They may have exchanged absurd barbs over the size of each other’s pools (Drizzy’s is a goddamn lagoon, by the way), but Kanye West and Drake are still close friends and collaborators.Now they are about to get that much closer. Late Monday night, Kanye crashed Drake’s OVO Fest in Toronto, where he first performed a selection of hits from his album The Life of Pablo before dropping a bomb: He and Drake will be dropping a collaborative album in the near future.“Toronto, I got one more question for ya. Is y’all ready for this album?” he announced. “I’m not talkin’ about Pablo, I wasn’t talkin’ about Views. I wanna ask y’all right now: Are y’all ready for this album?” before signaling to Drake, who strutted out onstage.
There’s no timetable for when Dreezy will be releasing Watch the Rosé (just a guess!). Not only did Kanye witness the success of Drake and Future’s No. 1 hit What a Time to Be Alive, but also Kanye and Drake have expressed a desire to make an album together for quite some time. During the recording of Pablo, Kanye alluded to dozens of tracks that didn’t make the final cut, including several with Drake. And one of the tracks that did make it on the album, “Wolves,” was originally meant to be on a plotted Kanye vs. Drake album.
“The ‘Wolves’ song came from a conversation that me and Drake had, when we was gonna do an album together, and the album was called Wolves,” Kanye told The Breakfast Club last year.
There could, however, be a greater motive in play here. For quite some time, Kanye has wanted Apple to acquire Tidal, Jay Z’s streaming music service that counts Kanye as part-owner. The Drake track “Pop Style,” featuring Tidal’s Kanye and Jay Z (sorta), was dropped as an iTunes exclusive on April 5 to promote Views. Just last week, Kanye went on a Twitter rant about how “This Tidal Apple beef is fucking up the music game,” before expressing how he wants a number of people—including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple spokesman Drake—to hold a meeting about a possible Apple acquisition of Tidal.
Kanye, Jay Z, and Co. are also embroiled in a $5 million class-action lawsuit pertaining to Tidal. The lawsuit, filed in April in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court, alleges that Kanye and Co. misled consumers into believing that the album The Life of Pablo would only be available on Tidal—only to have it pop up days later for purchase, and weeks later on other streaming music sites like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play.
“My album will never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale…You can only get it on Tidal,” Kanye tweeted back on Feb. 15.
The lawsuit, filed by consumer Justin Baker-Rhett and taken on by the law firm Edelson PC, alleges that people were “uniformly tricked” into signing up for Tidal to listen to Kanye’s promised “exclusive,” only to have it not be exclusive at all. Pablo was streamed over 250 million times in its first week, and reportedly attracted close to 2 million subscribers—worth an estimated $84 million, according to the suit—to the struggling streaming service.
“Kanye has the power to send one tweet out into the world and get 2 million people to act on it. This suit is about holding him accountable when he abuses that power,” said Edelsen PC founder Jay Edelson in a statement on the lawsuit.
Drake is, of course, Apple Music’s premier spokesman. Who can forget his surprise appearance at WWDC 2015, where, sporting an Apple varsity jacket, Drizzy talked up the revamped music service and how his next album, Views, would be released using Apple Music’s “Connect” feature. “Focus on your body of work,” he said. “Instead of having to post your stuff on these different and sometimes confusing places, it’s all in one place: Connect.”
Teaming up with Apple’s Drake for what will undoubtedly be the biggest album release of the year is a big, big bargaining chip for Kanye in any upcoming Apple/Tidal takeover negotiations, and a shrewd move for the self-descried “next Steve Jobs.”