Charlamagne Tha God may have rebuked Drake’s penchant for R&B crooning on The Breakfast Club back in 2013, but by 2020, the rapper-singer’s ability to craft poppy hooks had long since made him one of music’s biggest stars. This left Charlamagne to make a different argument, declaring that the so-called “Drake era” was a thing of the past, per Revolt. Of course, that wasn’t exactly true, either.
Drake has been deemed bigger than ever, as of this writing. His sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy, was so hotly anticipated that a tiny glimpse of the musician’s silly new haircut in January 2021 was the stuff of headline news and a thousand memes. That’s because Drake’s name is often linked to the title of King of Hip-Hop: those other rappers were “bodied” by a singer, as he’d say, but “heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
While Drake’s Canadian roots and Degrassi past have long earned him a pass on some of his alleged controversial behavior, that eventually started to change. “Can we finally admit Drake isn’t the ‘good guy’ we thought?” read a Refinery 29 headline in 2018, chronicling the rapper’s messy relationship with his baby mamma. There’s more, of course. But if Drake wasn’t enjoying the crown, would we want him to have it? Surely nobody with the energy to scale hip-hop mountain would just lay down on the summit — and he’s not. Drake’s got lots going on, but here are a few things we might overlook.
Drake's selling a candle that 'smells like Drake'
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop infamously launched a candle in 2020 called, “This Smells Like My Vagina,” according to The Guardian. With the celebrity candle biz literally on fire, that October saw fashion brand Revolve announce that everyone’s favorite Canadian rapper was starting an entire luxury candle venture called Better World of Fragrance, according to House Beautiful.
Drake’s brand also has an obviously cool Instagram with tons of followers, none of which are followed back — classic IG flex. Plus, there are various Drizzy-inspired aromas, including Sweeter Tings, Williamsburg Sleepover, Good Thoughts, and Muskoka, per CNN. But the real star is a candle that “actually smells like Drake.” Well, supposedly, anyway. That particular incendiary costs $80 and quickly sold out. According to the company, Drake’s candle evokes a “smooth musk fragrance [that] is introspective as in an interpretation of your beautiful self, yet extrovertive as how you would want others to see your bold and brilliant self.”
Okay, that’s obviously some impressive gibberish, but the bottom line is you gotta buy it to sniff for yourself. And if you do, Drake suggests vibing to the songs that inspired this candle venture, the Live In Eugene album by Midnite. Act fast.
Inside Drake's low-key knee injury
Drake is definitely Toronto basketball’s most well-known groupie. (More on that later.) But his own game was starting to pick up in 2020, too. That stepback jumper is wet, folks — but now that’s all on pause. That October, Drake took to his Instagram Stories to post a photo of himself in bed with a serious brace on what appeared to be his right knee, along with the caption, “New challenge unlocked.” This hinted at a lengthy recovery ahead.
This unfortunately wasn’t Drake’s first issue with faulty knees. He fell on stage in 2009, MTV News reports, and absolutely wrecked himself, tearing his ACL, MCL and LCL, according to his own blog (which is every ligament in the knee). The second time around, it sounded like the same story — but weirdly, he wasn’t sharing the deets. A spokesperson for Drake did confirm that he underwent surgery, but didn’t specify why, per Billboard.
Meanwhile, Drake posted another somewhat cryptic video of his recovery in December 2020 (via Revolt), captioned with, “CONFIDENT STEPS at 5 WEEKS.” He tagged several athletes all recovering from similar high-profile recent ACL injuries, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and — most horrifyingly of all — Joe Burrow. (Don’t watch that last one if you enjoy digesting your food.) Drake added, “Hope all of you are healing up well.” It stands to reason that Drizzy’s ligaments are on their worst behavior again, and that the rapper won’t be doing the “Tootsie Slide” anytime soon.
Drake got in bed with Nike at a controversial time
Nike has come a long way since Bill Bowerman turned his waffle maker into a mold for running shoes for the University of Oregon track team in the 1950s. Decades later, Nike is athletic apparel’s most elite insignia, with a stable of the sporting world’s biggest stars — from LeBron James to Cristiano Ronaldo — and, increasingly, music stars like Travis Scott, inking lucrative deals.
In 2020, news broke that Drake was launching an entire label with Nike called “Nocta,” in what GQ called an “unprecedented partnership between the Swoosh and anyone not named Michael Jordan.” Nocta refers to Drake’s “nocturnal creative process,” something he shares with rappers like Lil Wayne. “I always felt like there was an opportunity for Nike to embrace an entertainer the same way they had athletes,” Drizzy wrote via Nike’s website.
The problem? Nike — particularly, in partnership with Colin Kaepernick — has been among the most vocal brands supporting human rights and “equity-based” political causes like Black Lives Matter, with urgent calls for social justice. But that apparently doesn’t apply to Muslims doing forced labor in Chinese concentration camps: Nike has long been criticized for its exploitation of overseas labor, per The Washington Post. Perhaps on brand, then, just as Drake’s deal was announced, Nike joined with Apple, Coco-Cola, and other mega corporations in “lobbying Congress to weaken a bill that would ban imported goods made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region,” according to The New York Times.
Drake took a cue from 'Billy Jean' amid his baby mamma drama
Drake and adult model Sophie Brussaux were first spotted together in Amsterdam in 2017, according to TMZ. Shortly after, Brussaux went public that she was pregnant and released text messages, reportedly from Drake, that read, “I want you to have an abortion.” Brussaux was horrified, and responded, “I can’t kill my baby simply to indulge you sorry.” The alleged messages also had Drake accusing the model of shaking him down for money. His camp then publicly threw Brussaux under the bus, releasing this statement to the gossip rag: “This woman has a very questionable background. She has admitted to having multiple relationships. We understand she may have problems getting into the United States. She’s one of many women claiming he got them pregnant.”
