Much has been written—by us—on the romantic stylings of one Aubrey “Drake” Graham. Drake is famous for many things—his half-Jewish heritage, his turtlenecks, and for being the first major hip-hop star to come up in world of scripted Canadian teen dramas. As one of the inarguable hip-hop heavyweights of his generation, the artist formerly known as wheelchair Jimmy has infused the rap world with his sad-boy mentality. Drake may brag about the superficial things in life—cars, bling, clubs, etc.—but he’s really just trying to give a queen his Wi-Fi password.
For a rapper at the top of his game, Drake is almost tragically distracted by the women he raps about: the strippers who strut in and out of his songs, and the Nickis and Serenas who fuel his fantasies. For all of his bravado, Drake is more of an unrequited lover than a lothario. It would, for example, be extremely charitable to call his most famous dalliance, with pop goddess Rihanna, a “relationship.” At best, it was a casual dating scenario—at worst, Rihanna didn’t even realize that they were “together” until Drake shouted it from the proverbial rooftops at the VMAs. After eight years of occasionally grinding up on him in music videos, it seemed like Rihanna was finally ready to define the relationship. Then, as quickly as Aubrih began, it was over. Basically, Drake spent a decade putting in work for a glorified summer fling.
Of course Drake, a man who has strippers at his Toronto compound in lieu of housekeepers, wasn’t alone for long. This December, rumors started flying about a budding relationship between Drake and Jennifer Lopez. It all started when Drizzy and Jenny posed for a selfie together backstage at J. Lo’s show. Then Drake returned to the singer’s Vegas residency to catch an encore performance. TMZ reported that the two are collaborating on music together and not “officially” dating—however, they divulged, “It’s pretty clearly going in that direction.” But the most shocking gossip bulletin of this nascent relationship came courtesy of Page Six. According to a source, Lopez bailed on her New Year’s Eve gig at a Miami nightclub because she wanted to suck face with her Canadian cuddle buddy. The official statement on J. Lo’s $1 million cancellation is that she’s pursuing “personal and family time.” I might not be Jennifer Lopez’s personal accountant, but sacrificing a million singles to spend a night alone with Drake doesn’t really add up.
As celebrity romances go, this one was unexpected, but not inexplicable. At 47 years to Drake’s 30—not to mention with a career and kids of her own—J. Lo is exactly the kind of empowered, independent woman Drake would be honored to follow around all day. For all of his shortcomings, Drake is one hell of an Instagram boyfriend. Like a particularly buff personal assistant, the rapper has proven to be as attentive as he is totally malleable—the perfect beta male accessory for any alpha female. When Drake was dating Serena Williams, he became an international presence on the sidelines, cheering on his boo on a consistent basis. He indulged in the preppiest of styles, as if love could protect him against the inevitable “Drake with a sweater around his shoulders” memes. Last but certainly not least, he buffed up for his famously fit girlfriend. In a world of fuckboys with commitment issues and erratic texting styles, Drake permanently raised the bar by getting himself an entirely new body. That’s not to mention the time he offered to buy Nicki Minaj everything in a 7-11, or the countless performers he’s let grind up on him for the sake of their careers.
But there’s a darker reading of this coupling. It has to do, as everything in this world does, with petty drama. J. Lo and Drake came out, so to speak, via a Wednesday morning picture of them cuddling on a couch—because nothing says “real relationship” like a synchronized Instagram drop. In addition to sparking some Good Tweets, this social media blitz also managed to piss off at least one interested party. As of Wednesday, Rihanna is no longer following J. Lo or Drake on Instagram (for the record, they’re both still following RiRi). According to an admittedly questionable Hollywood Life source, Rihanna thinks of Lopez as a “mentor,” and is freaked out by her ex’s decision to date one of their friends. Whether or not Drake and J. Lo are actually together, they made a conscious decision to publish those pictures and seriously piss Rihanna off.
Adding insult to insult, there’s also the matter of Drake and Diddy’s well-aged beef. Sean “Diddy” Combs, who famously dated Lopez way back in the day, has also gotten physical with Drizzy. In 2014, Diddy reportedly punched Drake after a night out partying at Miami’s Art Basel. The brawl went down at about 4 a.m. outside of the Fontainebleau hotel. According to one fellow partier, “Drake definitely got the shit kicked out of him.” While Diddy has since denied the assault, he did admit to some sort of an incident, stemming over a musical dispute. Combs insists that “0 to 100,” a Drake hit, “Was initially a record that was my record, and then somehow that became...just a misunderstanding, because we were working with the same producers.” In other words, while Combs is clearly trying to put a polite spin on the situation, at some point he accused Drake of stealing his song.
But is Drake really petty enough to use a relationship for revenge, either against an ex or an instigator? In a word, yes. The rapper has always had a taste for vengeance, and isn’t above kicking an opponent when they’re down. The most famous instance was when he eviscerated Meek Mill in the summer of 2015. Meek may have fired the first shot, but Drake responded with the equivalent of an atomic bomb, attacking the Philly rapper with two diss tracks in one week. For a more recent example of Drake’s disproportional taste for revenge, look no further than his recent Kid Cudi diss track, “Two Birds, One Stone.” After Cudi came for Drake in a September tirade, the rapper clapped back by mocking his peer’s mental health issues. “You were the man on the moon,” he rapped, “Now you go through your phases / Life of the angry and famous.” Cudi, who was hospitalized in the fall, has been public about his struggles with suicidal ideations and depression, though he probably wouldn’t dismiss them as “phases.”
But the award for pettiest Drake drama has to go to his thoroughly unnecessary shading of Matt Barnes, an NBA player who has not, and never will, sleep with Rihanna. In one way, Drake’s dedication to his own personal burn book is inspirational. He doesn’t just keep receipts—he alphabetizes and color codes them. On the other hand, the notion that his pettiness is, at least in part, fueling this new relationship is super depressing. Jennifer Lopez is an icon in her own right, not to mention a woman who is literally Benjamin Button-ing as she ages. Unlike Taylor Swift, who becomes stronger and stronger every time she trends on Twitter, Lopez deserves more than a drama-inducing fauxmance. Then there’s the possibility that Lopez is just in this to sell a few records, in which case, more power to her. Love may not cost a thing, but raising twins/maintaining that wardrobe isn’t cheap.