They say it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently, it takes just as many people to make that kid famous, too, although sometimes they won’t realize they’re helping.
Drake has been at the forefront of the music industry for the better part of a decade. Since he released his debut album Take Care in 2009, he’s gone on to become arguably the most recognizable artist on the entire planet. His last full album, Views, broke Internet streaming records and his song “One Dance” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 after being listened to online over 1 billion times — the first song to ever cross that threshold.
Drake supporters point to his ability to change up his style and content as the reason for his continued success. Indeed, changing from the guy who sings about heartbreak to the one who mercilessly crushes another rapper for calling him out is quite a transition. But, how is he always able to keep it so fresh? And are all those enemies he’s made just mad because he’s the one sitting on top? As you’ll see in this list of 15 beefs you believe all involved Drake, there may be one dirty habit at the centre of Aubrey’s ability to stay the King of Rap.
15. Drake Can Definitely See The Light
When you think about a beef started by a rapper stealing, chances are you’d think it would be over music and not set design. But that’s exactly what happened in 2016, when Drake was accused of ripping off James Turrell, an American artist whose work is known for its inventive use of colour and space. It all started when Drake visited the LA County Museum of Art with a Rolling Stone reporter who was profiling him. Drawn to Turrell’s work, he began dancing in the space while his assistant took photos. Those shots — including the feel of Turrell’s work — were then used to make the “Hotline Bling” video. After it was released, Turrell released this statement through his lawyer: “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the Hotline Bling video.”
14. Who’s The Big Baby Now?
Ever since D.R.A.M. released his song “Broccoli” with Lil’ Yachty, he’s become more or less a household name, at least for hip hop fans. That song went double platinum and propelled the American rapper to a point where, today, more than 9 million people stream his music on Spotify monthly. But, not that long ago, it wasn’t like that for D.R.A.M. He only got signed in 2015 after he released his first single, “Cha Cha.” The song was a hit and clips of stars like Beyoncé and, of course, Drake, jamming to it surfaced online. In short order, Drake released a song called “Hotline Bling: Cha Cha Remix.” When it appeared the song would be a hit, he dropped the subtitle and never credited D.R.A.M. as a co-writer. The song peaked at number 2 on the charts. What does D.R.A.M. have to say about all of this? “I feel like my record got jacked.”
13. One Hundred Thousand Reasons To Not Be Offended
4-Tay is an American rapper who experienced some mild mainstream success in the mid-to-late 1990s. He’s best known for rapping two songs that appeared on the Dangerous Minds soundtrack and for being featured on the 2Pac song “Only God Can Judge Me.” Although he’s continued to make music since then, most people have forgotten about the San Francisco emcee today. Or at least that’s what Drake was hoping for.
In 2014 Drake was featured in a song by YG called “Who Do You Love.” On it, he rapped a verse that heavily borrowed lyrics from “Playz Club,” a song 4-Tay rapped two decades earlier. But, give Drake some credit, though. He did muster up enough energy to change lyrics like “A lot of fools put salt in the game / To where these women get the notion that they running the game” to “A lot of fools puttin’ salt in the game / Until these women get the notion that they runnin’ the game.”
12. A Lofty Price To Squash A Beef
Performing in Amsterdam on his Boy Meets World tour in January 2017, Drake decided to premiere a new song. It caught people off guard because, well, it didn’t sound anything like him. His cadence and rapping style were completely different than anything he had put out and, while that’s not a bad thing in and of itself, there was an issue: it sounded just like up-and-coming South Florida rapper XXXTENTACION. The 19-year-old rapper had only released his first single “Look At Me” the year before. Drake himself had even been recorded dancing and singing along to the new hit. The most notable element on the track was his flow, Drake’s new song copied it to a tee. The Internet erupted, with most on the young rapper’s side. XXXTENTACION did acknowledge the similarities between the songs and said Drake “could have reached out” before using his style. But, rather than help his music career, he had a different form of payback in mind: Drake using his influence to help him beat the charges that have him facing life in prison.
11. Not Even The Dead Are Safe
Leave it to Drake to find a way to not only beef with an aging modern artist, but also the family of a dead jazz musician. Jimmy Smith was an American musician who died in 2005. During his life, he was extraordinarily successful: he released several instrumental jazz albums that made it on the Billboard charts and he was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts Masters Award, the highest honour a jazz musician can receive in the U.S. However, in a bizarre twist, it wasn’t Drake’s use of his music that rubbed people the wrong way. Rather, it was when he used a monologue that Smith recorded for his song, “Jimmy Smith Raps” for his track “Pound Cake/Paris Morton.” Though, it was claimed in the liner notes that the song had been properly licensed, Smith’s family said that was a lie. In fact, they said that no one in Drake’s camp had ever even contacted Smith’s estate about its use. They sued Drake for $300,000.
