When it comes to cemented artists putting on new talent, none are more willing to co-sign than October’s Very Own head honcho Drake. Way back in 2009 when he was best known as Wheelchair Jimmy on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Drake was trying to break into the music industry. Lil Wayne, arguably the best rapper around at the time (I know, it’s hard to believe these days), saw something in young Drizzy. The two collaborated on a number of tracks together and the apprentice soon became the master.
Drake understands the impact a co-sign can have on a new rapper’s career, but he’s also savvy enough to know it can benefit his own persona and place in the hip-hop world. While a shout out from Drake can garner millions of hits or views, not everyone has blown up from his co-sign, with many questioning his motives. Last October, Drake posted a video on his Instagram dancing to 18-year-old Florida rapper Kodak Black’s ‘SKRT.’ Black quickly got more attention than he’d ever encountered, but both he and Earl Sweatshirt have reservations about the co-sign. While Earl questioned Drake’s real reason for the co-sign, tweeting, “The line between paying homage and wave riding is a blurry one,” Kodak Black was more direct. Talking with Pigeons And Planes last week, Black said he’s not sure what the co-sign did, saying, “he was texting me and shit. I’m direct with it, so if you’re trying to show me that you fuck with me, call me. Throw me on your album so I can get some royalties.”
While the jury is out on Drake’s motives, there’s no denying he has the Midas touch. To look at his impact we’ve highlighted the top five Drake co-signs and their effect on each artist.
- Words: Tobias Handke