The truth about Drake and Jay-Z’s relationship

Since rising up the ranks in the hip-hop game, Drake has maintained a healthy competitive relationship with rap mogul Jay-Z. Drake created a strong buzz for himself with the release of his third mixtape So Far Gone in February 2009. On the mixtape, he included the track “Ignant,” a cover of Jay-Z’s “Ignorant Sh*t” song featured on his 2007 album American Gangster

The cover helped Drake grab the attention of the Roc Nation CEO and led to an opportunity that very few new rappers have received, Billboard reported. While recording songs for his September 2009 release Blueprint 3, Jay-Z tapped Drake to rap the hook on the track “Off That,” something Hova is not known to do. The move helped set the tone for an amicable and collaborative relationship. 

The following year, the rappers linked back up to finally record a full track together, which was featured on Drizzy’s debut album Thank Me Later. The song “Light Up” filled the void that “Off That” didn’t, allowing Drake to flex his lyrical ability alongside the hip-hop veteran rather than just rapping a hook. But the rappers’ camaraderie hasn’t always been smooth.

Drake upset over D.O.A. Grammy snub

In November 2011 while speaking with Billboard, Drake admitted how bothered he was when his song “Best I Ever Had” lost the best rap solo performance award to Jay-Z’s “D.O.A.” at the 2009 Grammy Awards. “The one that really got to me was when I lost to “D.O.A.”, Drake confessed. “That one to me was, like, really? Not to say that Jay-Z isn’t the most incredible rapper and that ‘D.O.A.’ wasn’t a good song. I just felt like they had an option to give me a Grammy for a mixtape, and they just didn’t do it [laughs]. Because it goes against the grain of everything that is traditional.”

But, instead of taking offense, Jay-Z responded with a handwritten note congratulating Drake on his impressive first-week sales for Take Care, Complex reported.  “Monster number comes in,” he wrote. “Proud of your journey. Peace. Hov.” The two rappers went on to collaborate once again on the song “Pound Cake” featured on Drake’s 2013 release Nothing Was The Same. While promoting the album, Drake told Hot 97 how much of an “incredible mentor” Jay-Z was to him. 

After spending the next few years sending subliminal shots each other’s way through music, the hip-hop heavyweights teamed up again on the 2018 track “Talk Up” featured on Drake’s fifth studio album Scorpion. Later that year, the two rappers posed for a photo after Hova brought Drizzy out for a quick performance on his On The Run II Tour in Detroit.

Drake takes a trip to Brooklyn

Following a decade of periodic collaborations and performances together, Drake didn’t shy away from expressing his love for Jay-Z on social media in 2020. During a discussion about the top five rappers in hip-hop, the Toronto native posted an Instagram comment listing out his own top five favorite rappers of all time, as captured in a tweet posted by Rap Season. After listing the late Notorious B.I.G. in his number one spot, Drake listed Hova as second followed by the rapper who helped launch his career, Lil Wayne. He also added a Toronto artist by the name of Young Tony as well as Andre 3000 of Outkast. 

Later that year, Drake released a pair of songs where he paid homage to Jay-Z once again. The track “Chicago Freestyle” samples Jay-Z’s hip hop classic “Song Cry” off his 2001 album Blueprint. While recording the music video, Drake made a visit to Jay’s native Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, N.Y., as noted by Okayplayer. The song and video were a clear nod to Jay-Z and further signified the admiration and respect Drake has for his “incredible mentor” Jay-Z. 

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