Before bursting onto the music scene in 2009, we knew Drake best as the Canadian actor who played wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation. But five years after signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment imprint, Drizzy has become a major hip hop game changer. He has received dozens of accolades, including his first Grammy for Best Rap Album, and introduced the phrase “YOLO” into the pop culture lexicon. Did we mention he’s achieved all of this by the age of 27? Drake has accomplished so much at such a young age that it begs the question: has he eclipsed his mentor and boss, Weezy? Let’s break down the stats.
The music industry wasn’t quite the same when Lil Wayne was working his way to stardom. The New Orleans rapper entered the game when he was a teenager, spitting rhymes in a group called The Hot Boys and repping Cash Money back in 1996. Wayne’s road to world-wide adoration was much longer than that of his protégé Drake. With their Drake Vs. Lil Wayne battle tour kicking off tonight, let’s compare what they both accomplished by the age of 27….
1. MUSICAL OUTPUTALBUMS
- So Far Gone EP (2009)
- Thank Me Later (2010)
- Take Care (2011)
- Nothing Was the Same (2013)
- Tha Block is Hot (1999)
- Lights Out (2000)
- 500 Degreez (2002)
- Tha Carter (2004)
- Tha Carter II (2005)
- Tha Carter III (2008)
WINNER IS…Drake. Although Lil Wayne released more albums than his protege overall, the Toronto rapper has achieved a larger number of albums sold in a shorter period of time than his boss with Drake’s first three studio albums selling over 400,000 units in its first week. Tha Carter III, released in 2008, was Lil Wayne’s first album to push over 500,000 copies in its first week.
- Drake has 33 top 10 hits on Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts.Drake beat Usher’s record, topping Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart with 14 #1 singles that recently included Lil Wayne assisted “Believe Me”.
- Lil Wayne has 31 top 10 hits on Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts (second to Drake).
- Lil Wayne is third behind Drake and Usher with “Believe Me” being his 10th number one single on the R&B/Hip Hop Airplay charts.
WINNER IS…Drake. He surpassed Lil Wayne with the most top 10 hits on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop charts in addition to beating out Usher’s record with the most number one singles.
- Drake started OVO Sound Label in 2012 with Noah “40” Shebib, which is distributed by Warner Bros. Records. Artists include group Majid Jordan and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
- Lil Wayne started Young Money Entertainment (YMCMB) in 2005, which is distributed by Cash Money/Universal with Drake and Nicki Minaj being two of his lead artists.
WINNER IS…Lil Wayne. He signed Drake but I do believe Drake will be able to achieve the level of success Wayne did with YMCMB as Drake’s influence continues to grow.
- Jay Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Rihanna, Beyonce, Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Swizz Beatz, Rick Ross, Bun B, Alicia Keys, DJ Khaled, 2 Chainz
- Jay Z, Eminem, Kanye West, B.o.B, Chris Brown, Swizz Beatz, The Game, T.I., Wyclef Jean, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, T-Pain, Destiny’s Child
WINNER IS…Drake. Although this could easily be a tie since they’ve both worked with many of the same artists, Drake wins this for landing respectable collaborations with artists like Jay Z, Eminem, and Kanye West early in his career.
- Lights Dreams and Nightmares Tour also known as Away From Home Tour (2010)
- Club Paradise Tour (2012)
- Would You Like a Tour (2013-2014)
- I Am Music Tour (2008-2009)
- America’s Most Wanted Festival (2009)
- I Am Still Music Tour (2011)
WINNER IS…Lil Wayne. His I Am Music Tour/America’s Most Wanted Festival and his post-prison I Am Still Music Tour grossed over $80 million combined with I Am Still Music Tour being his highest in gross and attendance.
2. CRITICAL RECOGNITION
- In 2011, he won Songwriters Hall of Fame Hal David Starlight award, prestigious award given to gifted songwriters who have made an impact in the music industry
- In 2013, he won his first Best Rap Album Grammy award for Take Care
- In total, he’s won 45 awards including a Grammy, various MTV Video Music Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, and BRIT Awards
- In 2007, he was named MTV’s #1 Hottest MC in the Game
- In 2009, won four Grammys, including a Best Rap Album statue for Tha Carter III
- He has won over 40 awards through 2011 including BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards
WINNER IS…Lil Wayne. Although Drake boasts more collective awards, Lil Wayne holds more Grammys, the prestigious award of them all.
3. CHART SUCCESS
- His So Far Gone EP earned unexpected commercial success and was nominated for two Grammys. Although it was an EP, it was the fifth best selling rap album in 2009. It was certified gold in 2010 by the RIAA.
- His debut album, Thank Me Later, charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and obtained the third highest first week sales in 2010 with 447,000 copies sold. It was the #6 top selling album of 2010 on iTunes.
- His sophomore album, Take Care, sold over 631,000 copies in its first week, was #8 top selling album of 2011 on iTunes, and is his most successful album to date, topping charts in US and Canada.
