Drake Took the Easy Way Out

I finally watched the video of Weezy jumping out on stage during Drake’s Las Vegas performance, and, it was cool. Obviously scripted, Drake’s “shocked” look and all, but still cool. It’s a fair bet that when the most popular rapper in the game returns from jail, his first live appearance would be big.

Unfortunately, I was not present for the Drake show. Wait, I’m going to rewrite that sentence. Fortunately, I was not present for the Drake show. Ah, that sounds better.

I haven’t been a fan of Drake lately. Though it was cool that Weezy airlifted himself into the show. Okay, my ADD is rearing its ugly head right now. I’m just going to blurt out something that I’ve been pondering these past few months, which came to mind as I watched the video of Weezy crashing a happy, grateful, surprised, and perhaps jealous, Drake while performing.

Drake joining Weezy and Cash Money was like when LeBron joined Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat.

Yes. Take it in.

It feels good to write it out like that. Whether or not you agree, it’s the truth. Now, before you cuss me out, I want to clarify that I do not think Drake is the LeBron of the rap game. But he could be a poor man’s version, for this argument’s sake.

Think about it. Drake came into the game as a triple threat. Acting, singing, annnnnnd, oh yeah, rapping. He had hype. Hype not seen since 50 broke into the game. Granted, a different type of hype, but full on, Sylvia Rhone-backed, national heartthrob hype. He could sign with any label, join any crew, and request any amount of money, technically. People even said he could go independent and change the game. The possibilities were endless. Just like LeBron. A triple-double threat every game, with a chance to be one of the greatest.

From the outset, we knew that Drake was affiliated with Weezy. But when Interscope, Def Jam, and all the others are waving that check, affiliations don’t matter. Or so we thought. While I did not see the fine print, Drizzy reportedly received $2 million. I think he could have got a lot more from other labels, but, in the same sense that LeBron joined Wade to win the championship, Drake aligned himself with the biggest rapper in the game, for less money, but with an easier road to success.

That’s it right there. Weezy sold his millie in a week. Wade won a championship. The Heat and YM both provided the quickest road to a championship. The problem with Young Money was that after Weezy, there wasn’t much else. Mack Maine and Gudda Gudda were weed carriers posing as part of the YM rap crew until some fresh talent could be brought in. Drake and Nicki Minaj were the LeBron and Chris Bosh of YM. The future of YM is as bright as the Heat’s.

That’s when I started to sour on Drake. He could have done anything. It’s very rare when the hype that he created could reach such a national scale. When he joined Weezy, I feel like he took the easy way out. In turn, instead of becoming a star in his own right, Drizzy was reduced to second fiddle, aiding the undeniable MVP of the rap game.

That’s why when Weezy jumped out on stage in front of all the screaming teenage girls, Drake was reduced to a firefly, hovering over a fireball that had just returned to reality, scooping up every Drake fan with him. Much like LeBron could have signed with any team and made it a contender, or put up record statistics for any amount of money allowable, Drake had the same position. Whether it was a lack of competitiveness or a fear of going it alone, both the Canadian-born, formerly wheelchair-bound, high school senior heartthrob, and the New Orleans South Beach Savior took the easy way out.

It wouldn’t really be fair for me to say that I dislike Drake because of all this. Because I don’t dislike him. I just feel like he passed up an incredibly rare opportunity. He could have sold one million units out of the trunk of his car. I just simply didn’t love his debut album.

In what was one of the first times I believed a word coming out Saigon’s mouth in which he wasn’t in a booth, I found myself nodding my head along to this quote of his:

I love Drake, but I don’t think too many people are really anticipating his next album like crazy. Like, you almost know what you’re gonna expect from him: the love songs, singing.

Sai’ nailed it. Drake will probably keep selling and making hit records, but its all unoriginal at this point. He had a chance to carve out his niche and build his own brand, all without having to rely on anyone. Instead he piggybacked onto Weezy’s dreads and Birdman’s shiny baldhead, and rode them into the safe route of standard stardom. Meh. —Shlomo

  • Kid Pistol

    YES. Perfect.

