Earlier this summer, Billboard.com reported that while sources predicted the Toronto-raised rapper was likely to sign with Universal Motown, 22-year-old Drake inked a deal directly with Aspire, a company co-run by his manager, Cortez Bryant, with distribution through another Universal label — Universal Republic — through Young Money/Cash Money.
But now it seems there has been a shift of sorts, as reps at Motown are requesting all Drake Billboard chart entries be credited to Motown and not Republic moving forward — a change that will be reflected in this week’s charts.
Normally, Drake makes headlines with his music, which has led him to become one of the most buzzed-about MCs in recent years.
But this week the Toronto rapper’s unexpectedly candid comments about Universal Motown head Sylvia Rhone have further stirred blog fodder that began with his dismissive line about the executive on a track titled “Say What’s Real,” from his breakthrough mixtape So Far Gone.
In an interview with MTV News this week, Drake apologized to Rhone, saying his comments — both in the song and in a recent interview — were “emotionally charged” and “very brazen.”
“I can definitely say for me, for furthering the negativity, I can definitely say I apologize,” Drake told MTV News. “I don’t know her personally to discredit her character. It’s not the right thing to do.”
The tension seemed to reach a high point between the parties this past week.
First, when Drake’s comments in the upcoming issue of the Fader magazine got out, he reportedly said, “I don’t f— with Motown at all.” Drake has maintained he signed a deal directly to his management company and secured distribution through Universal Republic, rather than signing with the major label directly.
What a lot of people don’t understand … people may be like, I may be one of the best MCs — not yet,” he told us recently. “I’m 22. I got a lot of growth.”
Which brings up an interesting point: Drake hasn’t even dropped an album. Yes, he’s building up a string of stellar guest spots — like on Young Money’s “Every Girl” and Fabolous’ “Throw It in the Bag” remix — and his mixtape, So Far Gone, is a certified classic on the underground circuit, spawning radio hits “Successful” and “Best I Ever Had.” But with only 10 slots on the Hip-Hop Brain Trust’s list, should a person with no LP under his belt make the cut over somebody who has not only had singles in rotation but put product out in stores?
Even if Drake doesn’t make the Hottest MCs list, he said even being considered is “an honor.”
The debate over who is the hottest MC of 2009 is on! Cast your vote now — series begins August 17, with the top MC being revealed on the August 24 episode of “Making His Band” at 10:00 p.m. ET!
TORONTO — Hollywood heavyweight Jamie Foxx says he’s taking Toronto actor-turned-rapper Drake under his wing to help ease his way through superstardom.
“I’m going to be watching that young man and helping him every step of the way because I think he can really be a superstar,” the acclaimed singer-actor said Tuesday, in an interview before a concert in the city.
“I think for women out there, for the young girls coming up, he provides a little bit of integrity and so I applaud him.”
That integrity, said Foxx, comes from the 22-year-old’s roots as an actor on CTV’s “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”
Shock to the heart. No Main Pick today. We decided to fall back in order to make our grand announcement that we start rolling out picks for the 2009 Hottest MCs in the Game on Monday, August 17. Get on point, get your arguments ready — we look forward to hearing from you about our picks.
Mixtape Daily still goes, though. Today, Lil Wayne’s gorgeous It girl, Nicki Minaj, makes her return to these parts. She has a few stories to share about her and the crew getting down onstage and off and what they’ve been cooking up in the studio.
Nicki Minaj and Drake roll like brothers and sisters. So it was no surprise when Nicki told us about a playful spat they had on tour at the Young Money Presents: America’s Most Wanted Music Festival.
“Actually I think Drake is wack and I don’t think he deserves [his accolades],” she joked. “I’m sorry. We just had a fight in the back. I was about to punch him dead in his face. [One of his mangers] Cortez intervened.”
Minaj got a little more serious, clarifying that she and Drake do not have any gripes with one another. They are thick as thieves.
Lil Wayne protege/ ‘Down’ singer won’t confirm or deny rumors.
In the past two weeks, British pop-R&B singer Jay Sean’s debut single “Down” (featuring Lil Wayne), has rocketed from #63 to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On the iTunes Top 10 songs chart, “Down” is now nestled in between the Black Eyed Peas and Kings of Leon at #2. Yes, to say life is moving exceptionally fast for the newcomer (to most Americans, anyway) would be an understatement.
“It’s absolutely crazy,” Sean told MTV News on the phone from England Thursday. “I’ve been out there in the States for a good six or seven months, and with my song coming in at #2 on iTunes, all my best friends came up to London to be with me for a little holiday. And we were all sitting in my car and I opened up my e-mail and it said ‘Jay Sean in at #6 on Billboard.’ I just literally screamed and all my boys rolled down the windows and screamed, ‘My boy is in at #6!’ ”
In the wake of that success, rumors are now swirling that Wayne protégé/ labelmate Drake will be making a guest appearance on the second single from Sean’s forthcoming album, which is due in October.
When asked, Sean said, “I’m keeping my mouth shut. I love Drake. I think Drake’s an unbelievably gifted lyricist and young and fresh. I think it’s pretty safe to say that since he’s part of the family now, you’re gonna see all of us working together: Me, Drake, Wayne, Baby and Kevin Rudolph.”
A rep for Drake had not responded to MTV News’ request for comment at press time.
Jay Sean’s album, My Own Way, is scheduled for an October Stateside release
Complex: How do you choose your outfit for the show?
Drake: “Me and Oliver will sit down together and figure out what’s a good look for tonight. But I like this outfit, I like this sweater, it’s Robert Geller, I wear a lot of Robert Geller.”
Complex: I’m guessing you’re outfit is influenced by the venue and the part of the country you’re in?
Drake: “The other night it was raining in Saratoga and the crowd was screaming and I could hear them from the bus, screaming. So I just threw on some black jeans, a black raincoat, a bunch of black diamonds—that’s just how I felt, wanted to come out super evil. Tonight is just… it’ll be fresh.”