- His third album, Nothing Was the Same, debuted at #1 on US Billboard 200 chart in its first week selling 658,000 copies making it the highest first week sales for a hip hop album since Wayne’s The Carter V. It was the 7th best selling album of 2013 in the US and the #1 US Rap album in 2013 on Billboard’s year end chart.
- Lil Wayne’s debut album, Tha Block is Hot charted at number three on the US Billboard 200 charts with 229,000 sold in its first week and debuted at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.
- His sophomore album, Lights Out, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and debuted at #16 on the US Billboard 200 charts.
- His third album, 500 Degreez, debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 charts and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Album charts with 103,000 copies sold in its first week.
- His fourth album, Tha Carter, debuted at #5 on the US Billboard 200 charts and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Album charts with 116,000 copies sold in its first week
- His fifth album, Tha Carter II, debuted at #2 on US Billboard 200 with first week sales boasting over 254,000 and debuted at #1 on US Top Rap Albums and Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts in its first week.
- His sixth album, Tha Carter III sold over one million copies and debuted at #1 on US Billboard 200 in its first week and debuted as #1 on US Top Rap Albums, US Billboard 200, and R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts. It was ranked #103 on Billboard Magazine’s Top 200 Albums of the Decade and listed on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
WINNER IS…Lil Wayne. His discography through the age of 27 alone beats out Drake. But hey, Weezy’s success definitely gives Drake something to work towards.
4. WOMEN THEY’VE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH
- Rihanna– He speaks about their initial fling on the track “Fireworks.” Even though rumors circulated that they rekindled their relationship after she was seen on the European leg of his Would You Like A Tour earlier this year, their on and off relationship seems to be off for now …so we think.
- Nicki Minaj– Drake’s been linked to his label mate for various reasons, including their kiss in her video “Moment 4 Life” and his many references to Nicki in his earlier songs. Although they played a Twitter joke about tying the knot, Nicki sees Drake as her little brother.
- Serena Williams– When asked in an interview with Complex about his relationship with the professional tennis player, he offered a very cryptic response. “I really, really love and care for Serena.” Of course that sent the rumor mills into high gear.
- Teyana Taylor- When Drake busted on the scene in 2009, there were photos of the G.O.O.D. Music singer and Drake looking very cozy together.
- Tatyana Ali- The Fresh Prince star let it be known that she was a fan of the Toronto rapper. He helped celebrate her 34th birthday party where they also looked very cozy. The actress never denied anything between them.
- Rashida Jones– having met at Sundance in 2012, there was speculation that the Parks and Recreation star and Drake were quietly dating, although the reps insisted that the two were just friends.
- Zoe Kravitz- Lenny’s daughter was seen chilling on his tour bus earlier this year, as well as being really affectionate at Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter World Tour in Philadelphia.
- Rita Ora- UK singer and Roc Nation artist has also been paired with the Young Money rapper.
- Kat Dennings, Drake revealed that he had a romantic interest in the 2 Broke Girls actress and that she joined him on a date.
- Tyra Banks- Drake and the supermodel went on a Disneyland mini date, which seemed pretty harmless.
- Maliah Michel- He was linked to model and King of Diamonds stripper who also played his love interest in “Find Your Love” video.
- Dollicia Bryan- He and the model dated for a brief period of time before breaking up.
- Kyra Chaos– She was the model and muse for Drake’s “Practice” video. They were also linked possibly because of their seamless connection seen in the video.
- Bria Myles– She is a video model who he referred to on Bria’s interlude on Thank Me Later and second verse on “From Time” from Nothing Was the Same.
- Christina Milian– The singer signed to Young Money in 2012, and was also linked to the head honcho. The pair have been seen out and about together, including the 2014 ESPYs.
- Lauren London- Wayne and the actress have some history, considering she’s his ex-fiancé and mother to one of his children.
- Nivea– Before marrying songwriter and singer The Dream, Nivea was also engaged to Wayne and is the mother to one of his children.
- Karrine “Superhead” Steffans- The video vixen speaks of an ongoing relationship between her and Wayne that’s been going on for a long time.
- Candace Cabrera– The former Flavor of Love contestant had a thing for the New Orleans rapper as well.
- Dhea Sodano– A cocktail waitress, she was also engaged to Wayne as well.
- Meagan Good– They were allegedly together for three years.
- Shanell Woodgett– Also signed to Young Money, the singer was linked to Lil Wayne, but both denied these dating rumors to be true.
- Adrienne Williams Bosh– The Smooth Magazine model had a history with Lil Wayne, who has publicly admitted that he “smashed” NBA player Chris Bosh’s future wife.
- Keri Hilson– the Atlanta singer and songwriter was rumored to have been involved with him.
- Trina– The two were once engaged and she was also pregnant with his child until she suffered a miscarriage. Lil Wayne even professed his love for Trina long after they were broken up.
- Tammy Torres– She played the female cop in his “Officer” video, but were they playing at romance?
