Nicki Minaj isn’t the only Young Money artist who knows how to use controversy to her advantage. Although he’s not quite as controversial as his female counterpart is, Drake has also had plenty of controversial moments throughout the course of his career. And, he’s used those moments to garner more attention for himself and propel his career forward.
Most recently, Drizzy allegedly got into an altercation with Chris Brown at the W.i.P. nightclub in New York City. It resulted in a huge club-clearing brawl complete with flying bottles, massive amounts of property damage, and several major injuries. And, for the last week or so, it’s had everyone talking. It was, in a word, wild.
But, Drake hasn’t let the situation slow him down. Over the weekend, he held a concert at Jones Beach in New York that featured special guest appearances from the likes of Busta Rhymes, A$AP Rocky, and even the Diplomats. He’s also already started to talk about working on his third album and he’s seemingly more focused than ever to continue to get his name out there. And, all the controversy surrounding him right now is certainly helping. So, in light of his most recent incident, we decided to put together a list of The 10 Most Controversial Moments of Drake’s Career. Here’s how the Toronto MC has kept his name on the tip of everyone’s tongue in recent years.—Chris Yuscavage
The Moment: Using his ex-girlfriend’s vocals on the song “Marvin’s Room” without permission
The Date: February 3, 2012
The Controversy: Although Drake later contended that he did have permission to use Ericka Lee’s voice, she hired a lawyer and demanded money for her “performance” on the hit song. He refused to pay her, said that she’d only asked for a writer’s credit for appearing on the song, and also denied that he had ever had a romantic relationship with her.
The Moment: Kissing Rihanna at Manhattan’s Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley
The Date: May 17, 2009
The Controversy: Shortly after Rih-Rih and Chris Brown called it quits following the infamous incident at the 2009 Grammy Awards, Drizzy was spotted hooking up with Breezy’s ex. It made the New York Post the following day and resulted in tons of rumors surrounding the alleged relationship between Drake and Rihanna.
The Moment: Debuting an entire verse dedicated to Rihanna from the first song on his debut album, Thank Me Later
The Date: April 23, 2010
The Controversy: Rather than deny that he was dating—or had been dating—Rihanna, Drizzy attacked the controversial relationship head on when he performed the second verse from his new song, “Fireworks,” during a concert. “I’ll never forget it, baby, what an experience,” he rapped. “You coulda been the one but it wasn’t that serious.”
The Moment: Putting up a billboard in his hometown of Toronto that upset the city
The Date: December 12, 2011
The Controversy: Although Drake was simply trying to pay homage to his hometown by creating a promotional billboard for his sophomore album, Take Care, that looked like a “Welcome to Toronto” sign, some local politicians were upset that he didn’t approve it with them first.
The Moment: Appearing with a large group of underage girls onstage at the 2009 BET Awards during a performance of Young Money’s hit song, “Every Girl”
The Date: June 28, 2009
The Controversy: This was a terrible lapse in judgment that made Drake, Young Money, and BET look bad. When the group performed “Every Girl,” Weezy allowed his daughter Reginae, who was 9 at the time, and some of her friends onto the stage. However, that was obviously not where they should have been while the crew was performing such a crude song. BET and Drake later apologized for the performance.
The Moment: Filming the “HYFR” video at a Jewish temple, staging a fake bar mitzvah, and upsetting the temple’s president
The Date: April 13, 2012
The Controversy: We’re not sure exactly what the a Miami temple president was expecting from Drake’s music video. But, what he saw when the video for “HYFR” dropped was most definitely not what he’d agreed to. He criticized Drizzy for using profanity in the video and conveying a message that’s not consistent with the Jewish faith. “Temple Israel does not adopt, condone, or sponsor any aspect of the Drake video,” Temple Israel president Ben Kuehne said, “and was not involved in its production.”
The Moment: Wearing someone else’s watch on the cover of his second album, Take Care
The Date: June 11, 2012
The Controversy: A man claiming to be the owner of the watch featured on the album cover says that he took his Rolex into a New York jewelry store to be cleaned last year. The next time he saw it, it was on Drake’s wrist on the album cover. Drake denied the accusations and said that he had purchased the watch directly from Rolex. But, controversy is still swirling around the situation.
The Moment: Getting dissed by Common on his track, “Sweet”
The Date: November 2, 2011
The Controversy: In one of the strangest rap beefs of all-time, Common took some cryptic jabs at Drake on his song and later confirmed that he was, in fact, talking about him. That led to a response from Drake, another diss track from Common, and a whole lot of back-and-forth between the two that never really amounted to anything. A lot of people speculated and thought that Serena Williams might be the catalyst of the beef. But, that’s never been confirmed and the two have since squashed their beef and moved on.
The Moment: Getting an Oklahoma City club shut down by police
The Date: March 25, 2012
The Controversy: After a show in OKC, Drizzy and a large entourage rolled to a club called Dollhouse Lounge for a paid appearance. But, the club was shut down shortly after he arrived because members of his entourage were allegedly smoking weed. The club owner asked Drake’s camp to pay him for causing problems that night.
The Moment: Allegedly getting into an altercation with Chris Brown at New York City nightclub W.i.P.
The Date: June 14, 2012
The Controversy: What wasn’t controversial about this moment? From the alleged source of the problem between Drizzy and Breezy (Rihanna!) to the scene that they left in the club that night, every single part of it was super controversial. We get the feeling that, unlike a lot of the other controversies listed here, we’ll be talking about this one for a long, long time. And, rightfully so.