Everybody needs good neighbours but things must be a little fraught in Kanye West and Drake‘s neighbourhood right now. The heavyweight rappers’ friendship has been on a rollercoaster journey through the years but has hit new lows in 2018, with secret kids, Travis Scott, Pusha T, and more all being dragged into the pair’s feud. Here’s track the beef from start to finish (although, when we last looked, Kanye was still tweeting.)
It’s not always been tense tweets and threats between Drizzy and Yeezy. Back in May 2009, the then-new friends had lots of praise for each other. On his old blog, Kanye shouted out Drake for one line on his track ‘Every Girl’. “Drake said, ‘Do you like girls like I do?? Les-bi-honest!!!!!’ Best line of the year so far!” he wrote (insert eye roll emoji here).
Days later, Drake returned the favour in an interview in which he credited the Chicago rapper for “shap[ing] a lot of what I do, as far as music goes.” He continued: “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.”
Drake released the track ‘Find Your Love’, which was co-written and co-produced by one Mr West. According to some, it was a leftover track from Kanye’s ‘808s And Heartbreaks’ and, although he was initially fine working with Drake on the version that appeared on ‘Thank Me Later’, he later said his attitude changed when his Canadian counterpart “got too big.”
Drake recorded a verse for what would become ‘All Of The Lights’, as confirmed when a clip of that track leaked online.
Drake was spotted out with Amber Rose, who Kanye had split up with only two months prior. Presumably, the ensuing rumours about her supposed new relationship did not go down well.
‘All Of The Lights’ was released but where was Drake’s verse from the leaked snippet? Drizzy himself seemed non-plussed about the disappearance of his bars, saying he was “completely okay” with being cut from the track.
With the turn of the year, so the first real cracks in the pair’s friendship began to show. While speaking to Tim Westwood, Drake took a not-so-subtle crack at Ye and Jay-Z’s plans to release a joint album. “I heard some other guys are coming out with an album, too,” he said, while discussing his plans to do a collaborative record with Lil Wayne. “There’s two other rappers that are coming out with an album together… I don’t know where they got that idea.”
After that jab, 2011 was mostly quiet until Drake began to take shots at West again. In October, he paid his respects to his peer in an interview while also laying down the gauntlet. “When I was a kid trying to figure out what I liked, it was Ye who I related to the most,” he told The Source. “He was an artist, in every sense, from his cover art to his music. Now, I would say, he is really great [pause] competitor…and friend, at the same time… My goal is to surpass everything he’s accomplished. I don’t want to be as good as Kanye, I want to be better.”
Drake seemingly made another dig at Yeezy and Hov in his cameo on DJ Khaled’s ‘I’m On One’. “I’m just feeling like the throne is for the taking/Watch me take it,” he rapped. It’s not much of a stretch to connect that to the pair’s collaborative moniker, Watch The Throne.
Two years later, Drake and Kanye were on better terms. The latter even made a surprise appearance at Drake’s OVO Fest in Toronto, where he conceded it was the 6ix god’s rise that had inspired ‘Watch The Throne’. “Me and Hov would’ve never made ‘Watch the Throne’ if this n***a wasn’t putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects,” he said on stage.
In an interview that same month, Drake admitted he and Ye hadn’t spoken to each other “in so long and all this stuff got built up.”
Drake was quoted in Rolling Stone saying Kanye’s ‘I’m In It’ has some “real questionable bars.” “Like that ‘Swaghili’ line?” he reportedly said. “Come on, man. Even Fabolous wouldn’t say some shit like that.” In a twist, Drake immediately denied having said those words when the interview was published.
Kanye later responded to the interview on stage in New Jersey, accusing Rolling Stone of “always be trying to pit n****s against each other.” Instead of taking the bait, he rose above it and declared: “We love Drake, we love every motherfucker that put their heart into this motherfucking music.”
A year later, Ye first discussed his plans to make an album with Drake. “It might happen,” he said during an appearance on New York radio show The Breakfast Club. “But he’s probably gonna be mad that I mentioned it on your show.”
With still no sign of that joint record, Drake released ‘Summer Sixteen’, on which he made a quite odd claim. “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye,” he rapped at one point. “And look, man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine’s just bigger’s what I’m saying.” When asked about the line shortly after, Kanye responded: “I have three pools.” Good to know.
A version of West’s ‘Wolves’ appeared online with Drake singing on it. The official version, released a month prior, featured Vic Mensa in his place.
