Drake is hip-hop’s reigning king of the cosign. Whether you see him as a wave-stealing opportunist or a person who really cares about helping new artists get their proper shine, Aubrey has assisted in putting several young rappers on the map by hopping on their tracks or offering a glowing review of their music. One of his biggest protégés is fellow Canadian megastar The Weeknd.
Drake initially introduced the then-little-known singer to his fanbase in 2010, when he posted two of the singer’s songs on his October's Very Own blog. They later met in 2011, when The Weeknd was promoting his debut mixtape House of Balloons. Abel would go on to contribute to Drake’s sophomore album Take Care the same year.
The first rift in their friendship appeared to show after The Weeknd ended up signing a record deal with Republic Records instead of Drake's OVO Sound imprint as many expected. They eventually patched things up, but more falling outs seemingly followed surrounding controversy over The Weeknd’s contributions to Take Care and Drizzy’s dealings with Abel’s current girlfriend, Bella Hadid, during the time the singer and model were separated.
More recently, The Weeknd’s verse on the new Gesaffelstein song “Lost in the Fire” has fans wondering if the two have issues once again, with supporters suspecting the My Dear Melancholy singer slipped in a subliminal jab on the track.
While the fans speculate if the beef is back on, XXL dives into Aubrey and Abel’s storied history below.
Drake Cosigns The WeekndOctober 2010
Drake introduces little-known Canadian crooner The Weeknd to his fans via his October’s Very Own Blog. Oliver El-Khatib, Drake's manager and OVO founder, posts two of Weeknd’s songs on the site along with the caption: “Introducing The Weeknd.”
Months later, Drake tweeted a lyric from The Weeknd's "Wicked Game," also posting the song on his blog.
Drake and The Weeknd Collab on ‘Take Care’October 2011
The following year, they meet during one of Abel’s shows in Canada. In August, Drake appeared on The Weeknd track "The Zone." A short time later, they start collaborating on Drizzy’s album, Take Care.
“He’s like a writer, collaborator on four songs on my album, which I’m very proud of,” Drizzy told MTV News at the time. “I usually don’t branch out writing-wise working with other people. I usually like to write all my own stuff, but we get it. We try to tap into the same emotions because we’re from the same city.”
Drake Works on Signing The Weeknd to OVO SoundMay 2012
By 2012, Weeknd is buzzing heavy. Drake works on signing him to his label OVO Sound.
“As far as on paper, it’s all being worked out, but that’s not really what counts anyway,” Drizzy told MTV’s Sway Calloway. “What counts to me is the fact that the affiliation is so known, and that’s all I really care about."
He added, “I want to continue being involved in his career and vice versa and keep making music together, because you take songs like ‘Crew Love’ and ‘The Zone’ and that’s what people wait all night to hear.”
The Weeknd Signs Deal With Republic Records September 2012
The Weeknd instead inks a partnership with Republic Records and receives his own XO imprint as part of the deal. Some speculate Drake is not happy with the decision.
Drake and The Weeknd Resume Working RelationshipJuly 2013
The next summer, the two artists are back together in the studio. Aubrey appears on The Weeknd's Kiss Land track "Live For" and also takes Weeknd along for the European leg of his Would You Like a Tour?
The Weeknd Opens Up About Contributions to Drake AlbumOctober 2015
In the midst of ghostwriting allegations being levied against Drake, The Weeknd opened up to Rolling Stone about giving the rapper music he originally planned on using for his album for Take Care.
“I gave up almost half of my album. It’s hard,” Weeknd says. “I will always be thankful—if it wasn’t for the light he shined on me, who knows where I’d be. And everything happens for a reason. You never know what I would say if this success wasn’t in front of me now.”
Drake and The Weeknd Reunite on TourFebruary 2017
Having seemingly distanced themselves from each other for more than a year, the artists reunite as Drake brings out The Weeknd to perform “The Hills” during a stop in Germany on his Boy Meets World Tour.
Drake and The Weeknd Perform Duet “Crew Love” for First Time in YearsMay 2017
Drake and Abel share the stage again as Drizzy makes cameos on two Toronto stops of the Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour. They perform their duet “Crew Love” for the first time in years.
Drake Teases OVO x XO Project With The WeekndAugust 2017
Drake returns the favor and brings out The Weeknd at the 2017 OVO Festival. During a break in the action, Drizzy teases a joint project.
"I want you to understand what this is," Drake tells The Weeknd. "First of all, I don't want to do this to you on stage, but I feel like that OVOXO project has to happen at some point. I just want to say that."
Drake and The Weeknd’s Ex-Girlfriend Bella Hadid Spark Dating RumorsOctober 2017
Rumors begin to circulate that Drake is dating The Weeknd’s ex-girlfriend, model Bella Hadid, after the rapper reportedly throws her a posh 21st birthday party at New York City's Socialista lounge. The Weeknd and Hadid would later rekindle their relationship.
Drake Sets the Record Straight on The Weeknd’s ‘Take Care’ ContributionsNovember 2017
On the anniversary of Take Care, Drizzy responds to an internet troll who claims The Weeknd wrote most of the album by clearing the air. Drake doubles down on his stance that Abel only contributed to four songs on the LP, which many consider the Toronto rapper’s best project.
"There’s 20 songs on that album … don’t try me," Drake snaps.
The Weeknd Appears to Diss Drake on New SongJanuary 2019
The Weeknd appears on the Gesaffelstein song “Lost in the Fire” and drops a line many consider to be a jab at Drake.
"And I just want a baby with the right one/'Cause I would never be the one to hide one," Weeknd sings, causing many to speculate that he is referring to Drake’s son who was first revealed to the world via Pusha-T’s diss song “The Story of Adidon.”