    • Justa Phella

      Yes. Perfect. Wait, im going to rewrite that.
      No. Perfecto.

  • danny ocean

    I agree that drake could of went to any lable, but it he didnt go to YM, then he would of disloyal as well as anyone else would. The hottest lable of the time (and i stress of the time because the new hot lable is Good Music), wanted you, invited you on tour, and only had one major artist bigger than you. My question is, how do you not sign? In this game now a days, its so much important to play it safe then to be so renegade with it.

  • QthaGreat!

    That is a very interesting perspective. Drake still has the talent and skill set to break away from the typical YM/ CM umbrella of success. He will have to innovate a new style for himself. I think this is why making to many mixtapes tarnishes an artist to an extent. Drake made so amny great songs before being put on officially. Either way i think it was a smart move to align himself with the best case scenario at the time. Right now is the time to support Weezy and then innovate and elevate himself so that there won’t be a debate about his success anymore. The dude has talent for real, now its time to showcase it on a larger scale.

  • Dub

    TBH, I don’t think Drake has the entrepreneurial spirit. I think he’s comfortable being 2nd to Wayne, which I have no problem with. Reason I say this is a lot of niggas who come in try to be bosses b/c they want their boys to get on, ie 50- G-Unit, Jeezy- USDA, TI- PSC, etc. I don’t see Drake having anyone in the wings, cause if he did, he definitely wouldn’t have signed to Young Money, he’d of made an offshoot label of his own.

  • Zuluboy Wonda

    Interesting indeed… But I think Drizzy’s still gonna kill it… he just took too long to drop 1st time around – other than that he’s isht would’ve gone plat in weeks… look at Cole flop as well, sort of… if he ever drop… Cudi made he’s own lane and ppl are starting to get IT…

  • HottRod

    I agree also with both comments above …..But drake did his self a major diservice.To me his music even took a hit i believe his mixtape albums pre- thank me later were better although it was good it didn’t measure up to past songs or show any growth.He did have a opportunity to change the game but he took the safe road .

  • danny ocean

    I agree that drake could of went to any label, but if he didnt go to YM, then he would of been disloyal as well as anyone else would. The hottest label of the time (and i stress of the time because the new hot label is Good Music), wanted you, invited you on tour, and only had one major artist bigger than you, my question is, how do you not sign? In this game now a days, its so much more important to play it safe then to be so much of a renegade.

  • alderman j

    This makes no sense! What if he would have went with a MAJOR?? Then we would be calling him a pop artist not a rapper, what if he would have went indie, we would be saying oh he only sold 35,000 the first week he is a flop. You guys find some BS to write regardless. He did what he wanted to do which is what ANY and EVERY man should do. If this was newspaper i would line the bird cage with it.

    • YMHATER

      Look Drake can’t sing or rap either I mean “like a sprained ankle i ain’t nothin to play with” that’s just retarded and what do you mean if he went with a major i don’t know where you live at or where you’ve been but everytime you turn on a radio all you hear is either Drake Lil Wayne or Nicki Minaj or say you go online and you see shit about Young Money EVERYWHERE I can’t think of any other mainstream label that gets even half of the exposure that Young Money gets
      SO SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU DUMB SON OF A BITCH

  • MyDearAshley

    I think that he made the best decision by staying with Young Money and staying grounded with where he first started. If he wouldve went a major label they would not let him be creatively independent and definetly would have geared him for a more commercial appeal. His album is not too much different from the same type of songs that his mixtape was. Either way people would have dissed on him if he stayed w/ Wayne or Major and he did what he felt was right. Too much pressure would have been put on him and he did what he felt was comfortable. this was a pretty interesting perspective though

  • wilson

    i disagree. in a way your saying he should have done it for the money and signed for more with a different label. he still works with 40 and boi 1da just like ‘so far gone’. he would put out the same music no matter who he signed to. he went with young money because he was comfortable with them not because he was taking the easy road to success. he had already made himself big doing it independently

  • Shawty J

    Drake didn’t take the easy way out, nor did he pass up the opportunity to make more money by joining Young Money. It was actually quite the opposite. Let’s be clear, unlike the average rapper who gets signed to a rapper own label, Drake’s initial deal wasn’t with Young Money it was with Universal (Cash Money/ Young Money’s distributor). Young Money was officially cut in later.

