Words By (@TheKidSkoob)
“Oh it’s your time now” yeah, that’s what everybody say
I used to wanna be on Roc-A-Fella then I turned into Jay” – Drake, “Summer 16”
Yeah, that little tidbit comes from the revered Aubrey Graham off his latest release, “Summer 16.” It’s fine, take your time and read those lyrics again. Now, I’d love if you can share with us the type of drug you think Drake ingested when he made that claim. Are they both talented rappers? Sure. Are they each very successful rappers? Sure. But Drake turning INTO Jay Z is a bit farfetched. Let’s evaluate the two masters of ceremony, shall we?
Let’s get the obvious similarities out of the way; two tall black guys with exquisite taste in R&B chicks. Just imagine an argument between the two and the subjects are Rihanna and Beyonce…Bruh! (Although that conversation could get a little weird when Aaliyah’s name comes up, seeing as how Drake actually has her face tattooed on his body, having never met the young lady).
Professionally they’ve each attained numerous accolades for their work. With Hov having much more time in than Drizzy, his awards naturally stretch a little further than the Toronto product. For example, Jay has been awarded 21 Grammy’s, out of 60 nominations in total! And he’s won those awards back when rappers actually attended and received their awards on the live show. Drake on the other hand, has one Grammy. While that isn’t a knock on the OVO front-man, it’s just an area of achievement that they do have in common…kinda.
They’ve each reached that level where their featured appearances are highly anticipated and sought after. Think about it like this: DJ Khaled put out a video, which was basically a sketch, which ended with him announcing that he got a verse from Jay Z on his album. And then of course we have Rihanna’s latest album release “Anti” which flaunts a Drake collabo on its first single, “Work.” (“B*tch Better Have My Money” with its murderous video seems to have been banished to reddit comment section). Anytime you see a collaborative effort from either of these guys, the records are given “special” attention. They are the bold faced names that make the music world take notice. But let’s be honest here: the differences are much more fun to dissect than the similarities are. We can all agree on that, right? Cool.
Ok, so let’s go through some of the glaring differences between these two.
“No one on the corner has Swagger like us…”
The always enlightening and outspoken wise man, Dame Dash, once said that a major element to being on top in the rap game is that dudes have to want to be you or be like you. And with Jay well into his 40’s, he’s still managed to maintain his cool factor. And as far as dudes still wanting to be like him, the above Drake lyric is perfect evidence of that. But don’t get it twisted; this isn’t to say Drake isn’t cool. It’s just to say that there aren’t as many dudes out there lining up to be like Champagne Papi.
And while they’ve each had their moments where their cool was questioned, the comeback has to be strong. We’ve seen Kevin Hart have a field day with some of Aubrey’s not-so-great moments. From this bathtub photo, to Drizzy’s fashion flubs, the comedy rock star has made plenty of great usage out of his Instagram page. Hov, on the other hand, has only really struggled with rocking skinny jeans. But aside from that, he’s been one of the leaders in fashion trends. If not for “Change Clothes” who knows how long it would’ve taken many of us guys to grow up? Also, let’s not forget that Rocawear was one of the highest grossing apparel lines in the late 90’s – early 2000’s. But, we will give Drake the edge in kicks. The S.Dot Carter sold millions and opened doors for entertainers to endorse footwear after major companies hadn’t really rocked with rappers since Run DMC and LL Cool J. But Drake’s OVO Jordan line is special. Oh, and it’s Jordan, not Reebok. Sorry Hov!
Last area of cool that we can look at is sports. While neither is really gifted at a particular sport, their mishaps in the particular field will provide endless tears. Remember the meme that floated around that showed Hov throwing a football? Or how about when he jumped in the pool? Comedy! But then of course there’s Drake’s appearance in Kentucky that didn’t go so well.
However, we’ll give them both credit for bouncing back in a major way. Drizzy is a consultant for the Toronto Raptors and even has OVO day, which includes dope, label-inspired uniforms. Jay, well he purchased and ownership stake in the then New Jersey Nets, moved them to Brooklyn, only to leave the NBA to start his own agency known as Roc Nation Sports. Oh, and he also became a certified sports agent.
Swag: Advantage Jigga
“I’m Not a business man, I’m a business, MAN!”
This area is far more lopsided on the side of one Shawn Corey Carter, so we’ll just examine it from the label perspective. Each of these talented MC’s are the heads of their own record labels. Drake has OVO Sound, while Jay was co-owner of Roc-A-Fella Records and current owner of Roc Nation. October’s Very Own Sound hasn’t been around nearly as long as Roc-a-Fella, but it has done well for itself. OVO Fest is a huge music festival that…ok, I’ll cut the BS. There’s no way Drake wins this battle. Sure he’s built a solid label with enormous potential, but let’s keep it a buck: Roc-A-Fella Records was an empire! In fact, many people believe the Fox series is very much a depiction of what the label was. A leader that used to sell drugs turns that into one of the biggest, most powerful brands in music. Sound familiar?
