Drake and Kanye West's relationship has been strained for months, but in a series of tweets yesterday, West aired all his grievances with the Toronto rapper, which included claims of bullying, threats and inciting violence at a recent Pusha T concert.
Stop this already bro You getting people hurt out here And over what— ye (@kanyewest) December 13, 2018
The tweets started rolling in when West allegedly received a message from Drake's camp requesting clearance for West's 2008 song, "Say You Will," which Drake remixed and released as "Say What's Real" on his 2009 mixtape, So Far Gone. This pushed West, who was evidently frustrated with Drake's lack of communication with him lately, to publish a string of tweets demanding an apology from Drake for "sneak dissing" him on Travis Scott's hit, "Sicko Mode" as well as generally "getting people hurt out here."
The latter part of that refers to Pusha T's sold-out Toronto concert last month where violence broke out and three people ended up in the hospital, with a fourth in "life-threatening condition after he was stabbed." While rumours did surface that Drake might have potentially purchased a large amount of tickets to that Pusha show "in order to cause a scene," these claims have never been confirmed. It is unclear where West got this information, but he believes this rumour to be true, writing "you get people hurt at concerts."
West plays an integral part to Drake's months-long feud with Pusha T as West has worked with both rappers in the past. Drake, who has traded compliments and disses over the years with West, participated in writing sessions for West's latest album, Ye, though he was not properly credited on the album. West also produced Pusha T's latest album, Daytona, which features the Drake-diss track "Infrared" which reignited their feud this year. Throughout all the Drake and Pusha drama, West's name has been brought up numerous times, with some even believing that West was the one who told Pusha about Drake's son, which Pusha used as ammunition on his follow-up diss track, "The Story of Adidon." Yesterday, West also clarified this rumour: "I told you I ain't tell Pusha about your son."
West then turned his attention to Drake's history of bullying — focusing on his treatment of people who deal with mental health issues — and how that has extended to threats towards him, his wife Kim Kardashian and their children. "Drake called trying to threatened me," West says. "There would never be a drake without a Kanye west so never come out your mouth with a threat."
West's personal claims aside, these are perhaps where some of the most valid allegations lie in his long Twitter rant. There may not be a history of Drake being violent, or instigating it in real life, but there are well-documented cases of Drake bullying others. Let's fact check a few of Kanye's tweets.
When Cudi was in the hospital he sent shots— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018
"When Cudi was in hospital he sent shots." In 2016, Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi shaded Drake in an interview with Billboard Magazine, saying he hadn't heard his collaborative album with Future, What a Time to Be Alive, insinuating that their music is mediocre. Around this time, Cudi also took to Twitter to call out rappers who "be having 30 people write songs for them." He specifically named Drake and Kanye West in his online rant. (Kanye fired shots back at Cudi, but the two reunited a few months later at one of West's shows and this year, the two teamed up for a collaborative album under the name, Kids See Ghosts.)
Cudi's disses inspired a few lines on Drake's More Life cut, "Two Birds, One Stone" where Drake responds by going after Kid Cudi's struggles with addiction and depression. The lyrics went: "You were the man on the moon, now you just go through your phases/ life of angry and famous ... You stay xanned and perc'd up, so when reality set in, you don't gotta face it/ look what happens soon as you talk to me crazy/ is you crazy?"
Many at the time felt this diss crossed the line as Cudi had only recently opened up about his mental health, which included a stint in rehab for depression and suicidal urges. (Even more recently, he said felt "ashamed" to open up about his depression.) Drake never apologized for this diss, and even further angered fans by responding to an Instagram comment challenging his meanness by saying Cudi needed to "stop mentioning my name."
West extends these sentiments of bullying to himself: "This year has been really tough and you have added to the confusion." West, who has had a very busy but tumultuous year has been very vocal about being bipolar, a disorder that can manifest in manic behaviour. In his tweets yesterday, he said situations like the one Drake has escalated between him and Pusha T "can get me ramped." While West himself has a complicated history of picking fights and hurting people, his argument to stop going after those suffering from mental health problems shouldn't be entirely dismissed.
And outside of people with mental health conditions, Drake has had other instances of bullying. In 2015, Drake and Meek Mill engaged in a heated feud, ultimately leading to Drake releasing a couple of successful diss tracks. The consensus was clear: Drake had won that fight. But maybe that win fuelled his ego too much as he continued to rub that win in Meek's face for a while, including a blatant display of memes making fun of Meek at his 2015 OVO Fest performance. (The two has since made amends and collaborated on Meek's latest album, Championships.) In a piece for The Verge, writer Jamieson Cox wrote: "Drake may have earned a consensus victory in this little tussle, but a new problem has emerged: he now risks becoming a out-and-out villain, a role he has yet to play."
And, really, glimpses of Drake the villain have come up even before the Meek feud. Back in 2012, after a viral photo of a woman sporting a Drake forehead tattoo surfaced, the rapper exchanged some unkind words with the tattoo artist. This ended up with Drake showing up to the tattooer's shop in Los Angeles to "give him a warning." (His security guard went in, not Drake himself.) While these two eventually patched things up, this still speaks to what some may see as Drake's bullying and intimidation tactics.
So, Drake's history of threatening and bullying has long been documented but has he finally gone too far? As Kanye notes — again, without any evidence to back his claims — people did get hurt at Pusha T's concert. And whether or not that was directly at the hands of Drake himself, his threats are potentially manifesting in reality now. And as both sides of Drake — the charming, successful global pop star and the aggressive fighter/villain — continue to grow in status, how will he reconcile his image? Some fans have embraced Drake's tougher side, but his bullying tactics may eventually lose him some fans. Whether or not that will affect his ability to sell albums and smash records, only time can tell.