Breaking Down Drake Vs. Kanye West: A Detailed History

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    <strong>Year:</strong> 2007
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Both Drake’s first three albums and Kanye’s first three albums (for comparison’s sake, we’ll leave out everything after Graduation), is that both trios defined and explored a sound, ethos and overall theme, and took them to what seems like a logical conclusion. Kanye would go on to change the face of hip-hop with 808s And Heartbreak—whether you liked the album or not—while Drake is poised to step out of the brooding emo-rap he cultivated on Thank Me Later, perfected on Take Care and expanded on Nothing Was The Same.

What Kanye and Drake each do with their music is inherently different, even if you want to lump them both lyrically into the overly-emotive-rapper trend. One way can be to look at each rapper’s chart success with their first three albums, but even that doesn’t indicate much; each of Drake’s debuted at No. 1, while only Norah Jones’ platinum-selling Feels Like Home kept Kanye’s debut, College Dropout, from the No. 1 spot, thus doing the same as Drake. It’s easy to look at first week sales, as below:

kanye drake album sales

…but that distinction can be waved away by the changes the Internet and streaming services have brought to the music industry over the past decade. Lyrically and culturally they can be regarded as at the very highest level in their respective lanes; Kanye took the backpack rap ethos mainstream (though he thought to stop and apologize to Mos and Kweli—and, later, Spike Lee as well—for his indulgence in the finer things), while Drake made damn sure that no one would brood about another man’s girlfriend at 2 in the morning without thinking about him doing it first. And by the third album, the tone of each had turned defiant and triumphant, as they both took their places at the table of the biggest rappers in the world.

As long as each album grew bigger than the last, you can say that each was pushing forward. Platinum status will take care of everything else.

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  • BrianRaider

    I Guess This Is A Cold War. I Didn’t Even Know A Rift Existed Until People Were Talking When Ye Did The Ovo Fest. That’s When I Heard It. Well I Enjoy Both Brothers Music! & Im About Unity Lets Put The Past In The Past Make Music & Money Together!!!! The Work They Made Together Is Timeless!!! #Unity!!!

  • YeezyTaughtMe

    XXL is forgetting one key component here. Aside from the fact that The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation are all monumentally better than any of Drake’s albums, Kanye also PRODUCED pretty much every track on those albums as well as acclaimed albums for Jay, Common, Scarface, etc. There should be another aspect of this “feud” called production, and Drake has nothing on Kanye there.

    • YeezusTaughtMe


  • Criquet

    Drake all the way just in 3 years he slayed any rappers & will continue to make history coz he is THAT guy. the most versatile artist ever cant do no wrong in my eyes whereas Kanye will stay delusional. i mean how can you want to be recognized amongst fashionista who worked so hard in years just like that coz i’m Kanye….

    • Jose J-Intellect Arroyo

      What rapper did Drake “slay”? IMO, he can’t really sing, not being able to hit high or low notes and doesn’t even produce his own material. On the most trashiest label right now, he (like his label mates) has no lyrical substance and raps about the same exact thing, missing women or wealth. At least Kanye can get lyrical, as in Gorgeous, and released masterpieces (College Dropout, Graduation and MBDTF)

  • kthack
  • HipHopHead999

    Both are some of the softest and most feminine rappers ever.

    • joeyaims

      Who you like?

  • SuperCR45 .

    Thats weird drake brought Kayne west in his ovo fest in Toronto

    • YeezusTaughtMe

      And your point?

  • SSgt Williams

    So let me get this straight? We are comparing an artist whom broke doors down, setting trends and will continue to break down walls for other artists after him to have a chance to follow there dreams? Drake didn’t design the Jordan 10s. Drake won’t design a Jordan shoe. Will he get a PE (Player exclusive) such as a different color of an already made Jordan shoe? Yes. Drake isn’t breaking any new rules here like Kanye. Kanye designed the Yeezy I and the Yeezy II respectively(hence why he demanded royalties for he design). Drake has a long way to go. What has Drake done that Kanye or anyone else for that matter haven’t done? Write an article on that.
    You forget, signing rappers on shoe endorsement deals has been done before. 50 Cent and G-Unit with Reebok, Rick Ross with Reebok, Big Sean with Adidas, Tyga with Adidas, Kanye with Nike, Eminem with Jordan, Drake with Jordan, the list continues. Tell us something we don’t already know.

  • vanchi

    y’all talking bout kanye doing so much over drake, drakes only been in the game 3 years give the niga time i bet y’all aint gina be saying shit in a couple years. “drake can’t sing”, he aint a singer he’s a rapper. “kanye designed his own shoes”, drake doesn’t wan a design shoes he just signed the deal to make more money who wouldn’t? “Kanye produced his own album”, kanye started as a producer and became both drake is just a rapper so why would he produce it? if drake and wayne create a “watch the throne” type album they will kill the game no buts about it

  • James

    The elephant in the room when it comes to this comparison is Grammys.
    Drake =1, Kanye = 21. Therein lies the rub. Drake still has some way to go before this becomes a serious debate.

    • Pro

      Hahaha! Very valid argument. I wud like to believe XXL deliberately left out awards in the comparison to balance things up. Drake still has a long way to go before any serious comparisons can be made.

  • Trevor Thompson

    To even compare Drake to Kanye is disrespectful. XXL needs to take its mind out of its oxygen-depleted anus, wake the fuck up and smell the goddamn coffee. Kanye is lyrical titan fused with a navy seal on the beat.. Drake? Nigga is in the infantry.