever Had.” What followed was what many deemed to be a glorified peep show showcasing women in skimpy outfits. Since this was a far cry from the sentimental, female empowerment that the lyrics suggested, the video was slammed by fans and critics. Rumors circulated that Drake wasn’t happy with the final product, and Drake would tell MTV News, “I guess one thing I didn’t consider is what the song personally means to a lot of women. To those women, I apologize.”
April 2010: Kanye Writes/Produces Drake’s “Find Your Love”
While Kanye’s directorial fumble disappointed Drake, it wasn’t enough to strain their relationship. In fact, Mr. West would lend a big helping hand on Drizzy’s debut album, Thank Me Later when he co-wrote and co-produced “Find Your Love;” a song originally written for Rihanna. The beat was given to Drake at the suggestion of his mentor, No I.D.. The song proved to be a smash hit, but interestingly enough, Kanye would casually mention in a 2013 interview with Peter Rosenberg that he “was fine with writing Drake’s ‘Find Your Love,’ until he got too big.” It’s also worth mentioning that Ye also produced “Show Me a Good Time” for the album, as well as a leftover track called “You Know, You Know.”
November 2010: Kanye Cuts Drake’s Verse from “All of the Lights”
“All of the Lights,” the fourth single on Kanye West’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was officially released on November 25th, 2010, but months prior during the summer, the song had leaked onto the internet. What had leaked was an early draft of the song created back when it was still titled “Ghetto University,” and included an unfinished verse from Drake. As a result of the leak, Drake’s verse was removed from the official version. Drake later told Shade45 that he was “completely OK” with the change. However, to make it up to him, Kanye put Drake on the remix to the song, which hit the internet on March 2011, and also featured vocals from Lil Wayne and Big Sean. Apart from another leak, the remix was never officially released.
August 2011: Kanye Releases Watch the Throne Because of Drake
2011 saw two big releases for both men. Drake would drop his sophomore album Take Care in November, while Kanye would drop Watch the Throne with Jay-Z the summer prior. It was in this time period where a friendly competition between Kanye and Drake started to heat up. In an interview with Tim Westwood, when asked about a possible collab tape between himself and Lil Wayne, Drake threw some jabs at Jay and Ye’s project by saying “I heard two other guys are coming out with an album, too…I don’t know where they got that idea from.” In the coming months, tracks like “I’m On One”–where Drake has lines like “I just feel like the throne is for the taking. Watch me take it”–start to sound like subliminals. Some years later, at OVO Fest 2013, Kanye would claim that the only reason why him and Jay made Watch the Throne was because it was the only way to compete with Drake.
October 2011: Drake Admits He Wants to Surpass Kanye
During his late 2011 promo run in anticipation for Take Care’s release, Drake revealed that his friendly competition with Kanye West was far deeper than many of us would have suspected at the time. He told The Source that as a young man listening to his music, Kanye West was someone who Drake “related to the most” at a time when he was trying to figure out who he was. Drake would add “He was an artist, in every sense, from his cover art to his music. Now, I would say, he is a really great 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.”
2013: Kanye and Drake Repair Their Relationship
It appears as though Kanye and Drake spent the remainder of 2011 and much of 2012 apart. They spent the time apart to cool off from recent tensions, and it culminated in Kanye’s surprise appearance at OVO Fest 2013, which Drake told MTV News was “the most important moment in [his] career to date.” Afterwards, he would go more in depth about him and West’s falling out to Billboard. He said, “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 on. Hopefully, we give the world what they want, because I know they want it.” Later that year, they would both have guest vocals on Big Sean’s “Blessings.”
February 2015: Kanye Teases a Collab Album with Drake
In an interview with The Breakfast Club morning show, Kanye claimed that he and Drake spoke about doing a collab album called Wolves, but it never came to pass. Instead, their conversation about collaborations inspired Kanye to produce the “Wolves” track for The Life of Pablo. He would add in the interview that he hoped that by mentioning this abandoned project, he could speak the album into existence one day.
A year later, on the final night of Drake’s OVO Fest 2016, Kanye would make a surprise appearance, but stop the performance to once again tease a Drake/Kanye collab album, asking fans if they were ready for it. We’re not sure if Drake and Kanye were actually working on an album at the time or if Kanye was trying to speak it into existence again, but in light of recent events, it is looking more and more likely that we may never see this collab project come to fruition.
