As you may well remember, Drake’s 2011 breakthrough Take Care featured an eccentric cut with then-newcomer The Weeknd titled “Crew Love.” Five years later, Abel Tesfaye’s original demo of the song has unexpectedly surfaced online.
Drizzy’s bars are entirely absent from the demo version, leaving Weeknd’s sublime vocals uninterrupted. His first verse is still there, as well as a second verse that was taken off the album version in favor of a Drake verse added later.
In a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, The Weeknd talked (somewhat regretfully) about how majorly he contributed to Take Care, saying, “I gave up almost half of my album. It’s hard. I will always be thankful — if it wasn’t for the light [Drake] shined on me, who knows where I’d be. And everything happens for a reason.”
Indeed, this Weeknd-only version of “Crew Love” is a nostalgia-inducing taste of what could’ve been, had he not given Drake his own material. Not that it matters much these days — The Weeknd recently topped the Billboard 200 chart with his new album Starboy, AND all 18 tracks on the album have charted on the Hot 100 chart. So, yeah, he’s doing just fine.