One of the best parts of the digital music era is all the data that it creates, allowing us to analyze listener trends easier than ever before. One such revelation came thanks to FiveThirtyEight's Allison Mccann, who compared the bonus effect of a feature from the three pillars of Young Money: Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne. While much ado has been made about Drake's "Midas touch" (his guest verses helped popularize artists like The Weeknd, Fetty Wap, and iLoveMakonnen), it turns out that the biggest bump actually comes from Nicki.
Mccann found that on average, a feature from Drake brought an artist 126% more streams than a comparable solo track on their album. Ms. Minaj, on the other hand, brought a 172% bump. Wayne brought the least, with only a modest 21% bump. This was even more pronounced when Mccann only looked at the most popular 25% of songs. In that data set, Nicki gave songs a 46% bump on average, compared to only 25% more often for Drake. Even crazier, in the second quartile of songs (Top 25 - 50%), Nicki gave a 55% bump while Drake actually decreased a song's popularity by about 23%.
Of course, some of this is rooted in who the artists choose to work with. Drake is known to collaborate with artists who are still underground, while Nicki usually only lends her voice to top-tier talent. Nonetheless, they appeared on roughly the same number of albums in the studied time frame (63 for Drake and 62 for Nicki), and it was clear that Minaj's appearance made for a bigger bump in listeners overall. It looks like when it comes to Young Money guest features, Nicki is currently coming out on top.