[artist id="2545682"]Drake[/artist] stayed down and stayed loyal: No more is he the hottest free agent in music, [article id="1614953"]Drizzy's recording contract is done![/article] He has artistic freedom and big backing.
"To go independent is -- like I said in a prior interview -- it's a funny term," Drake told MTV News on Tuesday, addressing the deal that finds his albums being released on Wayne's independent Young Money label (which is affiliated with Cash Money Records) and being distributed by the major Universal Republic. "Because it's almost impossible to go fully independent. This was basically like the closest thing I could get to my own independence, to sort of continuing to be that guy to the fans that, you know, is trying to prove something -- trying to prove that it can be done. So with that being said, I signed directly to Cortez Bryant and Gee Roberson, my two managers, and their company Anspire. It's a joint venture with Young Money, so that's the deal. I know there's been a lot of stuff on the Internet about different entities, but that's the people involved in the main record deal. And then it's distributed through Universal, so it's great, man. You know, if we can sell some records I think it could be a pretty legendary situation."
Although Drake decided to stay with his managers (who also manage [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist]), he said he loved the courting process.
"Well, the whole thing with me was, I met some great people along the way. [Warner Music's] Lyor Cohen is such a special man to me, even though I am signed where I am signed at. You know, [Interscope head] Jimmy Iovine, same thing, a great person that taught me a lot in a very short period of time. But my loyalty lays with Wayne. For him to be able to benefit from the situation and for us to be able to brand Young Money, this is the route that I went.
"I plan to work with Wayne for the rest of my career so I think it's a smart career move," he added. "You know, everybody else [on Young Money] will hopefully work out the situations, get the right people on the album. I think it was important for me to show him that I believed in him as much as he believed in me. Because a lot of months he stuck his neck out there for me, you know with the VMAs [where Lil Wayne rapped Drake's verse from "Money to Blow" at the beginning of his performance of "Misunderstood"], and then 'Ransom,' and all the songs that we put out. And the things he would say in interviews, he really put himself out there for me. So I think it was only just and fair to show him that I feel the same way."
Drake, Wayne, Young Jeezy and Soulja Boy are scheduled to start their [article id="1613926"]America's Most Wanted Music Festival[/article] on July 27. One thing not in Drake's favor is his health: He tore his ACL playing basketball and is moving around with a cane. During the BET Awards, he had to lean against a stool while performing. He's hoping to be able to maneuver through his injury enough to not miss any tour dates.
"Well, I got a couple weeks of rehab ahead of me," he said. "Right now the knee is, it's slipping, so I would not be able to perform right now. But I'm going to be in the studio and in rehab."
Drake is hoping to release his official debut LP, [article id="1613246"]Thank Me Later,[/article]
this year. He said he just finished recording with Pharrell Williams.