Drake Explains Why Pusha-T Revealing His Son Was A Genius Chess Move
This week, Drake released a new video single, “War.” The Toronto, Ontario superstar let listeners know that he would like to make peace with The Weeknd. However, as the song’s title suggests, the MC/singer used wordplay and subliminal disses to confront enemies, potentially including Pusha-T, Kanye West, Puff Daddy, and possibly even Rihanna. It punctuates a relatively quiet year for Drake, following an early 2019 Grammy “Best Rap Song” win for “God’s Plan” and an impassioned speech.
Less than 48 hours after “War,” The Rap Radar Podcast published its latest interview with Drake. Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller have had at least two previous attempts at sitting down recently with Drizzy, as they revealed on Drink Champs. However, Drake finally gave the team more than two hours in an engaging discussion that shows where the artist’s head is, and how he looks back at recent controversies.
At the 1:05:00 mark, Drake discusses his ’18 armistice with Meek Mill. Following a 2015 conflict where the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MC tried to blackball Drake for using Quentin Miller’s songwriting on “R.I.C.O” and other songs, the two made peace. Following on-stage reunions, in 2019, Drake appeared in a dramatic music video to Meek’s ’18 track, “Going Bad.” That song and the other tracks from Meek’s Championships are now nominated for “Best Rap Album” at the 2020 Grammy Awards. “Meek’s that guy, for real. I wasn’t beefin’ with no punk,” Drake admits, having won the battle with back-to-back knockout blows, musically. “For us to be able to turn that around was a big thing. I think we both felt an obligation just to everybody that had eyes on us, all these young kids, we had to turn that around. ‘Cause we know how far it was [potentially] going, and almost went.”
B.Dot includes Meek Mill, as well as Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, and Puff Daddy (“to an extent”) in a list of people that Drake has made peace with, following tensions and conflict. Then, the MTV News executive and Rap Radar veteran brings up Pusha-T. “At this point in your career and your life, do you think you could ever squash things or mend things with him?”
Drake responds, “I’m at a great healing place with my life, which is why all those people you mentioned—when I really break down the issues, I started to stop thinking from such a confrontational, paranoid, violent standpoint. I started to really break down, ‘What’s our issue again? What is this over again? It’s over a fight we had in 2009? It’s over the fact that we’re from the same city?’ You know. I was able to mend a lot of those situations.”
Drake admits that not everybody in his circle understood the olive branches. “I lot of people ask me, ‘Yo, why? Why are you doing this? Why would you do it?’ Mostly, I wanted my closest friends to know that it’s for me. It’s got a lot to do with me. It’s not a fun life when you’re just in a lot of beefs with people. You gotta check on who’s gonna be at an event, you start moving different. I was changing, as a person, becoming a guy that was definitely willing to do some terrible things, definitely moving with a different energy. Like I said, it’s just not a fun life when you just have to look over your shoulder all the time, or wonder, ‘Alright, if this goes left, which one of my friends is gonna go sit [in prison] for two, three, four, 10 years?’ It’s just not a good way to live.”
However, he says that his beef with Pusha-T is in a category of its own. “In that particular situation [with Pusha-T] that you’re talking about, I don’t know. I have no desire to ever mend anything with that person. Yeah, that situation just went—it just went where it went. There is no turning back; it’s not like those other situations that you mentioned.”
Elliott Wilson asks, “Did Pusha go too far by revealing the child and presenting that to the world?” Drake looks above, and responds, “Well…I’ll say this: I tip my hat to the chess move. [‘The Story Of Adidon’] was a genius play in the game of chess, and definitely warranted my first ‘loss’ in the competitive sport of rapping—by choice, obviously. Because I bowed out after realizing [that] the gap between us allowed him to drop a bomb on the world that became [bigger than Rap]. That was all anyone cared about.” In mid-2018, Drake opted not to release a response track, which he provides some detail to in the interview. Early Drake mentor and Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince alleged that he prevented the song from releasing, after asking Drizzy to stand down. The Houston, Texas exec with a fearsome reputation publicly compared Pusha-T and producer Kanye West’s tactics to a “pigpen.” He asserted that it was in Drake’s best interest to withhold a song that would have reportedly cost at least one of his opponents their careers.
Drake, who first addressed the beef on Lebron James’ The Shop in 2018, seems willing to concede victory to Pusha-T. However, he says the merits of that loss have nothing to do with actual rapping. “I sleep well at night knowing I didn’t get out-barred, and I didn’t get done off by some crazy song. It was just…he told the world that the biggest artist at the time has a kid that he hasn’t told you about. So I knew for me, it was over at that point; it wasn’t even about Battle Rap or anything at that point. The information was too shocking. Like I said, on his part, it was a genius chess move. He obviously has—when it comes to me–he’s not gonna have any morals or respect.” Drake then brings up other scathing elements to the song, which was a response to “Duppy Freestyle”—in itself a response to DAYTONA closer, “Infrared.”
