We reflect on Drake and The Weeknd's connection, and how they've impacted each other's careers.
Since 2011, Drake and The Weeknd have dominated the thriving hip-hop/R&B scene in Toronto, though their relationship hasn't always been squeaky clean. Now, with The Weeknd's new album out today, and Drake's following soon after, the spotlight has never been brighter. Will Drizzy and The Weeknd continue to feed off each other? Or will the two finally go their separate routes.
Drake’s Grammy award-winning Take Care album couldn't be done alone. Big-name artists like Andre 3000, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj were featured on the project, but The Weeknd really made the biggest impact in shaping the sound. His presence was felt throughout the album, as most of the songs had a dark and gloomy mood, traits that are reflected in his music. In fact, the singer born as Abel Tesfaye had writing credits on a handful of songs on the album, including “Shot For Me” and “The Ride”. The starry “Crew Love” was a major breakthrough for The Weeknd, who had been previously been exposed to little mainstream play. The two had collaborated once before on The Weeknd’s track “The Zone”, but on a much smaller scale. It wasn't until Take Care where The Weeknd truly left his mark.
In a sense, it seems that Drake helped put The Weeknd on. After all, to many of us, The Weeknd was an unknown before Drake co-signed his debut project House Of Balloons for the world to see on his blog. According to Tesfaye in an interview with Complex magazine, aforementioned tracks “Crew Love”, “Shot For Me”, and “The Ride” were actually supposed to be on his mixtape House of Balloons until Drake got a hold of them. Hungry at the time, he seized the opportunity and let Drizzy use those songs without hesitation. "He really wanted to incorporate my sound, which was inspired by his sound." The Weeknd said in the interview. "It’s not like, “Oh, I had the ‘new sound.’” It was just easier for him to relate to me, because it was his sound with an edge. It was that Toronto sound." Now recognized as one of the top R&B singers in the game, The Weeknd can easily fly on his own. It wasn't until recently when the two Toronto natives finally linked up again.
On August 19th, The Weeknd released "Live For" featuring Drake. This was a big deal because it was their first collaboration since their rumored beef earlier this year. In the interview with Complex, The Weeknd said that there was never any tension between them, however there are still many unanswered questions. Last December, Drake tweeted "You won't get away with just a thank you...you owe me a favor." The tweet was implicitly a shot at Tesfaye, who had signed with Universal Republic instead of Drake's OVO label a few months earlier. To add fuel to the fire, Drizzy had some controversial lyrics on "5AM In Toronto". He rapped, "I show love, never get the same out of niggas/ Guess it’s funny how money can make change out of niggas". It can only be assumed that those lyrics were also aimed at The Weeknd, but if there was never any beef to begin with, then who can be sure? Both artists have denied problems or beef.
For now, all is well between the fellow Canadians. Hopefully their relationship remains strong, and we'll get many more collaborations to come. Kiss Land arrives today, September 10th, and Nothing Was The Same is scheduled for a September 24th release. Both albums will bring their own unique flavor, but expect that OVOXO sound to be incorporated into each project.