When Kanye West was interviewed on Big Boy’s Neighborhood a few years ago, he was asked if liked any new music coming out. His answer was brief: Yes, he really liked that at-the-time new Drake track “Hold On We’re Going Home.” He liked it so much, in fact, he wished he’d recorded it.
Recently, Drake released his much-anticipated album VIEWS. The record underwent many forms and iterations, including its singles. Notably, the song “Pop Style,” which featured “The Throne.”
“The Throne,” if you forget, was what Jay Z and Kanye called themselves during their collaboration effort Watch The Throne. Many people made the same joke about Jay’s verse, it being about two bars, because everyone on the Internet is highly original like that.
It was a good song, though. Kanye had the best verse on the song. But on his Beats One OVO Sound Radio show, Drake debuted a Throne-less version of “Pop Style,” featuring another verse of himself. Eventually, that version of the track was the one that ended up on VIEWS.
Rumors swirled recently about Kanye and Drake recording an album together. It seemed more “fun idea” than “actually happening.” But then a strange billboard popped up in Los Angeles, which read “calabasas is the new abu dhabi.” The all-green billboard also displayed both Drake’s OVO owl and Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music angel.
In a recent Vogue interview Kanye confirmed the suspicion: Him and Drake have been recording music together and will release a collaborative album.
Judging by the interview, and that Kanye and Drake are touring, it sounds much more in the development stage than a thing currently happening. But it’s worth the speculation: Are we excited about Kanye-Drake joint effort?
I ask because Drake and Kanye don’t necessarily bring out the best tendencies in one another. It’s bigness they’re after with each other; bigness in records, bigness in expectations, bigness in such an event. They’re would be an Internet listening session as Drake releases songs on his OVO Sound show. Some deal would probably be made so Kanye could release some tracks or a video on big brother Jay’s Tidal streaming service.
Speaking of which: Was Kanye’s Twitter rant about the streaming wars urged from his wanting to collaborate with Drake? Maybe, but interesting to consider regardless.
Both Kanye and Drake released new albums this year; the records couldn’t sound any different. Kanye’s Life of Pablo was a frenetic, abstract collection with sounds heading inward. A dark subconscious permeates every song and when Kanye raps “Name one genius that ain’t crazy,” you have to believe he’s referring to himself. Drake’s VIEWS might be too long, but it exists more as structure for his pop records than an album. It’s a hit factory. He chased a global stardom with “One Dance” and “Controlla,” and succeeded.
But where do these two avenues intersect? Do they intersect? Yes, Drake was birthed from the new pop world Kanye created with 808s and Heartbreak—some of Drake’s best rapping was on “Say What’s Real,” a freestyle over Kanye’s “Say You Will.” And yes, Kanye and Drake sounded great together on posse track/LeBron mythos advertisement “Forever.”
Here’s the thing about waves: They always crash ashore.
But I remain suspicious. A Kanye-Drake joint sounds like a great idea…if it were five years ago. Drake buried the “Pop Style” version featuring The Throne because Kanye washed him on his own song. Drake’s formulaic stunting dated him when placed aside Kanye’s spastic energy. And one of Kanye’s favorite Drake tracks wasn’t even a Drake creation; “Hold On We’re Going Home” was a Majid Jordan record Drake basically hopped on, claiming it as his own. That very song helped instigate the main criticism against Drake: that he’s a wave-rider. That he’ll do anything to maintain his pop king status.
In many ways, this collaboration idea sounds wave-riding in some form, though it’s unclear whether Kanye’s riding Drake’s wave or vice versa. Maybe it’s both. But here’s the thing about waves: They always crash ashore. Let’s hope Kanye and Drake like the beach.