    Since Drake was affiliated with Wayne and was being represented by Wayne’s manager Cortez Bryant, Universal knew they pretty much had first dibs on him. What Drake did was hold off, present the deals offered by other labels to ensure that Universal gave him the best deal. There was no way possible Drake was going to make “more” money by signing with any other label than Universal. More than likely he got a record label to offer him close to $2,000,000, and came back to Universal and said “you give me this, and I’ll sign.”

    $ 1,000,000 advances are pretty much non-existent, despite being an industry standard a decade a go. He knowingly put Universal in a position where they had to give him double. It was actually a well thought out business move, and is actually employed quite often in the business world.

  • dome shot

    50 cent also signed with the biggest rapper of that time. It makes perfect sense. You go to where the current sound is coming from for your debut…if they want you. Interscope has fucking Lady Gaga to attend to, there is no way Drake would have gotten the full labels attention. I actually thought it was a solidly strategic move, especially with Weezy’s eventual incaceration.

  • yoprince

    except… YM is winning. and the heat stay losing. and wade in injured.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com “Broadway Joe”

    Wiz Khalifa > Drake

  • James Puemape

    I agree with the blogger, people need to go more independent and stop selling out to the corporate takeover of hip hop, open your eyes people

  • Jay Cole

    I agree, but Wayne did put him on. So I understand his position. But I woulda liked to see him do his own thing, drop “Best I Ever Had” (the summer it was hot) as the 1st single and run with it. Im sure he woulda sold MORE than what he sold with TML with “Over”

  • Truth

    Honestly, Im sure there were way more reasons for drake to sign with Young Money, for one maybe because he owed it to Wayne? Like Really how did we even start to notice Drake? Off of his cuts with Weezy of course, Drake had a couple of tracks where Weezy was featured and there you go, national exposure for Drake. You have to remember Drake buzz sparked back when Wayne was absolute fire. Wayne was maybe the hottest rapper since Em’s prime. Everything he touched was Gold, anybody who got a feature from Wayne had a certified single. And Drake got his shot from that. Yea he is a great talent and his Debut album did not exactly live up to my expectations either but it was very good and honestly I think It ws more of an album to fortify his base of fans that why you heard so much of the singing and radio friendly songs because thats what sells, thats what gets your names in the minds of the ppl who purchase albums! Emphasis on purchase, cause you know alot of niggas didnt go get his album they downloaded it. So he’s just using his biz savvy and I believe his next album will be more of a complete Drake album, much like Trey songz did. His first major album made him universal, and PPP he put out his music which I honestly felt was the same level or even greater than Ready! I said all that just to say please dont compare him to LeBron and his move to Miami, LeBron is a hardcore competitor, he owed no one nothing and he was def considered one of the top 2 players in the league, for him to pick up, move himself to a team already carrying probably the third best player along with a top fifteen he really kind of forced an impression that the only way he can get a ring is to join with the best, cowardly. but he is a man of his own and makes his own decisions no matter how we disagree! Im from CLE!!!!

    • shlomo

      Truth,

      I hear u on the loyalty aspect. But when it comes to a rapper’s first record deal, everyone in the game is gonna respect your decision… Even Drake signed somewhere else he could have still been loyal; featured verses, collabos, vids, sleeping with nicki… all that coulda been done even if Drake woulda signed somewhere else.. But ya, i do give him some credit on the loyalty scale. I just think it came as a sacrifice for once in a blue moon greatness

  • ali

    i dont blame drake. u know how hard it is for a canadian rapper to break out in the us? its ridiculous no one wants anything to do with canadian rappers, their just exploited. drake knew this and his team knew it so they was like ight dont take any risks. anyways drake isnt legit, he needed someone to hold his balls for him, fruity fuck.

