by Andrew Katsiris
Let’s stop acting like there will ever be another time when a group of three or more rappers, on separate labels, with their own unique skillset, will collaborate on a few tracks, ultimately releasing an album together. Timbaland asked/trolled Twitter with the idea of a Drake/Kendrick/JCole collaboration album (queue the unrealistically hopeful, immature rap fans…). With those three artists being some of the most influential in the hip-hop genre as of this moment, it’s a fantasy for fans of the three to someday witness history like that.
Why will this never happen? To keep a long story short, because it would be trash. Allow me to explain…
When two artists collaborate, be it on a single track or a full album, the two of them have to vibe together in a way that would show on wax, giving the track a unique sound that could only come from the joint effort of two artists. If that vibe isn’t there, the track will not achieve what it set out to do. How many times have you heard about a track by one rapper, featuring a completely different rapper? It happens all the time, but every so often the track is expectedly awful. Drake, JCole, and Kendrick would not vibe together in the slightest bit. Let me break it down by artist: what they bring to the table, and how they’d mess it all up.
Drake, with his last project, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” and the events that followed, has made it clear he is not playing nice with the other boys on the playground; he isn’t taking competition lightly. While “IYRTITL” did not lack the soft, singing Drake persona we listened to on “Nothing Was the Same,” there was the kind of Drake that wasn’t taking just punches and rolling with them, but returning the blow. Who can forget the not-so-subtle Tyga diss, “you need to act your age and not your girl’s age?” Twitter hasn’t forgotten it. Tyga probably hasn’t, but I’m not about to listen to his (expectedly trash) mixtape trying to find a response track or lyric. The fact is that although Drake considers Cole to be a brother of his, the vibe wouldn’t be there in the studio. His OVO team would have a folder of beats lined up, and Cole wouldn’t be able to find an instrumental suiting his conscious lyrics, whereas Drake would do what he does best: essentially rapping about nothing but still sounding dope.
But why wouldn’t Kendrick and JCole vibe together? Let’s not forget the infamous “Control” verse Kendrick wrote- the one that called out a multitude of rappers, including Drake and Cole. Is Kendrick willing to set aside the competitive spirit he possesses, the same spirit influenced by west coast hip-hop legends that separates him from Drake’s competitive attitude? Part of me says no, that JCole’s apparent lack of that spirit would not vibe properly. Despite the fact that on “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Kendrick let everyone know that he was tired of people sitting in his throne, he also brought up the plight of the black community in America, a topic Cole touches on constantly. So maybe the two of them will find some common ground with such an important topic. But where does that leave Aubrey?
It’s no secret that Kendrick and Drake are “frenemies.” Do they respect each other? Drake probably does, but Kendrick is no stranger to calling out the Canadian; from his verse on “Control,” to the line about ghost writers from “King Kunta,” Kendrick has gotten his fan base used to the sneak dissing Drake. After Meek Mill tried (and failed) to call out Drake for having a ghostwriter, the Toronto native does not stand where he used to in comparison to Kendrick and Cole, as far as lyrics are concerned. But Drake has never been the one to rap about social issues, aside from problems with his ex, so what does that leave Drake to rap about? How he’s the best to ever do it? How his girl used to call him on his cell phone? Does the former actor have any common ground with Kendrick and Cole, especially when they are all on the SAME track?
I say no, and given my reasoning behind it you should know I’m not just some kid who thinks it would be “lit” for the three rappers on one track. After I first heard “Watch the Throne,” or even old Eminem/Dr. Dre tracks, I knew it was special but I couldn’t figure out why. As it turns out, the reason these collaborations are so special is because two hip-hop artists having chemistry like Kanye and Jay-Z, or Eminem and Dre, is rare to find. The fact is that Drake, Kendrick, and Cole simply don’t have that chemistry between the three of them. So you can stop holding your breath, because the “legendary” collaboration is never happening.