January 2016: Drake Drops Summer Sixteen
In anticipation for Views coming out later that year, Drake kicked off 2016 by releasing a single called “Summer Sixteen.” Drizzy dropped a few bars towards his then-rival Meek Mill, but perhaps more alarming were the random shots at Kanye when Drake made sure to let us all know that he had “a bigger pool that Ye / and look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine’s just bigger is what I’m saying.” Kanye would respond simply on Big Boy’s Neighborhood show a month later by saying “I have three pools.” Then, the following May, Drake would clarify his comments on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 that he meant no ill will in the lyric. It “was really just, like, some friendly neighbor bars” towards his fellow Calabasas resident. All in good fun. For now.
February 2016: Kanye Drops Pablo; Gets Help from Drake
At this point, in more recent years, Kanye was known to often help Drake on projects, usually producing or writing tracks for him. But during the production on his seventh album, the teacher asked the student for some help this time around. On The Life of Pablo, Drake is credited as a writer on “30 Hours,” “No More Parties in L.A.,” “Facts (Charlie Heat Version),” and “Father Stretch My Hands.” And as we mentioned earlier, “Wolves” was inspired by a conversation between Kanye and Drake, so October’s Very Own helped KanYeezy in more ways than one. This wouldn’t be the last time that Father would stretch his hands out to Drake for assistance.
April 2016: Drake Cuts Kanye’s Verse from “Pop Style”
On April 5th, just weeks before Drake’s third album hits the market, Drake released a single called “Pop Style” featuring Kanye and Jay-Z. Although, it isn’t much of a collaborative track. Jay contributes only two verses. Regardless, the song remains a success, but oddly enough, when Views dropped on April 29th, the Jay and Kanye verses were gone from the album. Drake expressed his disappointment over the whole situation a year later in an interview with DJ Semtex:
“I’m not really sure the details between how that conversation was miscommunicated or what they were going through at that time, or what anybody felt towards me or whatever it was, I’m not really sure, but next thing I knew it just became a bit of an issue. And you know from there I don’t waste too much time, so I just was like, alright, cool, I’ll finish it, I can rap as good as anybody else, so I’ll just go finish this song and put forth my own version [because] I don’t really like…you know, no one can dangle anything over my head in this business, I don’t play that. So it just needed to be done and I did it myself and yeah, both versions exist, so when Kanye comes out to do it at the shows it goes crazy. I know he was really upset [because] at that time we were working together pretty heavy and he really wanted to be on the record but you know….”
November 2016: Kanye Rants About Drake
November 19th, 2016 had to be a confusing night for anyone who attended Kanye West’s concert in Sacramento. Before storming offstage after performing just three songs, Ye rambled on about everything from being a Trump supporter, begging Jay-Z and Mark Zuckerberg to call him, and implying that Drake and DJ Khaled had somehow “set up” their latest record “For Free” to get played over and over again on the radio. He made sure to say he still had love for Drake and Khaled, but he wanted to hear more artists other than them on the radio, like Frank Ocean and Kid Cudi, the latter of whom Kanye cited as “the greatest of all of us.”
February 2017: Drake Responds to Ye’s Rant
In an interview with DJ Semtex, Drake took the time to address the rant that Kanye spewed months prior, and had this to say:
“I’m not really sure what [Kanye’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. But yeah, I’m not really sure. Everybody’s got their own thing going on. Again, me, when I hear that, I just distance myself from it, you know, alright, if that’s what it is, I don’t really even understand the point you’re trying to make, but whatever it is that you’re going through, I accept it. I don’t respect it at all. You know, [because] I feel like me and Khaled are just good people. 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. You know, the more and more this progresses, the more and more I just feel like keeping to myself.”
March 2017: Drake and Kanye Collab on “Glow”
Despite whatever animosity that Drake and Kanye West may have had for each other over the latter’s November rant, it all must’ve smoothed over like water under the bridge by time Drake’s More Life project hit the shelves on March 18th, 2017, because Kanye has a feature on one of the tracks. In one of the standout songs off the project, Drake and Kanye trade lines on “Glow.” While the pair have appeared on several songs together in the past, “Glow” would mark the first time they would appear on a track together by themselves as a duo.
