Drake has some things off his chest.
In what could be his only interview before More Life drops, the Toronto native spoke with the U.K.’s DJ Semtex about Meek Mill, Kanye West, the Grammys, and more.
To start, Drake reflected on his career, including the success of his Views album, and delved into comments that ‘Ye made during his Life of Pablo tour last year.
“I went from like working on a project with him to him like sort of like publicly sh*tting on me and DJ Khaled for being on the radio too much,” Drizzy said in the interview that was recorded Monday (Feb. 13), but aired on OVO Sound Radio Saturday (Feb. 18).
Despite showing a little sympathy for West, who was hospitalized following a string of on-stage rants, Drake has since decided to “distance” himself from certain people.
“Whatever it is that you’re going through I accept it, I don’t respect it all because I feel like me and Khaled are good people,” he added. “I don’t understand why we’re the target.”
He also talked about experiencing racism for the first time, and being told that he can’t relate to the “Black American struggle” because he’s Canadian. The discussion on race and culture led into the Grammys.
“At the end of the day when it comes to everything else I’m black,” he said. “I am referred to as a black artist. At [the Grammys] I am a black artist. I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song. The only category they can manage to fit me in is a rap category maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black? I can’t figure out why. Just like I can’t figure out why ‘One Dance’ wasn’t nominated.”
Sharing the same views on the Grammys as Frank Ocean, Drake noted that the awards show doesn’t “define” an artist’s success.
“By the way I’m speaking to you as a winner,” he pointed out. “I won two [Grammys this year] but I don’t even want them. It just feels weird for some reason, it just doesn’t feel right to me.”
Towards the middle of the hourlong talk, Drake explains collaborating with Quentin Miller, which opens up the conversation about Meek.
“Meek Mill at the time, due to some issue with Nicki [Minaj] or whatever it was, decided to create a narrative that I don’t write my own music because that was what was convenient for him at the time,” he told Semtex.
“The reason why I never felt necessarily pressured to sit down and defend myself right away, or go do an interview, [was] because anybody that’s been in any room with me knows first of all knows that I am one of the best writers, period. That is what I do,” Drake explained. “That is what I’m known for. I go and write for other people. I write my biggest songs, my biggest hits; the massive majority of my catalogue has all been written solely by me, which is a big feat, because music is a collaborative process.”
The Meek beef, Drake claims, unfairly turned him into a “poster child for ghostwriting.”
“You can interview Meek and ask him if he thinks it was worth it, I bet he’ll tell you ‘no,’” he said.
And Drake doesn’t think the issue had anything to do with not tweeting about Meek’s album, though he’s not sure what caused the feud.
“Unfortunately, on display for the world, that was a terrible impulsive decision because you weren’t ready,” he said of Meek. “And in my mind I study the game, and also I’m a very calculated thinker, I’m sitting here thinking you’re ready. I’m thinking this goes so high up that I’m about to see the craziest sh*t I had ever seen. I didn’t know who was going to be on a diss track with him, or what he had ready. I’m thinking this is like three months in the making and I’m getting blindsided.”
It wasn’t until after he retaliated with “Charged Up,” that Drake apparently realized that Meek wasn’t prepared for a lyrical battle, per se.
“I knew I had to retaliate because I realized he was unprepared,” he explained. “When you realize someone is unprepared you have to strike.”
The next and possibly most memorable “strike” in the beef became“Back to Back.” While Drake categorized the Meek diss as a mixture of “wit and great writing,” he made it clear that the goal wasn’t to disrespect Minaj “in any way.”
“You know how good I am at writing music but you really tried to spin the entire narrative of my career, but like end my life and take food from my family and really end it all,” said Drizzy. “And you didn’t even do it through music you just tweeted. It was like sickening to me. I had to really get revenge on that situation. I respect revenge when it’s warranted and that was warranted.
“It’s not something that I’m proud of because it took just as much of an emotional toll on me — I mean, maybe not as much as it did on him — but it took an emotional toll on me,” he admitted. “It was just a lot. You always gotta hear about it, even just seeing people get so riled up off negativity. It didn’t feel great. It was what had to happen at the time.”
Drake goes on to share the only “positive” outcome of the Meek situation, and why he doesn’t see a Jay Z and Nas-style reconciliation in the near future.
Listen to the full interview below.