Drake is a man mired continuously in rap battles with a heart devoted to battle rap. In 2018, he explained, “I study rap battles for a living,” to LeBron James, taking the long way around while admitting that he lost a beef with Pusha T. Some would argue Drake’s job is less about studying rap battles and more about being a multimillionaire pop star, but that’s semantics; he’s allowed to spend his YouTube time watching whatever he pleases. And as it stands, Drake loves spending his time watching dudes freestyle, a mode of competition that has little bearing on the omnivorous pop instincts he’s developed over the course of his career.
The Toronto rapper is a frequent guest at the King of the Dot battles, one of the marquee events if you’re into freestyle battles. Back in 2011, Drake was so sad he couldn’t attend an event that he posted a weirdly heartwarming video where he dubs himself “The official King of the Dot representer” and its “number-one fan.” Since then, he’s hit the stage at SMACK/URL NOME 5 (Night Of Main Events), smiling in front of a crowd that wants him to battle Murda Mook. On Thursday, the world’s most popular rapper put his dedication to the sport in writing, by announcing a partnership with a broadcast company (Caffeine) very few people have heard of, to live stream a battle-rap competition (URL).
“I’ve always loved URL and admired what Smack and his team have been able to create,” Drake said in a statement, via Complex. “It just wasn’t easily accessible. It’s exciting to be in a position where I’m able to bring Caffeine to the table and help provide URL with the tools they need to elevate the viewing experience and make it more accessible to fans.” It’s unlikely that we’ll see Drake participate in the rap battles.
Caffeine, Drake’s new live-streaming platform of choice, was founded by Ben Keighran, a former Apple designer, according to CNN Business. “We can’t pay the kind of money that Microsoft or Amazon can pay, so we have to differentiate on [that] we offer a better product,” Keighran said of Drake’s partnership with the company. “I think if Drake were looking for straight-up money, there’s definitely YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch that I’m sure will give him a lot more money than we could ever do.”