Drake Has Thrown Darts At Kendrick & JAY-Z, But Chooses Not To Face Them At The Grammys
Drake’s More Life marked his seventh consecutive #1 project on the Top 200. The Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic Records “playlist” (as it was marketed) has already achieved double-platinum certification following its March release. However, Drake—who possesses three Grammy awards—reportedly has opted not to submit More Life for consideration in next February’s Grammy Awards. The Associated Press reports this, after speaking to an anonymous source close to the Canadian MC/singer.
No motive was stated. Drake won two trophies this year for “Hotline Bling”: “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap/Sung Performance,” and did not attend. The YMCMB superstar told DJ Semtex, “Even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a Rap song… the only category they can manage to fit me in is a Rap category…maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m Black, I can’t figure out why… I won two awards last night, but I don’t even want them because it just feels weird for some reason.”
Drake, whose never tucked in his competitive spirit, would likely be facing at least two rivals. In the eligibility period, JAY-Z released 4:44 and Kendrick Lamar dropped DAMN. Kendrick’s effort is the only to garner higher first-week consumption on the charts than More Life, as Jay’s 13th album was a Tidal and Sprint subscriber exclusive upon its release. Both Kendrick (7) and Jay (21) possess more Grammy’s than Drake’s three. None of the three MCs ever won “Album Of The Year.” In fact, with the exception of JAY-Z’s 2014 “Best Music Video” grab for “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film,” all wins have been exclusively in Rap and R&B-named categories.
However, other questions are raised as the historically calculated Drizzy opts out of consideration this year. Despite recording and performing with K-Dot and Hova, Drake has a complicated relationship with both.
In 2013, he said to Power 106 of Kendrick’s highly-publicized “Control” verse: “I’m probably like as done as the rest of the world is with that record…I think it came and it went. And not to discredit it. It was a good moment, but at the end of the day it’s just like—it was one of those [sorts] of like fleeting Twitter frenzies that like—it was cool for what it was. My thing is I like lasting power.” In a CRWN interview soon after, Drake said, “I know good and well that Kendrick’s not murdering me.” That October, Lamar’s BET Hip Hop Awards cypher verse included the line, “Nothing’s been the same since they dropped ‘Control’ / And they tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.” Two years later, Kendrick’s “Deep Water” appearance for Dr. Dre touted, “Motherf*ckers know I started from the bottom,” name-checking Drake’s recent hit chorus. There have been other perceived attacks on both sides between 2013 and 2016. Last year, then—President Barack Obama opined that he thought Lamar would best Drake in a Rap battle. Drake responded in verse, begging to differ on “Summer Sixteen.” This month, Kenny admitted that he treats Hip-Hop like “a contact sport.”
Tensions between Jay and Drake are of a different variety. The latest addition was in February, following this year’s Grammy awards. JAY-Z and Beyoncé teamed with DJ Khaled for “Shining.” Within, the Roc Nation MC spit, “I’ve been winnin’ so long it’s like alchemy / I’ve been playin’ cards with the house money / Twenty-one Grammys, I’m a savage ni**a / Twenty-one Grammys, I’m a savage ni**a / I shouldn’t even worry, backward ni**as / Twelve solo albums, all platinum, ni**a / I know you ain’t out here talkin’ numbers, right? / I know you ain’t out here talkin’ summers, right? / I know you ain’t walkin’ ’round talkin’ down / Sayin’ boss sh*t when you a runner, right?” Those bars raised eyebrows among fans and media. Previously, a controversial Rolling Stone interview quoted Drake as saying, “It’s like Hov’ can’t drop bars these days without at least four art references! I think the whole Rap/art world thing is getting kind of corny.” Drizzy would later declare the remarks were not intended to be on the record. That prompted Jay to reply to the rapper by name on a freestyle alongside Jay Electronica. “Sorry Mr. Drizzy for so much art talk / Silly me rapping ’bout sh*t that I really bought / While these rappers rap ’bout guns they ain’t shot and a bunch of silly sh*t that they ain’t got.” Drake would get his own reply in on “Draft Day.” “Just hits, no misses, that’s for the married folk / We all do it for the art, so I could never hate though,” he spits, along with a questionable reference to the “Bay,” perhaps doubling as a nudge to Jay’s wife.
All three artists and collaborators have also competed in surprise releases. Jay’s 2013 Magna Carta… Holy Grail arrived for fans just weeks after being announced. Drake would use a window of less than 48 hours to drop double-platinum 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Just two months later, Kendrick would drop his To Pimp A Butterfly days ahead of schedule, surprising even his label.
As Jay touts his 21 trophies, Drake apparently has no desire to increase his three—on a night that JAY-Z told Tidal’s Elliott Wilson and B.Dot he will be attending.
Whether its Rap peers or disdain for The Recording Academy awards committee and their categorization, the plot thickens.
In other news, reports have also circulated that Lil Wayne is attempting to dissolve Young Money Entertainment, Drake’s label for the last nine years. Wayne has not publicly commented but is nearly three years entrenched in a $51 million legal battle with YM’s parent company and his label, Cash Money.
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