Earlier this year, artist Meek Mill and others accused Drake of not writing his own raps. Now Drake is finally addressing those statements.
In Fader’s latest cover story, the Toronto-based rapper brought up the issue before reporter Leon Neyfakh had a chance to ask him about it.
“I’m just gonna bring it up ’cause it’s important to me,” Drake told Neyfakh.
“I was at a charity kickball game — which we won, by the way — and my brother called me. He was just like, ‘I don’t know if you’re aware, but, yo, they’re trying to end us out here. They’re just spreading, like, propaganda. Where are you? You need to come here.’ So we all circled up at the studio, and sat there as Flex went on the air, and these guys flip-flopped about how they were gonna do this, that, and the third.”
Drake of course was talking about Hot 97 radio DJ Funkmaster Flex. Flex stoked the fire when he announced on his radio show that someone had given him tapes of Drake songs originally recorded by other artists (“reference tracks”).
Flex thought this would prove to the world that Drake is a fake, and that he just copies other artists’ work.
The same night Flex made the announcement, Drake recorded a diss track called “Charged up,” and immediately released it. “Given the circumstances, it felt right to just remind people what it is that I do,” Drake said.
But when he got no response from the other side, he was confused and frustrated.
“This is a discussion about music, and no one’s putting forth any music?” he said. “You guys are gonna leave this for me to do? This is how you want to play it? You guys didn’t think this through at all — nobody? You guys have high-ranking members watching over you. Nobody told you that this was a bad idea, to engage in this and not have something? You’re gonna engage in a conversation about writing music, and delivering music, with me? And not have anything to put forth on the table?”
He added, “It was weighing heavy on me. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how there was no strategy on the opposite end. I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand it because that’s just not how we operate.”
Drake then knew what he had to do — put the finishing blow on his foes. That’s when he released a second diss song titled “Back to Back.” He said he wanted to make it the song of the summer and many would agree he followed through.
“This has to literally become the song that people want to hear every single night,” Drake said. “And it’s gonna be tough to exist during this summer when everybody wants to hear this song that isn’t necessarily in your favour.”
The reason people had such a problem with the accusations against Drake, is that for the longest time, hip-hop listeners tied authenticity and solo efforts together. If artists worked with other artists they were seen as phonies.
The new era of music, however, has produced a different mindset.
Drake says music is sometimes a “collaborative” effort.
“I need, sometimes, individuals to spark an idea so that I can take off running. I don’t mind that,” he said. “And those recordings — they are what they are. And you can use your own judgment on what they mean to you.”
In Drake’s song Tuscan Leather, he claims he’s “on a mission tryna shift the culture.” Five years into his illustrious career, that’s exactly what he’s done.