10. Trying Hard To Subtract The Haters
Sometimes, when you see how blatantly Drake has ripped off other artists, you might start to think that he doesn’t know the Internet exists. How else could he think he could lift verses word for word and get away with it, right? But then, you see what he did to Bay Area-artist Too $hort and you get the feeling he almost wants people to see exactly what he’s doing.
On the 2016 DJ Khaled song “For Free,” Drake lifted a number of lines from Too $hort’s 2006 song “Blow The Whistle.” See if you can spot the difference. Here’s Too $hort: I go on and on / Can’t understand how I last so long / I must have super powers / Rap 225 thousand hours.” Now, here’s Drake: “I go on and on / Can’t understand how I last so long / I must have super powers / Rap 223 thousand hours.” Did you see it? The only change the cheeky 6 God made to the lyric was turning 225 into 223. Get it? He made his number two short of the other. And he wonders why he gets a bad rap.
9. Not Everyone In The Six Loves Drake
You’ve probably never heard of Toronto rapper Mo-G. And if you take his word for it, that’s because of Drake. That’s because, according to Mo-G, Drake has often taken his work and pawned it off as his own without giving credit (or adequate payment). There were two incidents that led to the relationship between these two devolving into a full-on beef. First, Mo-G claimed Drake lifted a line from one of his songs and copied his dance move while he was making his mixtape What a Time To Be Alive. Next, he said Drake and his crew tried to get him into the studio to make hooks and rhymes for his album Views. The alleged pay for that work? $500. So naturally, Mo took to Instagram to call Drake “the fake ass “6god” and “Forest hills creature,” the latter insinuating Drake not only ripped him off, but also J. Cole. Quite a fall from when Drake gave him a shout out on his song “Summer Sixteen.”
8. Drake Isn’t Bad And Boujee
A lot of people have taken offence to Drake’s practice of making remixes of new hit tracks in which all he does is attach a verse to an already popular song for no other reason than to attach his name to the project. They argue it’s self serving and nothing more than a way for him to keep his discography feeling fresh. Undoubtedly, that’s what he was trying to do in 2013 when he provided a verse for the remix of the Migos song “Versace.”
However, that’s not what got Migos on this list. They had no problem with Drake using their name for the song. If anything they enjoyed the exposure he brought them. What they did have a problem with was Drake using that recording session to learn and steal their rapid fire delivery, their signature “Migos Flow.” In an interview with Billboard, group member Quavos didn’t mince words when he said outright, “Drizzy bit the flow.” While he continued to say he wasn’t angry about it, actions speak louder than words. Migos went on to call Drake out for “bitin” on their song “Migos Origin.”
7. One ‘Incredibly Sad’ Cartoonist
If anyone can prove it’s possible for a musician to find trouble anywhere, it’s Dave Valez. Valez is a small-time cartoonist with a mildly popular Instagram account. In 2016, he posted a picture he drew of Drake and Adele to his page. It didn’t go viral, to say the least; the cartoon garnered a little more than 500 likes. Then Drake came. Now, if you’re thinking this would be a story of a millionaire superstar helping a struggling artist then, first of all, you haven’t been paying attention to this entire article, and second, you don’t know Drizzy. Rather than pay Valez for the artwork or even give him a shout out, Drake copied the piece and posted it to his account — only he cropped out the artist’s signature before doing it. Valez went to Twitter, saying he felt “incredibly sad” and showed evidence the drawing was, in fact, his. Drake never responded.
6. A Billionaire Gets On Drake’s Case
Sometimes, you have to think how much of the success of “Hotline Bling” was because of Drake. If you thought there couldn’t be anything other than the set design and music he could’ve stolen, you’d be wrong. According to Billionaire Black, he stole the dance moves he used in the music video, too. The move in question is called the Diddy Bop, and it belongs to Black’s friend, Lil Jay, who had been performing the signature dance for three years at the time “Hotline Bling” came out. Black didn’t mince words when coming at the 6 God, either. In a video he posted online, the Chicago rapper said, “How the f*ck Drake get off doing some sh*t we’ve been doing for three years? … Tell his ass he better give us a verse or we on his ass.” Drake, obviously, never obliged and his video for “Hotline Bling” remains the most iconic of his career.
