“And that’s around the time/That your idols become your rivals/You make friends with Mike/But got to A.I. him for your survival,” Drake raps on “Thank Me Now,” a fitting summary of his relationship with Kanye West. Instead of Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan, the hip-hop all-stars are more akin to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in their early Laker years. Working together, the two could potentially be unstoppable, but unfortunately their egos seem to be too big to share the same rap throne.
In the past decade, Drake has gone from idolizing Kanye, to collaborating with him, to beefing with him in a constant loop that shows no signs of stopping. Recently, Ye has become collateral damage in the ongoing feud between the Canadian rapper and G.O.O.D. Music affiliate Pusha-T. West has tried remaining as neutral as Switzerland all summer, but it hasn’t stopped Drake with throwing multiple shots in music and on social media.
With Drake apparently taking more shots at Ye on a recently unreleased track, it seems their latest feud is far from over. Until their beef settles, and start working again, let’s take a brief look back at the history between Kanye West and Drake and see what led rap’s two MVP’s to their rollercoaster relationship today.
Chapter One: Cosigns and freestyles
It’s no secret that Drake’s earlier music was inspired by Graduation, 808’s & Heartbreak and Kanye’s overall ability to be vulnerable and emotional through his music. From 2007-2009, Drake hopped on various Ye tracks including “Barry Bonds,” “Swagga Like Us,” and a re-imagined “Say You Will” on his classic mixtape So Far Gone.
The pair reportedly met for the first time in 2009 in Hawaii around the same time Kanye was working on 808’s & Heartbreak. Kanye would later praise Drake for one of his punchlines on “Every Girl” in a now-deleted KanyeUniverseCity.com blog post stating, “Drake said, ‘Do you like girls like I do?? Les-bi-honest!!!!!’ Best line of the year so far!”
Drake tells MTV, “Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes… Before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I’d even go as far as to say he’s the most influential person as far as a musician that I’d ever had in my life.”
Chapter Two: Collaborating on ‘Thank Me Later’
In the summer of 2009, the pair would finally work together. Kanye served as the director for the controversial music video for Drake’s smash hit “Best I Ever Hard.”
It would start a chain of collaborations including Drake’s star-studded “Forever” anthem and Jamie Foxx’s “Digital Girl.”
In 2010, Kanye produced two songs for Drake’s debut album Thank Me Later. “Find Your Love” served as the lead single for the album while “Show Me a Good Time” was another strong cut on the full-length. Kanye would later enlist Drake for vocals on his star-studded single “All of the Lights” off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Chapter Three: The disses begin
Their relationship finally took a turn in 2011 when Watch the Throne was announced. Before Kanye West and JAY-Z’s historic collaboration, Drake and Lil Wayne were already working on a joint project. Drizzy told DJ Tim Westwood that he was working on a joint album with his mentor Lil Wayne before WTT became a thing.
He felt a certain way about it, and made sure to throw a light jab at Kanye West and JAY-Z in the process. “We still got to do that album,” Drake said about his Lil Wayne project. “I heard some other guys are coming out with an album, too. There’s two other rappers that are coming out with an album together… I don’t know where they got that idea.”
Chapter Four: OVO Fest reconciliation
In 2013, Drake surprised fans at his annual OVO Fest in Toronto after bringing out Kanye to perform, who later admitted that he was paying attention to Drake’s moves. “Me and Hov would’ve never made Watch the Throne if this n*gga wasn’t putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects,” he told the audience. Drake would go on to suggest that night was “the most important moment in my career.”
Later that year, during an interview with Billboard, Drake spoke openly on his strained relationship with Kanye West. “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 forward. Hopefully we give the world what they want, because I know they want it. I know me and Ye could do some crazy shit together.”
Chapter Five: Joint album rumors
In 2015, Kanye West confirmed on The Breakfast Club that he and Drake were “gonna do an album together… It might happen… But he’s probably going to be mad that I mentioned it on your show.”
He further states, “The ‘Wolves’ song came from a conversation that me and Drake had where we was gonna do an album together, and the album was called Wolves. I asked him and we talked about it and he said yeah, we was gonna do it, he was sending beats back and forth. It might happen ’cause I threw that out there.”
Chapter Six: Mystery billboards
In August 2016, rumors of their joint album resurfaced after mysterious billboards that feature both logos from OVO and G.O.O.D. Music.
The very next night, Kanye added more fuel to fire asking fans “Y’all ready for this album?” during a concert. He also played Drake’s single “Pop Style.”
