Drake and Kanye are friendly again. Will it last?
Their history proves any reunion is on thin ice.
Hip-hop can truly be a soap opera when it wants to be. Tuesday night, after years of shots at one another, Drake and Ye posed for a photo and video together for the first time in forever — but knowing their history, it probably won’t last too long.
In a surprising turn of events, the warring frenemies attended an event at Drake’s palatial estate in Canada. In a rare Instagram post from Ye’s account, the idiosyncratic artist posted a photo of himself and Drake posing for a photo alongside James “J. Prince” Prince, the music executive who likely negotiated the truce. Just in case the world may misconstrue the post as a coincidental photo op, Drake quashed any doubt of the reconciliation by posting a video on his Instagram page of his arm draped around Ye while the Donda rapper recorded the embrace. The reunion takes place eight days after Ye publicly called for their rivalry to end so they could perform together in Los Angeles on December 7 at a benefit concert aimed to free Larry Hoover, the incarcerated co-founder of Chicago gang Gangster Disciples.
Before you start budgeting your next paychecks to free up some money for a historic co-headlining show from arguably the two biggest rappers of 2021, it may behoove you to take a look into their past history of reconciliations. At first, the rivalry fell in line with hip-hop’s competitive spirit: two alpha males at the top of the hip-hop food chain who realized there isn’t enough space for two people in the number one spot. Drake would send subliminal shots at Ye and Jay-Z for copying his and Lil Wayne’s idea to do a joint album, leading to Drake admitting in 2013 he and West hadn’t spoken to each other in a long time. Then, Ye made an appearance at Drake’s OVO Fest the same year, and credited the Canadian superstar’s undeniable success with inspiring Watch The Throne. Drake called the appearance “probably the most important moment in my career to date.” After that, they’d spend years teasing a collaboration album, hanging out at each other’s Calabasas homes, throwing friendly jabs about the size of each other’s pools like a deleted scene from Succession, and appear to genuinely be friends.
And then their egos revealed the truth.
During a November 2016 performance in Sacramento for his Saint Pablo Tour, Ye unleashed an infamously unhinged diatribe on practically the entire music industry, including implications that Drake and DJ Khaled engaged in payola in order for their “For Free” collaboration to get a massive radio push. A few months later, Drake revealed in an interview while they appeared to be friendly in public, he was never “really sure what he’s referring to half the time.” The next four years, their relationship devolved to the point Ye wanted an apology from Drake for sending purple demon emojis. He also produced the beat for a Drake diss track by Pusha T, and publicly ranted about Drake owing his entire musical existence to him. And this was all after Drake called their reunion on stage at his 2013 OVO Fest a seminal career moment, and the pair were brunching at each other’s houses like desperate househusbands. Drake, for his part, dropped lyrical jabs that Kanye said implied a prior relationship between he and Kim Kardashian West, Ye’s wife and the mother of his children.
Any hope in this truce sustaining rests in the influential reach of J. Prince. In hip-hop, the co-founder of legendary label Rap-A-Lot Records is the iron fist surreptitiously hammering out any issues between artists. When Drake and Pusha T’s feud was at the height of its tension, Prince advised Drake to not release a response track to Pusha’s scathing “The Story Of Adidon,” which revealed Drake to be the father of a son. He was the one who also stood next to a demure Ye as he read his message calling for a truce in his rivalry with Drake, which appeared to be at the behest of Prince. If there’s anyone who can keep the peace between these two, it’s a man who can make Ye look somewhat logical.
But, Ye’s mercurial behavior is the rotten core that could potentially end the reunion. He’s admitted in the past of being jealous of Drake taking his place as hip-hop’s pre-eminent hitmaker, which would explain Drake’s account on HBO’s The Shop in 2018 of Ye inviting him to Wyoming to help Drake with his Scorpion album only to find out the invitation was meant to gain inside information on Drake’s impending release date and the music he’s making. In order for this reunion to actually last, Ye would need to exhibit a level of humility he has yet to show. Can you really trust a man who defends an alleged serial sexual abuser and calls Big Sean, his oldest protege, his “worst mistake” because Sean disagreed with Ye’s political stances?
If you do, I have a river in Nevada and tickets to a Drake/Ye concert to sell you.