  • R2j

    Drake fed into the Hype machine. Examples: Wayne and 50.
    Once you get hyped up as a new artist 1 year, the next 5 years people tune you out just because they get tired of listening to you and hear about you so much. He’s like the 2 that I mentioned. He had a chance to sing with anyone for a lot of $$$$ but he went to YM instead. U would think they would get along but when you have 2 big egos like Wayne and Drake then you’re bound to have issues. He’ll do his usual numbers with or without him. Without him, I think Drake will be the best Free Agent pickup for any label. For right now, he’ll have to be sidekick until the contract expires.

  • Mr Reign

    You make a decent argument but I realize this is an opinion based on whatever accolades and dollars YOU define as achieving success. Let’s see hmmm join a lackluster major, lose creative control and end up like Ras Kass,Jadakiss, Lupe and others having albums shelved or petitions circled to be dropped and unhappy. Like someone said earlier, the entrepreneurial part was genius. Weezy, Drizzy, Nicki? Hot Hotter Hottest? Ties to J prince/Cash Money go deeper than hoisting a trophy.

  • GIFT

    DRAKE TOOK A CHANCE BY SIGNING WITH YM/CM DUE TO THEIR ALLEGED SHADY BUSINESS DEALINGS. THE THING MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD FOR dRAKE, WAS THAT HE GRINDED HIS ASS OFF INDEPENDENTLY, HE HAD A POPPING SINGLE, AND HE MADE THEM PLAY ON HIS TERMS. hE RECOUPES A LARGER PERCENTAGE OF HIS PUBLISHING, AND CREATIVELY, HE CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK HE WANTS. SAY WHAT U WANT, BUT DRAKE DID THE BEST THING FOR HIM, AND ULTIMATELY, IF HE LEAVES, HE HAS THE NECCESSARY TOOLS TO MAKE SHIT POP WHEREVER HE GOES.

  • black jesus

    disagree. first of all, drake would be doing the same singing, love songs, etc shit on any label, thats who drake is as an artist.

    really, if drake would have dropped from def jam, sony, interscope or wherever, that young money logo would have been on his album. wayne put too much time into building drake for him not to be a young money artist.

    if you want to compare drake to lebron, then ym is cleveland. thats his home and his team and if he would have left the fans would have turned on him.

  • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

    there was a good article on this last week somewhere…

    how the new promo is SIGNED ARTISTS ACTING LIKE THEY ARE UNSIGNED. They mentioned Drake, Wiz and that Theo London cat…the labels have decided that since young cats are rebellious against the system, they are making your “stars” look like they are “grinding” for self, then when/if said rapper gets “popular”, the label will step in and promote.

    * There is no way UNSIGNED rappers get FULL RADIO ROTATION AIRPLAY when radio doesn’t break new artists anymore. *

    Sorry people, but he was signed to Universal already…

    “From the outset, we knew that Drake was affiliated with Weezy. But when Interscope, Def Jam…”

    ^ all Universal companies…Sylvia Rhone wanted Drake on Motown, another Universal imprint…

  • yo1

    I think drake needs go outside of the box musically and get out his comfort zone we know what 40 and boi1da can do for you I like drake but its starting to get boring, same flow same sound
    he got alot of work to do on the next album, he gotta blow minds or he gone fall off

  • bucktown

    I’ve never agreed more with a blog…i been feeling this way since he signed with young money, drake would’ve been way better solo dolo, now he’s just a young money puppet…a punk bitch if you will, in the shadow of wayne. Don’t get me wrong drake makes wayne better but i dont think that wayne makes drake better

  • teddy

    co sign but 50 joined eminem and dre to so he did the same thing and his career was over quick same thing will happen to drake especially when you look at the music his making his doin what 50 did which is soly focus ob wooin ladies by the time he decides to return to making decent music like 50 in BFISD it will be too late no one will give a fuck his sucha one dimensional artists which is crazy cos when he came he seemed he was going to be the most original one but now all his shit is on a ja rule tip throws thank me later in the bin minus 2 songs and goes back to listening to dark twisted fantasy

    • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

      c’mon son…you analyzed 50 in a Drake thread…

      it’s BISD fam…and even that went gold…let son breathe…

      did u cop it 2 witness the JMJ DVD?

