Undoubtedly the biggest hip-hop artiste of his generation, one allegation that has constantly been leveled against Drake is the question of authenticity!
From accusations of ghostwriting to that of wave riding and cultural appropriation. A conduit of world music, there’s no denying… Drizzy’s run of combining influences from around the globe has been a major contributor to his longevity and unprecedented levels of success.
Today, we look at 5 Times Drake flirted with Afrobeats.
1. WizKid ft Drake & Skepta – Ojuelegba Remix
This remix which also featured British-Nigerian Grime heavyweight Skepta premiered on the debut episode of Drake’s OVO Sound Radio. In his cover story for the 100th issue of FADER Magazine, Drake spoke for the first time about why he jumped on the surprise remix of WizKid’s “Ojuelegba”.
He told the magazine:
“I just did it because I was in the moment. I wasn’t thinking like, ‘Oh man, I gotta get my brand up in Nigeria.’ Not to say that’s not important. I’m super honored to be on that song.”
A massive co-sign for WizKid, the Nigerian superstar as described by Pitchfork.com “has since been something of an avatar for Drake’s deepest excursions into Afrobeat.” and this is evidenced by the second and third songs on our list.
2. Drake ft WizKid & Kyla — One Dance
Described by critics as drawing from Afrobeats, dancehall, and UK Funky influences; the song relies on a sample from British singer Kyla’s 2008 song “Do You Mind (Crazy Cousinz remix)”. “One Dance” reached number one in 15 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, becoming Drake’s first number-one single in all 15 countries as the lead artiste.
It also topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for 10 non-consecutive weeks and became the joint-second longest consecutive number one in the UK Singles Chart with 15 consecutive weeks at the summit.
3. WizKid ft. Drake — Come Closer
This marked Wizkid’s third official collaboration with the OVO boss. In addition to WizKid‘s work on “One Dance”, Drake provided vocals for the WizKid track “Come Closer“, which was recorded at the same time but released a year later in March 2017.
“Come Closer” was the lead single from WizKid’s third studio album “Sounds From The Other Side” — the album’s most commercially successful track.
The single peaked at number 58 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming WizKid’s first charting single as a lead artiste, and the most successful song by an Afrobeats artist at the time!
4. Drake – Madiba Riddim
Although “Madiba Riddim” is often described as house music, there’s no denying it’s more than subtle Afrobeats influences.
On “Madiba Riddim” Aubrey Graham touches on his journey to fame, struggles and betrayals he’s faced. As the song title implies, the record is somewhat of an ode to South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist Nelson Mandela with “Madiba” being a name of endearment and respect many South Africans use for the iconic freedom fighter.
5. Drake ft. Tems — Fountains
Drake’s most recent Afrobeats endeavor, “Fountains” is taken off his 2021-released sixth studio album “Certified Lover Boy” and features Nigerian songstress Tems.
Fountains was co-produced by Aubrey’s go-to producer Noah “40” Shebib and Congolese-born pop singer-songwriter Tresor Riziki who is also credited for co-writing the song with Drake and Tems. “Fountains” debuted at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, securing Tems’ second entry on the chart.
With him and Tems also appearing on Future’s “Wait For You” a year later, it appears Drake has found a new Afrobeats avatar in Tems. The pair are rumored to have more unreleased music.