I’m willing to bet the first time you heard Drake, you didn’t even know it.
And I’m willing to bet I know what rhymes you heard: “I am on a 24-hour champagne diet/ Spilling while I’m sipping, I encourage you to try it.”
And I’m willing to bet you didn’t hear them out of Drake’s mouth, but instead, from Lil Wayne.
That’s because when Tunechi took the stage to perform at the 2008 VMAs, instead of rapping his own lyrics, he recited a Drake verse to a then-unreleased “Money to Blow” over an instrumental from Tha Carter III’s “Misunderstood.” Though the track ended up being a hit for Birdman, Wayne, and Drake, when the catchy bars entered Weezy’s mic that night, the kid from Toronto was largely an unknown.
And such was the start of a string of special moments for Champagne Papi and the VMAs.
Just months after that performance, Drake dropped So Far Gone, and the hits began to pile up. He scored a nomination for Best New Artist for “Best I Ever Had” in 2009. And when he released his major label debut, Thank Me Later, the following year, it was only right he hit the VMA stage for the annual event.
“I just really remember like how nervous I was at my first VMAs,” he told MTV News last year, recalling that September 2010 performance, when he brought out Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz to help him perform “Fancy.” “It’s one thing to be comfortable with yourself, be yourself in everyday life, but it’s hard to walk into this building and still be charismatic, still be personable and still be an individual with presence because there are so many big people here.”
He also earned nominations for Best Hip-Hop Video and Best Male Video.
In 2011, Drizzy scored another nom, this time for his Nicki Minaj collab “Moment 4 Life.”
And it seemed like going home empty-handed made him ready to come back even stronger the next year.
Which is exactly what he did.
In 2012, Drake took home his first Moonman, when he won in 2012 Best Hip-Hop Video “HYFR.” But that wasn’t all. The Young Money MC also was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography for “Take Care,” his Rihanna-assisted hit.
He dedicated his win to “any kid that’s ever had a long walk home by yourself.”
And that put him (and us) in a good mood all night.
Then, last year, riding high with two nominations for “Started From the Bottom” (for Best Hip-Hop Video and Best Direction), Drizzy took the stage once again, this time to perform a brief medley of hits, treated the lucky attendees in Brooklyn and millions tuning in at home to flawless performances of “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Started.”
Which brings us to this weekend, when “Hold On” will be up for Best Hip-Hop Video.
And no matter what happens in that category, it feels like Drake’s storied run at the VMAs will continue.