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This Hitmaker Passed On Drake Before Lil Wayne Signed Him

He doesn't regret it, though.

When Drake came in the game, he was riding next to Lil Wayne, Birdman and Nicki Minaj. But what if he was introduced to the world as a member of a team with Akon, T-Pain and Lady Gaga? Well, it might have happened.

"Kardinal Offishall had brought me some records on Drake back then when I first signed Kardi -- this was before 'Best I Ever Had,'" Akon, who signed Pain to Konvict Muzic and Gaga to a distribution deal, told Montreality.

"I did pass on him, because, at the time, he didn't sound like what he sounds like today. 'Best I Ever Had' -- it wasn't even close to what that sounded like. He was at a position where he was finding himself."

These days, not surprisingly, he sees a change from the kid he passed on those years ago.

"As time goes, people develop, they get better, and they become the best because of things like that," he said. "Sometimes that motivates you to want to be better and take yourself to the next level. And I think wit him, he was turned [down] so many times, it became his motivation."

In 2012, Kardinal told MTV News that he had tried to convince Akon to sign a young Aubrey to no avail.

"I even told Kon early out," he said. "Listen, Kon passed on a couple of things I told him about. The biggest one that he passed on -- I told him about Drake early."

Still, now more than half-a-decade later, with Drake dominating the charts, Akon says he doesn't regret the decision.

"I think he's the champ right now," he said. "I don't think there's a rapper out there right now that can go toe-to-toe with him from a standpoint of just real records. He's a poet, to me. The way he delivers certain lyrics, he mixes reality along with real rapping in one. And then he adds melody, to where people that's not really familiar with that culture can sing along to it."

"I don't regret any decisions that I've made, because you never really can foretell the future, and who's gonna be what."