The rapper didn’t cop to being the daddy until his infamous feud with Pusha-T prompted him to confess on his own track, “Emotionless,” in 2018: “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world / I was hidin’ the world from my kid.” Drake later rapped on “Scorpion” that he really thought he was in a “Billie Jean”-type scenario, per Billboard, and told Rap Radar that he didn’t initially acknowledge his son, because he was waiting on a paternity test that “got ruined in transit.”
Despite his skepticism, however, TMZ reports that Drake had been “financially supporting” Brussaux and his son, even before the birth. As of 2020, Drake and Brussaux were said to be “very happily co-parenting” then-three-year-old Adonis, according to Us Weekly.
Is Drake gonna kill the Grammys?
Back in 2016, it was Kanye West threatening to boycott the Grammys. But not for himself. Like his previous VMA advocacy for Beyoncé, Yeezy said he wasn’t attending if the awards show didn’t stan Frank Ocean. “I’ll tell you this right now: if his album is not nominated in no categories, I’m not showing up to the Grammys,” West said (via Business Insider). “As artists, we gotta come together to fight the bulls**t they been throwing us with.”
Drake concurred. Justin Bieber chimed in, too, saying he didn’t feel the ceremony was “relevant,” according to TMZ, particularly for younger artists. But while Ye and JBiebs became more erratic in recent years, Drake joining the rancor felt different. Drizzy renewed his Grammys grudge in 2020 when The Weekend didn’t receive a single nomination for his acclaimed album, After Hours. “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards,” Drake wrote on his Instagram Stories (via CNN), “and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after.” He added, “It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways.”
Music superstars using their clout to vigorously lobby for who gets what award may spell doom for the Grammys’ weight in gold.
Did Drake and J. Lo play us?
Fans were shocked when Drake and Jennifer Lopez debuted a very public affair with this cuddly photo in late December 2016, according to TMZ. Both stars posted the PDA pic after apparently working together on a project. But the snapshot was immediately dubbed “genius marketing.” While Drake’s alleged player ways are well documented, it was also quite the May-December romance — he was 30 at the time, J. Lo 47.
The photo came on the heels of Drake being spotted twice at Lopez’s Las Vegas residency, according to People. A source told the mag they were just friends, but tantalizingly added, “We shall see,” claiming that both stars were “hoping it becomes something.” But by New Year’s Day 2017, outlets like Page Six were calling foul, with their PDA described as “deliberate” and “saccharine.” An insider went on to claim definitively, “This relationship is fake, it is just a publicity stunt to publicize their record together. If Jennifer and Drake were really dating, they’d be way more private about it.”
Also suspicious? Their reps, usually artisans of obfuscation, were talking to the press. J. Lo’s team perhaps leaked that she had canceled a million-dollar New Year’s Eve gig to hang out with Drake, but her rep added (via Page Six), “They are spending time together, working on a new music project.” The fauxmance was over by February, however, per Us Weekly. Or, as the Daily Beast wrote, “Nothing says ‘real relationship’ like a synchronized Instagram drop.”
Drake has kept Rihanna coming back
Something left out of the strange saga of Drake and Jennifer Lopez? Rihanna. After the two former stars dropped their PR PDA pic, RiRi immediately unfollowed both on Instagram, according to the Daily Beast. She supposedly saw J. Lo as a “mentor” and was miffed that ex Drake would date one of her friends, claimed a source cited by Hollywood Life.
Drake and Rihanna’s on-and-off romance has spanned over a decade, with the duo first being spotted making out back in 2009, per Page Six. But by 2010, Drake was telling The New York Times that Rihanna allegedly played him like a “pawn,” saying, “She was doing exactly what I’ve done to so many women throughout my life, which is show them quality time, then disappear.” The two, however, were seen locking lips again in 2011, TMZ reports. But the very next year, Rihanna was telling Oprah Winfrey that she still had feelings for infamous ex Chris Brown, and described her love life to Harper’s Bazaar as “nonexistent.”
The final straw seemed to come when Drake upstaged Rihanna’s 2016 VMA video Vanguard moment by presenting the trophy with nearly four minutes of gushing praise. Rihanna wasn’t pleased, and when Drake went in for a kiss, he got the cheek. Rihanna later told Vogue that she didn’t like being “put on blast.” But was Rihanna the best Drake ever had? By January 2020, the exes-turned-pals were spotted together at a NY music festival.
Is Drake really 'annoying' the Toronto Raptors?
Surely, no other fan would be allowed the privileges Drake receives at Toronto Raptors games — save maybe Spike Lee sitting courtside for the New York Knicks. But considering Knicks owner James Dolan banned the director from using Madison Square Garden’s private entrance in 2020, Drake stands alone as the NBA’s No. 1 celebrity super-stan. Not that it’s been an easy ride.
In 2018, Drizzy got into a profanity-laden screaming match with then-NBA center Kendrick Perkins. Things got so heated that other players from Perkins’ visiting Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly had to hold Drake back, according to TMZ. The fracas continued after the game, all captured on video, as Drake challenged Perkins to come out of the tunnel and face him, mano-a-Drako. But since the rapper is more than court-side swag for the Raptors — officially dubbed a “global ambassador” for the organization — the NBA reached out and “warned Drake” over his confrontational behavior, per USA Today.
Did he learn his lesson after that stern rebuke? Drake’s boisterousness has been such a fixture at Raptors home games that he was even branded an “annoyance” by the Toronto Sun at the time, which went on to tell Drizzy, “This is his time to sit down, shut up, stop posing for the cameras and acting like you’re part of the show.” Team president Masai Ujiri defended Drake, however, and it should be noted the team won its first-ever title in 2019, as Drake stalked the sideline roaring at refs like a caged lion.
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