What subliminal shots? When Kanye West took the stage and praised Drake at his 4th annual OVO Fest in Toronto on Monday night, the G.O.O.D. Music CEO finally put to rest all those rumors of there being tension between himself and YMCMB's shining star. Turns out, it was all just friendly competition.
"That was probably the most important moment in my career to date," Drake told MTV News after the show Monday, the same day Kanye was announced as a performer at the 2013 Video Music Awards. "I think me and Kanye have wanted to express our respect for each other for a long time and sometimes rap, the business, the competitiveness and just the heart behind it forces you to not talk to the people you quietly admire."
"And Kanye West is definitely a guy that I beyond admire. I have the utmost respect for him."
After pulling out some big surprises with appearances from TLC, Diddy and Ma$e, Drake really outdid himself by summoning 'Ye to the stage — with a pretty grand entrance, might we add. He tweaked Kanye's lyrics on "Diamonds From Sierra Leone," rapping "What up with you and 'Ye man, are ya'll OK, man?" before Mr. West emerged triumphantly to perform "New Slaves."
Even more shocking was 'Ye's declaration that Drake's success had competitively fueled the birth of his collaborative album with Jay Z. "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this n---a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects," he said.
More than a few of Drake's lyrics have been interpreted as subliminal jabs at Kanye, while "I'm On One" seemed like an outright shot at both 'Ye and Jay, with the line "I'm just feeling like the throne is for the taking, watch me take it." Despite that, Drake explained to MTV News that he still considers Kanye West his favorite artist and competition is just a part of the game.
"I think that Kanye saying that in [Toronto], for people that were waiting for that moment, or didn't expect that moment...it's just one of those things that when Kanye says, 'Stop the music,' you don't know what's about to happen sometimes. So I was really pleased with how it turned out," Drake said, laughing and alluding to some of 'Ye's infamous outbursts.
"Kanye West is my favorite artist so it was surreal," he added. "I still look at guys like 'Ye and Jay and Wayne... I'm 26, I've been doing this for four years, so I don't really look at myself on that level. So to hear one of them say something — to hear anybody say something like that, let alone the guy that's pretty much the reason why I started rapping, that was crazy."