Sunday night, Drake took the stage with his mentor and current Rolling Stone cover star Lil Wayne for a highly anticipated collaboration with Eminem at the Grammys. After the big show, the 23-year-old rapper was exuberant about the appearance, but somber about Weezy's upcoming prison sentence, which is expected to begin on February 9th.
"For me and Wayne, it was just such a full circle moment," Drake said of the Grammys. "We started out this year on a mission for him to bring up some new artists under his label, Young Money. It's very rare that an artist is successful in that, bringing up somebody and having the world recognize somebody else that they believe in," he added (Drake received two Grammy nominations this year). "We had a great moment onstage. I gave him a big hug and told him I loved him. It was amazing."
Lil Wayne is expected to serve eight to 10 months of his year-long sentence on gun possession charges, and though his associates tell Rolling Stone there are plans in place to keep Weezy in fans' minds during his time in Rikers — via everything from jailhouse Twitters to videos for his proteges — Drake says Weezy's absence will be felt hard. "I think you'll miss everything about Wayne. I don't think there will be anybody like Lil Wayne ever again in hip-hop. He paralyzes a room when he walks into it, his wordplay, the excitement that he brings to his music," Drake told RS. "I think that for eight months a lot of us will have to work a lot harder to keep hip-hop as exciting as it's been for the last two years."
As for how he thinks Weezy will hold up in prison, Drake said, "He's a strong-willed guy. I can imagine it would take a toll on anybody. I just hope that he comes out for the better."
Reporting by Shirley Halperin