Drake got his revenge by releasing a version of ‘Pop Style’ featuring Kanye and Jay-Z before later removing their verses. The same month, Drake calls Yeezy “one of my favourite people.”
At his third surprise appearance at OVO Fest, Kanye appeared to tease the by now long-awaited joint release. A few weeks later, a billboard featuring the OVO and G.O.O.D. Music logos appeared in LA.
— G.O.O.D. MUSIC (@GOODMUSIC) August 28, 2016
Kanye took time on his Saint Pablo tour to rant about DJ Khaled “setting up” ‘For Free’, on which Drake featured, with radio stations.
In an interview with DJ Semtex, Drake discussed Ye’s comments from the ill-fated tour, saying he wasn’t “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,” he explained. “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.”
After over a year of relative peace, things suddenly get very nasty. Drake’s beef with Pusha T got reignited in a series of diss tracks. On Drake’s ‘Duppy Freestyle’, he responded to claims that he used ghostwriters by saying he had actually ghostwritten for Kanye. He also accused Ye of holding Virgil Abloh back.
Shortly after, New York radio DJ claimed Kanye was meant to feature on Drizzy’s ‘Nice For What’. The same day, Pusha T released ‘The Story Of Adidon’, in which he revealed Drake had a secret son.
Kanye released ‘No Mistakes’ on his ‘ye’ album, which featured lines many considered a response to Drake, including: “Calm down, you light skin.” ‘The Story Of Adidon’ also featured lines about Drake’s skin colour, with Pusha claiming the rapper had “always felt you weren’t black enough.”
Kanye collaborator Malik Yusef implied in an interview that West had heard ‘March 14’, in which Drake admitted he has a son, before ‘The Story Of Adidon’ was released, sparking speculation that he was the one to have told Pusha T that information.
Kanye denied that he told Pusha anything about Drake’s son – a position he has maintained ever since. “I’m ‘Ye. I got major things to do other than be telling him some information about Drake,” he said in an interview.
In the same piece, he added: “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. I don’t play like that, I don’t play in that place… It’s like, look, it ain’t no beef.” Drake responded on Instagram by sharing a Polaroid of him with “THE BOY 6666666666” written on it and a purple demon emoji and laughing emoji in the caption.
A leak of an unreleased collaboration between Drake and French Montana surfaced in which Drake referenced the Yeezy 350 shoes, rapping: “Keeping it G, I told her don’t wear no 350s around me.”
The next day, Ye apologised to Drake for “stepping on” his ‘Scorpion’ release date and for not speaking to Pusha about ‘Infrared’, the diss track that started the year’s nastiest beef. “There should have been no songs with my involvement that had any negative energy towards you,” West said, but still denied that he had told his collaborator about Drake’s kid.
Kanye tweeted a screenshot of a text message revealing Drake had “sent in a clearance request for ‘Say What’s Real’,” his 2009 reworking of the ‘808s And Heartbreaks’ track ‘Say You Will’. “This proves shit faker than wrestling,” he wrote. In several other messages, he tells Drake he “still need that apology for mentioning the 350s and trying to take food out of your idols kids mouths.”
This proves shit faker than wrestling pic.twitter.com/E9wzNycJna
— ye (@kanyewest) December 13, 2018
He hit out at Drake’s choice of emojis again, writing: “Sending purple emojis When I’m dealing with mental shit I need my apologies now Not through scooter [Braun, manager] either Not through Travis [Scott].” West also accused Drizzy of “buying first two rows at Pusha show” and said his alleged part in the fight at Pusha’s Toronto show meant he was “getting people hurt out here.”
There would never be a drake without a Kanye west so never come out your mouth with a threat
— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018
Drake didn’t respond in public but Ye told his Twitter followers “Drake finally called.” In what appeared to be a final tweet, he added: “By the way… not cleared.” However, West then sent a string of other tweets, claiming Drake had “called trying to threaten me” and said that “since the pool line he’s been trying to poke at me and fuck with me.”
He also criticised Travis Scott for “allowing” Drake to “sneak diss” him on ‘Sicko Mode’. “No artist should ever diss me for clout,” he tweeted, before going on to say it was “all positive vibes” and “all love”. Kim Kardashian West joined in the tweet storm, directly tweeting to Drake: “Never threaten my husband or our family. He paved the way for there to be a Drake. My husband is the most brilliant person, the most genius person that I know. He has broken so many boundaries, everything from music, stage design, fashion and culture and will continue to change the world.”