5. From 0-100 Real Quick
When Diddy was known as Puff Daddy, rap feuds didn’t stay on the Internet. That was the era of East Coast versus West Coast, a time when saying the wrong thing in the studio often resulted in grave consequences. So maybe it shouldn’t be any surprise that when Drake decided to wrong Diddy, things got a little more heated than he was used to. It all started in 2010 when Diddy sent Drake a beat, hoping he’d ghostwrite a song for him. Instead, Drake took that beat and turned it into “0-100,” which was a smash hit and even ended up being nominated for a Grammy. Naturally, when both showed up at DJ Khaled’s birthday in Miami, things got ugly. A brawl broke out that sent Drake to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Diddy then called out Drake at a concert, and Drake responded with a not-so-subtle jab on Instagram. Things seemed to die down in 2015, that’s when TMZ reported the pair shared a phone call to squash the beef. However, just the next year, Drake released the song “4 PM In Calabasas,” in which he referenced Diddy’s debut album in his lyrics and even imitated his laugh while rapping lines like, “Certain sh*t just too wild to reconcile/Take that, take that.” Diddy has yet to respond.
4. The One Who Got Away
None of us would know The Weeknd had it not been for Drake. His initial success only came when Drake featured him on his OVO blog back in 2010, when he was still a relatively-unknown artist outside of Toronto. In the years that followed, Drake kept pumping the Weeknd’s tires: first, it was Twitter shoutouts, then it was appearing on his mixtape Thursday, and finally featuring the young R&B singer on his album Take Care. But after that, things started to get messy. Drake tried to sign the Weeknd to his OVO label, but lost out on him to Republic Records. Drake then sent out this Tweet: “You won’t get away with just a thank you…you owe me a favor.” The Weeknd responded by opening up about his decision and the challenges that come working with Drake. Most notably, he echoed other up-and-coming artists’ concerns about Drake using their work, saying, “I gave up almost half of my album. It’s hard.” The pair haven’t worked together since.
3. There’s Only So Much You Can Do On A Tuesday
Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as The Weeknd. Unlike him, Atlanta rapper and singer ilovemakonnen, born Makonnen Sheran, wasn’t able to turn his time with Drake into prolonged success. The pair began a working relationship in 2014, when Drake jumped on a remix of Makonnen’s hit song “Tuesday.” The collaboration was a huge success, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly after, the Atlanta rapper signed to Drake’s OVO record label. But that’s when the love stopped. Drake moved onto work with other new acts, a move that didn’t go over well with Makonnen, who never really collaborated with any of his new labelmates. Rumors swirled about bad the relationship breaking down and, in April of 2016, Makonnen severed ties with the label. When asked about the whole ordeal, he summed it up: “I’m just an artist, being an artist, and there’s only so much that I can do.” Later, on a livestream with his fans, he went as far as to insult his former mentor and go after his album, Nothing Was The Same: “What’s that ni**a’s album? …What’s that dumbass album with the sky shit? Take Care or some shit?”
2. Champagne Grandpa Gets In On The Fun
Maybe it’s not Drake’s fault that he rubs people the wrong way. Maybe it’s just the way he was brought up. Sounds crazy, right? But how else do you explain his dad, Dennis Graham, getting in on the fun when yet another artist accused him of stealing more content? After Drake released his album Views, R&B artist Keayana “Cokah” Coke noticed some similarities between her song “Too Good” and his song, also called “Too Good.” She posted a side-by-side comparison of the song on Facebook. Her post received over 150,000 views. Despite that, Drake never responded so Cokah went for the next best thing and messaged his dad through his popular Instagram account. She posted a link to her music and asked if he had a chance to listen, to which he responded: “Wow didn’t have a chance to listen but I love it,” which he followed with five praying hands emojis, seven 100 emojis, and six music note emojis. He never responded to her again.
1. Meek Mill Takes An L
It all started with one tweet. On July 21, 2015 Meek Mill, angry that Drake hadn’t been promoting his newest album, decided to unleash the shot heard round the world. He wrote, “ Stop comparing drake to me too…. He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!” The tweet started a firestorm and, rather than backing off his comments, Meek doubled down, saying that Drake hadn’t even written the verse he rapped on his album. He then went on to out alleged ghostwriter Quentin Miller by name. That’s when Drake hit back with his diss track, “Charged Up” (Meek called it “baby lotion soft” and joked “I can tell he wrote that 1 tho”).
When Meek failed to deliver his response track, which was meant to be debuted on Funkmaster Flex’s radio show, Drake struck again. He released his second diss track, “Back to Back,” on July 29, 2015. The song was nominated for a Grammy and the Internet agreed: Meek took an L.