Drake elaborates, “So the other element to [‘The Story Of Adidon’], whether it be the sh*t that he’s making up about my mom and my dad and all this like dumb sh*t…obviously the part that hit me the most, which is wishing that my friend [Noah ’40’ Shebib] that has an illness dies. That sh*t, to me, is just not really wavy. I’m just not really with that. When I did say, ‘Oh, there’s rules to this,’ I didn’t mean there’s rules that anybody has to follow.” Drake alludes to a 2019 incident where a Battle Rapper was allegedly murdered for spitting on an image of his opponent’s dead aunt during a competition. “There’s a point where you’re gonna wanna stop rapping. I’m sure I could say something about your [wife] or a child or a family member; you’re just gonna not really rap anymore. That’s just kinda where I got to. I just had to admit [it].”
Drake then confirms that he had a response record in the chamber. “When I was making the record in response—which was a real record, I know people think it’s like some myth—it was just on this Vinylz beat. I just found myself saying things that, one, seemed really out of character, ’cause I was deeply invested in the situation and getting very angry. [I was also] saying things that I don’t know if in two years I’d want to hear myself say. I just realized that yeah, nobody cares about this guy, so there’s not really much I can say better than ‘Drake has a baby.’ You won. [Shrugs] He won off that bomb. So, again, it’s a dub that…he can take it.”
Elliott brings up allegations that Pusha-T made in 2018, which included Drake’s plan to use his son for an upcoming Adidas partnership campaign. “At the time, I was working with Adidas. We were toying with the idea of a name being a play off of my son’s name.” Drake says that Pusha’s point is not entirely accurate. He denies plotting to exploit the personal matter. “I wasn’t revealing my son with Adidas.”
Drake then explains some of the delays and privacy surrounding his son, Adonis. He addressed the matter on Scorpion closer “March 14.” However, that followed Pusha’s preemptive reveal. “To be honest with you, I actually did a DNA test with my son. They came back to us and said that the DNA test got ruined in transit, and that they couldn’t be 100% sure that that was my son or not. So I was in a really weird pending situation where I didn’t want to go tell the world that that was my son [when] it wasn’t. And if you see my son, you understand why,” Drake says with a smile. Elliott and B.Dot nod in agreement. Drake continues, “If you see my boy, you’ll understand. He’s just a stunning child, with the brightest blue eyes. At the time, I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ But it actually wasn’t until a week before the album came out that I got confirmation that [he] was definitely my son. It took me two more solid tests with two different companies. So again, all the details of his [diss] record are just fabricated just to make it more interesting; the story’s actually not really that interesting. The biggest part of it is that I have a son. It wasn’t that I was ‘hiding’ him—and by the way, I still won’t post my son, because the world’s f*cking crazy, man.” Drake elaborates on the crazed fans that show up at his property and more, fearing similar instances for his son and his son’s mother.
B.Dot then brings up Pusha-T’s justification for the reveal-diss. The Clipse co-founder said that “The Story Of Adidon” was an escalating response to Drake mentioning Push’s then-fiancé (now wife) Virginia Williams on “Duppy Freestyle.” Drake does not deny that claim. “He has a point. He can say, ‘Yo, you brought up my lady’s name. Oh, all bets are off the table.’ That’s fine. Like I said, we all think differently, right? Even in the me-and-Meek situation, if you listen back to those records—and it’s something that we’ve talked about before too, we didn’t really go that crazy on each other. And we left [Nicki Minaj] out of it, and we left family out of it for the most part.” Drake accuses Pusha-T of infractions in the past, and also charges that his opponent is a liar on wax. “There’s just some unwritten rules in the sport, for some people. Obviously not for [Pusha-T], and that’s fine. And he’s just made an entire career off of it. Some people like his music; I personally don’t, ’cause I don’t believe any of it, and I like to listen to guys that I believe.”
Elliott Wilson counters that Drake has previously stated that he was a Clipse fan. He mentions an autographed microphone, which Drake has previously said he bought on eBay. “Yeah. I still have it upstairs,” Drake responds. He then clarifies that becoming a star changed perspectives. “You get to peak behind the curtain too. When I was 16, thinkin’ that he was the biggest dope-dealer in the world, servin’ bricks to every corner of America, yeah, I’m sure I was—again—a fan, and obviously, more so just a fan of Pharrell and The Neptunes; I always wanted to be signed to Star Trak and stuff like that. That was the wave. But yeah, now that I’m grown up and I actually know him and the truth, it’s kinda just not as appealing as it once was.”