And face it; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a roster with this level of talent under one umbrella. The scary thing about that poster is that it doesn’t even include some of the almost signees like Joe Budden and Big L, or the likes of Teirra Marie and N.O.R.E. Roc-A-Fella was literally an army! It’s also an army that Drake’s quoted in the past by stating OVO will be “the new Cash Money, new Roc-A-Fella.” Drizzy’s got a way to go before he can make a star other than himself. On the flipside The Roc helped build or amplify the careers of everyone from Beanie Sigel, Cam’Ron and Noreaga, to Grammy nominated duo Young Gunz. Also, let us not forget that the ROC introduced us to legendary producers Just Blaze, Young Guru, and of course the groundbreaking artistry that is Kanye West. In all honesty, OVO’s got a long way before it even reaches the level of Roc Nation, which manages the careers of Rihanna, The-Dream, J.Cole, Meek Mill and many more!
Label: Advantage Jigga
“Last name ever, First name greatest…”
Let’s be clear: Both Drake and Jay Z can rap their a**es off! And as much as people love/mention Drizzy’s singing and song writing, the boy does have a knack for crafting a mean 16. If you run down Drake’s features list, you’ll see that it’s virtually flawless. From “I’m On One” to “F***in Problem” the boy from Toronto always seems to knock it out the park. And when it’s all said and done, he’ll probably find his way into the discussion for Top 10-15 MC’s. But Jay, he’s consistently in the conversation for the Top 2-3 MC’s of all time, landing at the number one spot more often than not. And this isn’t just about Hov having more time in than Drake. This is about the ability to convey your thoughts so effortlessly over an instrumental, that it leaves you in awe almost every time. Jay has elevated into a rapper’s rapper. He’s mastered every type of flow there is – fast or slow. He’s traded bars with some of the hardest in the game, and smoothed it out alongside some of R&B’s brightest stars. These are areas that Drake still has yet to master. But there is one thing October’s Very Own has picked up from Hov, and that’s the ability to calculate your moves.
When you’re at the level that these guys are on, there’s always going to be other rappers vying for your spot. Jay has had everyone from Prodigy and Mase dislike him, to 50 Cent and Nas. Hell, even Drake’s taken a few subliminal jabs here and there in magazines, which Hov quickly responded by calling out the young gun in his “We Made It” freestyle. No matter the foe, Jay always seems to emerge on top. And sure, people will always debate “Takeover” vs. “Ether” and who won the epic battle between he and Nas. In the end, Hov won the war when he brought Nas over to Def Jam, while he served as President of the label. Not to mention he continued to drop classic material, including arguably his best album to date, ‘The Black Album’.
While Drake’s recent battle with Meek Mill has been heavily one-sided in his favor, he has shied away from some formidable opponents. Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar are two MCs that immediately come to mind, who have each sent shots in Drizzy’s direction. However, the Toronto native has refused to respond directly through song. And with these recent allegations that Drake’s been using a ghostwriter, Canada’s crown jewel has never been more vulnerable. In Jay’s era, allowing upper echelon rappers to talk greasy about you, or using a ghostwriter isn’t something you do…ever! In fact, many people look at a Kendrick vs. Drake battle as the Nas vs. Jay battle in today’s hip-hop climate. Maybe he’ll have to take a page outta Hov’s book and just call K-Dot out during a big concert and kick this beef off right!
Rapping: Advantage Jigga
There are many more areas we could tackle in comparison to these two MC’s. They’ve each got that “it” factor that makes them special, which is something that can’t be taught. Drake has the unique ability to be good at virtually anything he puts his hands on. Whether he’s impersonating Manny Pacquiao or Katt Williams, the Young Money MC will always find a way to remain in your living room. Meanwhile, it’s Jay Z’s history that may make him the most untouchable. His path from Marcy to Madison Square is something that may never be replicated in hip-hop –or can be. Drake and rappers like him stand on the shoulders of giants, like Jay, so will always lack the perspective of what brought them to this place. Sure they can have more money, as many awards, as many women. But to BE them is something else entirely.
After all, as great as Michael Jordan was, we never thought we’d ever see anyone that resembled his game or level of play again. Then we were introduced to Kobe “Bean” Bryant, who patterned his play after his Airness while bringing his own qualities to the game and will leave it a champion. Now we have Steph Curry, a freakish talent the league has not seen the likes of before, but the game itself has changed—A LOT. Curry has–and will–achieve unforeseen levels of success but he simply cannot ever BE Jordan. And that’s fine. Being Steph Curry looks like a lot of fun. And Drake should just be happy being Drake.