Being inspired or biting? Collaborating or ghostwriting? In Hip Hop, the answers to these questions have always separated potential G.O.A.T. emcees from flash-in-the-pan performers. Aubrey Drake Graham has faced these gripes from the public and some of his peers throughout his career.
AllHipHop.com takes a look at 10 times Drake was accused of trying to take the wave from an artist. Is Drizzy the rap version of Shang Tsung who plunders the creative abilities of other acts in order to maintain his power? Or is the 6 God just a master of embracing the Hip Hop zeitgeist? You be the judge.
[ALSO READ: Here Are 10 Artists That Have Had Issues With Drake]
Aaliyah Haughton may have passed away 14 years ago, but her fans still ride hard for the “One In A Million” vocalist. That became perfectly clear when Drake attempted to serve as executive producer for an Aaliyah posthumous album.
In 2012, the Toronto native dropped a track titled “Enough Said” featuring the deceased singer’s voice. Aaliyah’s devotees were not feeling Drizzy’s new song or him overseeing anything having to do with Baby Girl – especially since longtime production partners Timbaland and Missy Elliott were left out of the process. Not surprisingly, the Drake-led Aaliyah album never materialized.
Billionaire Black/Lil Jay
Drake’s music video for “Hotline Bling” hasn’t even been out a full week, but the clip has already spawned numerous memes and reworks with the OVO frontman’s dance moves being the central theme of the online jokes. However, one of Drake’s moves in the vid did not sit well with a Chicago rapper.
Billionaire Black has demanded Drake connect with his FBG crew for doing associate Lil Jay’s “Diddy Bop” in the “Hotline Bling” video. “Everybody at Drake. Tell his ass he better give us a verse or we on his ass,” said Black in his own vlog.
One of the most publicized recent indictments against Drake came from Virginia performer D.R.A.M. He charged the Young Money signee of lifting his internet hit “Cha Cha” for the radio smash “Hotline Bling.”
Twitter exploded when The Social Experiment associate posted “yeah, I feel I got jacked for my record” on the social media platform. Users began debating whether the two songs were indeed similar, but Drake essentially admitted he purposely tackled the vibe of “Cha Cha” in the tradition of Jamaican artists recording over the same riddim.
With the crossover success of “Trap Queen,” Fetty Wap stamped his name as an early contender for “Rookie of the Year.” Then the New Jersey representative followed that triumph with “My Way.” The song was originally listed as a Remy Boyz release with Fetty and Monty, but Drake subsequently added his own verse while also cutting Monty from the remix.
In this case, the original artist didn’t have any issue with Mr. Graham hopping on the buzzing single. Fetty revealed Drake actually asked him if he could spit some bars on “My Way.” He replied, “You’re asking me if you can jump on the song? Go head. Do what you do.”
This one is definitely debatable. There are observers that feel Drake’s decision to team up with Future for What A Time To Be Alive was an attempt to get some of the Freebandz boss’ love from the streets and piggyback off his #1 album DS2.
In addition, the soundscape of WATTBA left the impression it was a Future effort with some Drake verses thrown in. Yet, Drizzy was coming off a flawless victory against Meek Mill, and he is by far the most popular rap star of this era – even without the backing of the Future Hive.
Jace of Two-9
It’s well known Drake has a certain appreciation for the city of Atlanta. His last two full length projects (If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, What A Time To Be Alive) are laced with beats from ATL-based producers – proving there’s no doubt Drake keeps an eye on what’s happening in the A’s music scene.
So when Jace of the Atlanta Hip Hop group Two-9 accused Drizzy of stealing his work for the tracks “6 God” and “No Tellin’,” more than a few eyebrows were raised in Drake’s direction. “6 God” producer Syk Sense claimed Drake had that beat first, but there was never any clarification about the “No Tellin’” theft accusation.
shots shots. im just sayin. pic.twitter.com/sacQDd85bM
— JACE. (@retroJACE) April 24, 2015
more shots. pt. 2. im just sayin’. pic.twitter.com/7FnUpU96qv
— JACE. (@retroJACE) April 24, 2015
Further proof of Drake’s admiration for the Atlanta sound came in the form of the remix to Migos’ “Versace.” Champagne Papi’s version of the ATL trio’s breakout hit put the single on the radar of a lot of mainstream music fans, and it also provided Drake with a new flow to use.
Quavo and Takeoff have talked about how they gave the Young Money star their blessing, and Drizzy shouted out the Migos and producer Zaytoven at the start of his verse. However, the legendary Trap beatmaker stated he felt so many people embracing the “Versace” flow was a foul play. Zay expressed, “I know last year after [‘Versace’] came out, every rapper that’s in the game was using that same flow. So I almost see it as biting, because people will wear it out.”
The most talked about story in Hip Hop this summer was the Meek Mill vs Drake battle. The feud was ignited by Meek’s allegations that Quentin Miller was “ghostwriting” for Drake. At the time he was thrown into the beef, Q.M. was not a household name, but he had been building his credentials in Atlanta as one half of the WDNG Crshrs.
When the world found out Miller was allegedly paid to pen some of Drizzy’s lyrics, people began questioning the platinum selling entertainer’s authenticity. Quentin declined to call himself a “ghostwriter,” but it was reported that his name was not listed in the credits for the Meek/Drake collabo “R.I.C.O.,” despite a reference track of Miller reciting parts of Drake’s verse leaking.
Much like Atlanta, Houston is sort of a second home to Drake. H-Town’s native son Jas Prince is often credited as discovering Drizzy, and the Canadian hosts the annual “Houston Appreciation Week.” But not everyone in Texas is on board with adopting the “Houstatlantavegas” singer.
Sauce Walka slammed Drake for supposedly using Houston’s culture for lyrical content, not giving back to his hometown, and failing to work with the city’s rising talent. The Sauce Twinz member later dropped the diss track “Wack To Wack,” and this week social media users asserted Drake stole Walka’s “sauce” for the “Hotline Bling” video.
“That OVO and that XO is everything you believe in,” rapped Drake on his song “Crew Love” featuring The Weeknd. Back in 2011, the two Canadians were openly intertwining their brands. So much that The Weeknd gave up nearly half of his own album to become the bulk of Drake’s Take Care.
The chart-topping crooner is credited as a writer on numerous cuts off Take Care. Aubrey was certainly the bigger artist in 2011, but The Weeknd’s New Wave R&B sound was gaining traction thanks to his House Of Balloons mixtape which was released 8 months before Drake’s sophomore studio LP. The man born Abel Tesfaye recently said, “I’m not gonna say any names, but just listen to the radio. Every song is House of Balloons 2.0.”