Chapter Seven: Kanye West’s infamous ‘Saint Pablo’ Tour rant
Jumping forward into 2017, there’s still no joint album and their relationship seems to hit the “beef” stage once again. While on his ‘Saint Pablo’ Tour, Kanye targets DJ Khaled’s hit single “Free Money” featuring Drake suggesting that he was engaged in payola.
He rants, “Is it just me or did you hear that song so many times—you say you wanna play ‘For Free’. Aye, aye. You know what it is, though? Because aye, I love Drake. I love Khaled. But they set that song up, bro. … Khaled, I know you got hitters from Miami. Please do not send them at my head. I just want to have a conversation about how we playing radio’s game. Khaled, you a real n*gga. Khaled, you a real n*gga. You got the keys.”
Drake would later respond in an interview with DJ Semtex saying, “I’m not really sure what he’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… 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.”
Chapter Eight: “Glow”
By the spring of 2017, the two would squash their differences yet again and collaborate on the track “Glow” off of Drake’s More Life.
Chapter Nine: Kanye West gets dragged into Drake vs Pusha-T beef
Even though summer ’18 was a huge moment for hip-hop, seeing releases from top acts like A$AP Rocky, Eminem, Pusha-T, Nas, Kid Cudi, the season definitely had its fair share of drama. Of course, Drake and Ye were at the helm of it. Having achieved icons status in our culture, both rappers have always dealt with controversy when in album mode, especially Kanye with his Twitter fingers and Drake with his beef with other rappers. This time around, his beef was with Pusha-T.
With the drop of Pusha-T’s DAYTONA came a diss track aimed specifically at Drake, “Infrared” brought up the Toronto rapper’s ghostwriting scandals of the past. Less than 24 hours later, Drake fired back with “Duppy Freestyle,” aiming at Pusha and Kanye.
Drake raps, “I could never have a Virgil in my circle/And hold him back ’cause he makes me nervous/I wanna see my brothers flourish to there higher purpose/You n****s leeches and serpents/I think it’s good that now the teachers are learnin’.”
Chapter Ten: Kanye West denies being involved
After Pusha released the final blow to Drake with “The Story of Adidon” breaking the news of his son, Kanye denied being involved. In an interview with Chicago radio station WGCI, West denies that he told Pusha about Drake’s kid. “I’m ‘Ye. I got major things to do other than be telling him some information about Drake.”
However, in a Rolling Stone story a month prior, Malik Yusef reveals that Kanye heard Drizzy’s son-reveal track “March 14” before Pusha dropped his diss.
“I was not there, but I do know that story: [Drake] played early versions of those songs and so on and so forth,” Yusef says. “You gotta be careful how you move, I think. Not I think, I know: You gotta be careful how you move, what you say to people, what gets out, and the whole nine [yards].”
So, Kanye could’ve been the one responsible for telling Push that Drake was “hiding a child.” We’ll never know for sure.
Also in West’s interview with WGCI, he opens up about his current relationship with Drake stating, “People be around your family and be in your house and this and that then, they get mad about a beat and send purple demon emojis,” West said. “I don’t play like that, I don’t play in that place… It’s like, look, it ain’t no beef.”
Drake responds later that day on Instagram with:
Chapter Eleven: Drake disses Kanye in unreleased track
Drake isn’t done throwing shade. On September 4, a snippet of an unreleased Drake and French Montana track called “No Stylist” leaked, and with it, a Drizzy verse taking shots at Ye’s YEEY 350 line. “Keeping it G, I told her don’t wear no 350s ’round me,” Drake raps on the track.
Chapter Twelve: Kanye’s apology
On September 5 2018, the very next day after the Drake diss track leaked, Ye took to took Twitter to apologize to Drake in a series of tweets. He addressed “stepping on” Scorpion‘s release date, denying baby reveal claims, and loving him and Pusha-T equally as artists.
Chapter Thirteen: Kanye’s call out
A couple weeks after Kanye’s apology in response to Drake’s “No Stylist” diss, he went off on Drizzy again via Instagram, albeit respectfully. This time around, it was in reference to Drake’s viral hit “In My Feelings,” and its reference to “Kiki,” who some speculated might be Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian.
“The fact that people are making rumors and thinking that you fucked my wife and you’re not saying anything and you’re carrying it well like that. Don’t sit well with my spirit,” he said. “You know, if I had a girlfriend from Chicago and her name was Ranita and you were married to Rihanna, I wouldn’t make no song called RiRi. So when you’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t know where it comes from.’ You’re too smart for that, bro. You know where it came from.”
Who knows how the next chapter of this story will develop, but if the history of Drake and Kanye West’s relationship proves anything, it’s that these two have a legendary love-hate thing going on.