March 2018: Drake Arrives in Wyoming to Help Ye
It was first reported last March that Drake landed in Wyoming while Kanye was in album mode, and the pair made music together. This led to speculation that the two could finally be working on that long awaited collab album, or Drake could at the very least have a feature on Kanye’s eighth album. We would later find out that Drake actually did some behind the scenes work on the album rather than stepping in the booth. Drake wrote the hook for the Ye track, “Yikes.” Strangely enough, Drake did not initially receive a writing credit until his contribution was finally confirmed a few weeks after the album was released. In addition to confirming Drake’s contribution in a New York Times interview, Kanye also mentioned that Drake had a verse on the track that didn’t make the final cut of the album.
May 2018: Pusha Releases Daytona; Disses Drake
As part of the G.O.O.D. Music seven-track album roll out, Pusha T’s Daytona hit shelves nationwide on May 25th. Push closed out the Kanye produced album with “Infrared,” which included a shot at Drake’s questionable writing skills with the line “It was written like Nas, but it came from Quentin.” That one line would create a domino effect that would drastically warp how audiences viewed Drake as an artist in the coming months. Drake would retaliate with the “Duppy Freestyle,” where he name dropped Pusha’s fiance, Virginia Williams. Drake also made sure to drop a few lines in Kanye’s direction as well: “What do you really think of the nigga that’s makin’ your beats? / I’ve done things for him I thought that he never would need / Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me / I pop style for 30 hours then let him repeat.”
June 3rd 2018: Kanye Pleads for Peace
The Drake/Push beef would get ugly when Pusha T released “The Story of Adidon,” a track that simultaneously exposed Drake’s past blackface act, slandered Drake’s parents, badmouthed OVO 40 while he’s “hunched over like he 80,” and revealed that Drake was “hiding a child.” Hip hop mogul J. Prince stepped in between the two men and prevented Drake from releasing a potentially career threatening response. Apparently, Prince was on orders from Kanye himself to end the beef. Prince told Ebro in the Morning that he received a personal call from Kanye to squash the beef because as a “family man,” he didn’t want this. Shortly after Prince put a leash on Drake, Kanye would publicly do his own pleading on June 3rd when he tweeted “I’ve never been about beef. I’m about love. [L]ines were crossed and it’s not good for anyone so this is dead now.”
June 2018: Drake and Kanye Trade Subs on Respective Albums
Days before Kanye pleaded for peace between himself and Drake, his album Ye hit the shelves, and appeared to throw a subliminal shot at Drake on the song “No Mistakes” when he said he’s “Too close to snipe you / Truth told, I like you / Too bold to type you / Too rich to fight you / Calm down, you light skin!” Listeners perceived this as a shot at Drake, and apparently, so did Drake. Drake’s fifth album, Scorpion, dropped on June 29th, and on the track “8 out of 10,” Drake would say the following: “Too rich for who? Y’all just got rich again / Who grips the mic and likes to kill they friends? I never been the type to make amends / If shit was at a eight…we like to make it ten.” Many critics–including Drake’s former adversary, Joe Budden–speculate that much of the album’s A Side were jabs directed at Kanye.
July 2018: Drake Drops “Behind Barz” Freestyle; Disses Kanye
Just a week removed from his Scorpion release, Drake popped up on Link Up TV for a freestyle called “Behind Barz.” Judging from the lyrics, Drake still has more smoke in the tank for Pusha T and Kanye that he’s itching to get off his chest. “I know so much shit that I cannot expose / I keep it inside and I laugh on my own” seems to refer to that diss track that J. Prince stopped Drake from pulling out the vault, but this next set of bars particularly cut deep in Kanye’s direction regarding his status as a fashion designer: “I got way too big off Views / Back to the basics, I won’t lose / They wanna link when they got no chunes / They too worried about selling out shoes / I don’t give a fuck about jeans or crap / Or going to Milan or going to the Met.”
We haven’t seen any recent developments since then, but given how deep their history runs, we doubt that this is the last we hear about their beef. The bigger question is whether or not there is room for reconciliation between the two heavyweight vets.
Who’s side you got in this battle? Drake’s or Kanye’s?