- Sarah Vivan– The Atlanta radio personality and mother to one of his children met the rapper when she was a 19-year-old college student.
- Zena Foster– The model and baby mama to R&B singer Tank, was also an alleged love interest.
- Antonia Wright– She was his first wife and mother to his first born child, Reginae Carter. They met in middle school and were married for two years.
WINNER IS…Lil Wayne. Although some are alleged, he’s been married, engaged three times, and is a proud father of four children.
5. RAP BEEFS
- Pusha T– Rapper, G.O.O.D. Music artist, and one half of the rap group The Clipse, Pusha came for the Young Money camp and Drake sent shots back. The Clipse was cited as a rap group Drake used to listen to.
- Common– The Chicago rapper came for Drake over his ex-girlfriend Serena Williams. They have since put aside their differences.
- Chris Brown– Their two entourages supposedly got into a brawl in a New York night club, allegedly over Chris’ ex-girlfriend Rihanna. The two seemed to have buried the hatchet as well since they were seen in a studio together.
- Ludacris– Luda wasn’t fond of Drake’s response to an interview in which he attributed a certain rapping style to Big Sean that Drake believes some rappers aren’t using well. Drake used one of Ludacris’ lyrics as an example.
- DMX– He didn’t like that Drake was working on an Aaliyah project despite the fact that he never met the late singer.
- Jay Z– In 2009, the rapper and Roc Nation founder won MTV’s #1 Hottest MC in the Game. Unfortunately, Birdman thought Lil Wayne deserved the crown. Although Wayne admires Jay’s music, both have sent shots to each other in songs “H.A.M.,” and “It’s Good.”
- 50 Cent– Fiddy thought Lil Wayne was whoring himself out by appearing on too many artists’ songs. 50 released a song taking shots at Lil Wayne and Birdman.
- Pusha T– The G.O.O.D. Music artist called out Wayne on a song called “Your Favourite Rapper” [sic]. He continued to take more shots on other songs including “Exodus 23:1″ and “New God Flow.”
- Gillie Da Kid– He used to be signed to Cash Money (CMR) and wrote songs for Lil Wayne. He thought CMR did him dirty.
- Mystikal–Lil Wayne was 12 years old at the time he collaborated with B.G. and Tec-9 on a diss track to Mystikal’s then record label, Big Boy.
WINNER IS…Drake. Although Lil Wayne and Jay had their quarrels via music, it never got violent like it did with Drake and Chris Brown. Thankfully their beef is squashed (hopefully) once and for all.
6. OTHER MEDIA APPEARANCES
- 2001-2009– Degrassi: The Next Generation
- 2011, 2014- hosted Saturday Night Live
- 2012- voiced a character in Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
- 2013- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
- 2014- Think Like a Man Too
- 2014- Hosted the ESPYs
WINNER IS…Drake. His overall appeal and natural talent has allowed him to crossover, affording him many opportunities with only more to come.
- The Source
- The Fader
- Men’s Fashion
- Da Vibe
- Rap Pages
- Owners Toyz Guide
- Owners Illustrated
- The Fader
- Urban Ink
- Rolling Stone
- Rides Magazine
- Sister 2 Sister Magazine
WINNER IS…Lil Wayne. Drake’s boss has some years on him with magazine covers, plus Lil Wayne has graced the major publications including Rolling Stone, GQ, and Billboard. With the exception of Drake not having Rolling Stone under his belt yet, he still stands a fair chance to catch up to Lil Wayne.
- Jordan Brand sneakers
- Bounce lint rollers
- Pepsi’s Mountain Dew…the DEWeezy Project (before he was dropped)
WINNER IS…Drake. He landed the Sprite deal before his first album dropped. He also landed a coveted collaboration with Nike Jordan Brand sneakers. Not sure what else can top that.
7. CULTURAL INFLUENCES
- Billionaire Richard Branson named a Virgin America plane after Drake called Air Time with Drake; Drake’s Thank Me Later album cover was painted on the side of the plane to celebrate the inaugural flight from LA to Toronto.
- He popularized the term YOLO from his song “The Motto.”
- Drake’s OVO Sound Label partnered with the City of Toronto, in an attempt to make the city a major music destination.
- He serves as the Global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors NBA team.
- He was referenced in a public speech by President Obama with him also noting that he listens to the New Orleans rapper on his iPod.
WINNER IS…Drake. Although being referenced by the POTUS is pretty bad ass, that doesn’t top having a plane named after you in addition to your album cover/face being plastered on the side of it. Never forget.
- Drake clocks in with 10 tattoos as of now.
- Lil Wayne clocks in with over 100 tattoos.
WINNER IS…Drake. Sometimes subtle is better. Lil Wayne didn’t want Drake to get tattoos -and although he didn’t listen, we like the fact that they’re hidden. No shade to Lil Wayne, but it’s nice to see some skin not completely covered in ink.
[Photo: Getty Images]