      BET U SAY NO…don’t lie either…

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/agdz AGDZ

    Great article. Love the website redesign too. Actually made this site comfortable to browse.

  • bullets

    Easy way out of course this is the microwave era, not a drake fan but he has as much to do w/ ym’s success as lil wayne people forget in the music biz the hook is the bulk of the song yeah lil wayne is probably more popular but doesnt that make drake just as popular being his wing man and for the record drake is the only person on that label that makes muisc with at least a grain of substance….

  • BULLETS

    And its clear as day his music changed when he started hanging w/ YM the earlier stuff i heard from him was way more promising he went from promising to typical if you cant see the change in his music since YM then your too groupied out to pay attention…

  • SESHEAD

    Dumbass…………..Drake held it down while Weezy was in jail. It’s all about acquiring the right distibution deals, but you wouldn’t know that because your a DUMBASS. Allthingsfresh OVO all day…………..

  • http://soflyyjewelry.bigcartel.com Ashley Nicole

    Yes sure Drake could have done something special independent but everyone is not built for the indie game. But looking from Weezy side of things…to let Drake sign with another label would make him a fool. This is why artist have a record label right? To sign artist that will make money because any thing else is a crew. Now Young Money is no longer a crew. Its a label! Young Money/Cash Money is what all those other labels set out to do but couldn’t last the test of times. YMCMB…..

  • killyourself

    doesn’t matter where drake go the only reason why he even famous is because of that tv show! plus it also called contact when you ghost write for someone they can have you for some years it not like album deal. Were you can have a two or one album deal…YM got him by the neck and won’t let him go until his shit done…

    • CASPER662

      DRAKE SIGNED WITH WEEZY!WHO WOULDN’T?IF YOU HAD UNDENIABLE TALENT AND THE BEST RAPPER ALIVE WANTING YOU ON HIS TEAM,WOULDN’T YOU BE CRAZY TO GO ANYWHERE ELSE?AND,IF DRAKE DID GO INDIE… PEOPLE WOULD BITCH ABOUT THE FACT HE HAD A CHANCE WITH YMCM AND “BLEW IT”.THERE IS NO SHAME IN BEING PIPPIN,WHEN JORDAN HAS YOUR BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 504princess

    First, are you familiar with the workings of a record company. Bigger sign on bonuses or “up front money” means more costs out the artist’s pocket later on. Everyone knows he got a better deal and cut with Young Money. So, stop hatin on Weezy, cuz his name alone brings much hype to anybody’s game and we all know that. Da Boot baby, 504 for life, ya dig!

  • casper662

    DRAKE SIGNED WITH WEEZY!WHO WOULDN’T?IF YOU HAD UNDENIABLE TALENT AND THE BEST RAPPER ALIVE WANTING YOU ON HIS TEAM,WOULDN’T YOU BE CRAZY TO GO ANYWHERE ELSE?AND,IF DRAKE DID GO INDIE… PEOPLE WOULD BITCH ABOUT THE FACT HE HAD A CHANCE WITH CMYM AND “BLEW IT”.THERE IS NO SHAME IN BEING PIPPIN,WHEN JORDAN HAS YOUR BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://facebook.com d-1c3

    FUCK DRAKE FUCK WAYNE FUCK YOUNG MONEY!!!FUCK EM FOR WORKING WITH WAYNE!! ONLY ONE OF THEM CATS THAT CAN RAP IS TYGA! wayne needs to quit singin put down the guitar get a bigger white tee then try rapping again other than that i wont vouch for none of them whack ass rappers

  • http://www.datpiff.com/Empier-Entertainment-The-E-mixtape.203679.html Empier Entertainment

    Check Drake out on this mixtape called THE E

  • Mr.poppasmurf

    Rap album of the year www, Body on Campus.com Based on a true gruesome college university story. youtube video for song off the album ‘body on campus”