Drake has always idolized Kanye West. In 2009, when So Far Gone was drawing comparisons to 808s & Heartbreak, Drake had no problem naming 'Ye as the biggest influence on his sound at that point in his career. Since then, Drizzy has always seemed like the kid brother gunning to one up big brother Kanye. Whether it was Drake's Jordan deal announcement coming directly after 'Ye let the world know he was leaving Nike for adidas in 2013 or the constant comparisons of their careers, the depth of tension between them was unclear until summer 2013. Kanye made a surprise appearance at Drake's OVO Fest, and the two exchanged a number of compliments onstage—the most noteworthy being that Kanye admitted Drake put the pressure on him and Jay Z to make Watch the Throne. And for the last five years, the two have become solidified frenemies in the game—release for release, fighting for the top.
Then, in 2014, Kanye West told GQ that following the release of Nothing Was the Same and Yeezus, Drake stole the throne from him. In the year and a half since, it seems it’s become game on for the two who have intermittently supported and trolled one another ever since. Earlier this month, 'Ye announced the release date of SWISH on Twitter. Now, fans are wondering, will Drake jump at the opportunity and end this year-long cat-and-mouse game the two have been playing? Will Views From the 6 drop the same week as SWISH?
With Anna Wintour, Diddy, Jay and Beyonce, and the entire Kardashian clique sitting front row, Kanye West kicked off New York Fashion Week in February 2015 with the Yeezy Season 1 presentation. During the fashion show, 'Ye premiered "Wolves," a track that still hasn't been officially released but was later performed on Saturday Night Live. NBA All-Star Weekend took over New York City that week, too. Later that night, Kanye hosted a free outdoor show in Flatiron Plaza, and among the hundreds of fans, Drake and his crew were also present. After the show, once fans left Flatiron, Drake surprise released his 17-track mix-album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, on iTunes. Twitter lost its mind.
Later that month, Kanye took the stage at the BRIT Awards for a fiery debut of his now Grammy-nominated single, "All Day," alongside featured artists Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom—and a handful of grime artists, too. Drizzy went on to break record after record on the charts, even holding the most spots on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at the same time. He closed out February with 21 of the 50 spots on the Hot 100 thanks to all 17 songs on his mixtape and a few features. Over the summer, while Kanye prepped his Yeezy Season 2 presentation and neglected to release any music, the beef between Meek Mill and Drizzy started to brew. Ghostwriter allegations aside, the beef left fans with a handful of bangers from Drake—most notably, the now Grammy-nominated "Back to Back" and "Hotline Bling." Drake quickly won the war with Meek Mill thanks to a handful of memes on the OVO Fest screen in August, his annual festival that Kanye actually made another cameo appearance at backstage. Just over a month later—and just a few days after Kanye presented his Yeezy Season 2 collection at NYFW and teased his Ty Dolla $ign and Post Malone collab, "Fade"—Drake and Future released What a Time to Be Alive on OVOSound Radio.
Finally, on Oct. 19, Kanye dropped a couple of loosies on his SoundCloud that garnered little response. A few hours later that day, the Internet-breaking "Hotline Bling" video hit Apple Music. I’m sure there are very few of you who can even recall the names of two tracks West dropped, but I bet you have some "Hotline Bling" memes in your phone on deck. Even with the new songs, there was still no indication that Kanye was serious about dropping a new album in the relative future. Especially since his focus seemed to be fully on fashion and he at one point mentioned that SWISH could still be years away.
The two spent Christmas Eve together, and then Kanye dropped "Facts" on New Year's Eve with shots directed at Jordan brand over his own version of Drake's "Jumpman" flow. "If Nike ain't have Drizzy, man, they wouldn't have nothing," Kanye rapped. The next week, following Kim Kardashian's announcement that G.O.O.D. Fridays may be back in effect, 'Ye dropped "Real Friends" and a snippet of "No More Parties in L.A." He'd later announce the release date for SWISH—Feb. 11, to be exact—and within an hour, Noah "40" Shebib posted a photo of a folder on his computer desktop labeled "Views," begging the question: Is Drake's album done?
If Views isn't totally done, Drake wants you to think that he's very close. Both 40 and Drizzy have been active on Instagram with the usual OVO-style hints and mystery captions to give fans the sense that the album could drop at any minute. Sort of like a dark overlord, Drake wants to make you think that he could wreck any album plans an artist might have, even if he has no real intention of releasing his own project. That's the power of Drake, and it's only intensified with the long delay since he announced Views back in 2014.
So, we wonder—will Drake drop Views next month, too? If the release date sticks, SWISH will drop during New York Fashion Week and the day before All-Star Weekend. It will also drop nearly one year to the day that "Wolves" and If You're Reading This It's Too Late were released. But, with All-Star Weekend taking place in Toronto that same weekend, a full-on 6ix pop culture takeover would make sense.