A lot has happened in the 18 months since Drake swore off the press after talking with Rolling Stone in February 2014. However, the rapper eased off his ‘no interviews’ stance in an extensive The Fader cover story, where the rapper chatted about his upcoming LP Views From the 6, his joint mixtape with Future What a Time to Be Alive and the Meek Mill beef that shook hip-hop for a few weeks this summer.
“I’m just gonna bring it up ’cause it’s important to me,” Drake said of the Meek Mill feud, which started after the rapper accused Drake of employing a ghostwriter. “I was at a charity kickball game – which we won, by the way – and my brother called me. He was just like, ‘I don’t know if you’re aware, but, yo, they’re trying to end us out here. They’re just spreading, like, propaganda. Where are you? You need to come here.’ So we all circled up at the studio, and sat there as [New York radio DJ Funkmaster] Flex went on the air, and these guys flip-flopped [about how] they were gonna do this, that, and the third.”
Unlike previous rap beefs, Meek Mill triggered this feud with a Twitter tirade, which Drake responded to with his diss track “Charged Up.” He waited for Mill to respond with his own track, but it didn’t immediately arrive.
“This is a discussion about music, and no one’s putting forth any music?” Drake said, questioning Mill’s logic. “You guys are gonna leave this for me to do? This is how you want to play it? You guys didn’t think this through at all — nobody? You guys have high-ranking members watching over you. Nobody told you that this was a bad idea, to engage in this and not have something? You’re gonna engage in a conversation about writing music, and delivering music, with me? And not have anything to put forth on the table?”
Three days after “Charged Up,” Drake fired again with “Back to Back,” another diss track that became a hit in its own right. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna probably just finish this.’ And I know how I have to finish it,” Drake said of “Back to Back.” “This has to literally become the song that people want to hear every single night, and it’s gonna be tough to exist during this summer when everybody wants to hear [this] song that isn’t necessarily in your favor.”
By the time Meek Mill finally responded with his Drake-aimed “Wanna Know” and a brief live freestyle, it was too late. Drake spent a good portion of his OVO Fest roasting the rapper, and a return salvo from Mill never came. The feud has laid dormant since early August.
Despite the arrivals of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and What a Time to Be Alive in 2015, Drake insists that his new LP Views From the 6 will arrive “imminently.” For the album, the rapper returned to Toronto and entered into the studio with longtime collaborator and producer Noah “40” Shebib. “We’ve grown a lot over the years,” Drake said of 40. “He used to be the guy that would track me in hotel rooms at 4 a.m. And now he is not that guy — I have another guy that does that … If I want to make the album I want to make, I have to go find him. I have to go sit with him, and we have to really put in effort.”
Drake himself considers If You’re Reading This as more of a retail mixtape than a proper album. “By the standard I hold myself and 40 to, it’s a bit broken,” Drake said of his February release. “There’s corners cut, in the sense of fluidity and song transition, and just things that we spend weeks and months on that make our albums what they are. It was the setup to be able to return to working solely with 40, which is where I’m at now. I just wanted to be able to come back to that and have it be important.”