While Pusha-T’s longstanding beef with Drake is a byproduct of a 2000s conflict with Lil Wayne, the Rap Radar hosts ask Drake if the late 2010s issues are really side casualties of an ongoing tension with Kanye West. “I think that’s where all of this kinda stems from,” Drake admits. “It’s all kinda rooted in that situation. Yes. I think that [Kanye West] definitely recruited a guy with a similar dislike for me, no matter what he says in interviews. I know that. He can tell whoever, ‘I got love for [Drake],’ but it’s not love. There’s something there that bothers him deeply. And yeah, I can’t fix it for him. So it just is what it is.”
Drake, who thanked ‘Ye in early 2019 for the 10th-anniversary of So Far Gone, does not discredit his rival. “I still feel all those same things.” He then puts ‘Ye among his top 3 favorite artists in any genre. “Obviously with the exception of Lil Wayne—’cause Lil Wayne will just always forever be something else other than one of my favorite artists…and if I look at [JAY-Z] as the guy who truly probably shaped the majority of my thinking, skill-set, all those things, I would say that Kanye West would be my favorite artist, all around. That’s just facts; I have no problem saying that. Like I said, I’m always willing to give the love and the credit. But yeah, things have just changed. I’m not just some kid that’s just a fan anymore. We have personal situations. Like I said, a lot of his issues with me, I can’t fix them for him.”
B-Dot then follows with a question about resolution surrounding the longtime collaborators. “But would you be open to communication with him?” Drake dismisses it. “No, not really. Because it’s not on my end! I have no problem with any of these guys. I don’t even know these guys like that. [Chuckles]”
Elliott Wilson brings up Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.” Drake lyrics in that hit song surrounding Calabasas streets and a perceived threat upset Kanye West, who is in Scott’s family. Drake admits that the subliminal lines were intentional. “Of course! Of course! I can’t lie to you; of course [the lyrics] were [directed at Kanye West]. Like I said, this is a sport at the end of the day, and you know [that] from a very early point, I have never shied away from defending myself. And I’m also, sometimes, eager to engage if I feel that you want to be slick or be offensive behind the scenes. I might choose to address it in music. And you know, that’s how I ended [up] in the Pusha situation.”
Drake uses sports as a comparison. He bigs up MMA fighter Nate Diaz, whose 32-20 record is not a reflection of his grit in the MC’s eyes. Drake says that losses come. “Somebody’s gonna catch you at some point, unless you’re Floyd [Mayweather, Jr.] But for the rest of us, you’re gonna get rocked one time by something you didn’t expect. So that’s just kinda how I chalk that situation up. Again, [I] learn from it [and] channel it into something else.” He then adds that his current nemeses are not in his sight-line. “And right now, I’m in a space where those guys don’t come outside; I don’t see those guys anywhere. So it’s not the same as when I was beefin’ with Chris or beefin’ with [other people]. Those guys, they hide in God-knows-where, and they don’t come outside unless it’s an event with like security and sh*t like that. For me, I’m in a great place in life. My life is about peace, my life is about drinking espressos and wine. I’m trying to make this album. I’m enjoying being a father. I’m enjoying my house. My mind isn’t plagued by beef though.”
Elliott comes back to the conflict with Kanye. “Do you think ‘Sicko Mode’ was your final [statement] on it, in terms of your final statement on [Kanye West] or the [G.O.O.D Music] camp and everybody in general?” Drake responds, “I mean, I guess. I don’t know. God bless [Kanye West] on his new journey, but I don’t know if he’s ever gonna make secular music again.” Yesterday (December 25), Kanye West released Jesus Is Born with Sunday Service Choir. It follows October’s JESUS IS KING solo album, which featured The Clipse. “If he turns up on me again, I’ll turn up on him again, I guess. [Laughs] That’s just what it is. I’m always down.” Drake reiterates his position. “I’m not just gonna sit by while somebody’s talkin’ loose about me or whatever I have goin’ on. It just is what it is. It never fails. Something will come one day. But knock on wood, I pray that I stay in this place of peace because I’m enjoying it more than a lot of the past years that have been plagued by confrontation. It’s dark clouds, man. It’s negativity.”
Following the Pusha-T and Kanye West discussion, Drake admits that 2018’s “Survival” described a real meet-up with JAY-Z. As stated, Jay is a favorite of Drake’s. However, the two have sparred on the mic. “It was a really important moment for us. From that point on, we haven’t really engaged in anything. I don’t think I’d want to at this point,” Drake admits.
Neither Pusha-T nor Kanye West have responded to Drake’s Rap Radar Podcast interview at this time.
New music from Drake is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads Playlist.