For anyone who was a Young Money fan in the early part of this decade (read: everyone listening to the radio), yesterday was surreal. Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Lil Wayne, after two years apart, finally reunited, and it was glorious. When Nicki posted photo of her and Drake to her Instagram, a smile took over my face. Then came the pic of her, Drizzy and Wayne all together, cheesing like it was 2011, not 2017. The crew—or Big 3, as Nicki wrote in the caption—is back.
According to TMZ, Mack Maine orchestrated the reunion after Drake reached out to him. On Jan. 8, Drake saw Lil Wayne and Nicki appear together on the NFL Network, which prompted him to hit up Mack.
While Nicki and Wayne have always been cool, her relationship with Drake has been on rocky ground for years. Obviously, the biggest obstacle to a productive, strong relationship between Nicki and Drake was her two-year relationship with Meek Mill, Drake’s onetime nemesis. But back in 2013, before the Meek beef, Drake went public about their deteriorating friendship. “Not even talking to Nicki, communication is breaking/I dropped the ball on some personal shit, I need to embrace it,” he rapped on “Tuscan Leather,” from Nothing Was the Same. “I’m honest, I make mistakes, I’d be the second to admit it/Think that’s why I need her in my life, to check me when I’m tripping.” The pair fixed the communication breakdown at that time, but then the Meek beef, which began during summer 2015, put Nicki in a difficult situation. One that she said on the record she wouldn’t get involved in. With that romance now ended, Nicki and Drake wasted little time to squash whatever had come between them.
For Drake, Wayne, and Nicki, this reunion couldn’t come at a better time. They’re each in need of a spark, some motivation to work harder and recapture that old energy the fueled their solo careers and collaborative efforts from 2009 to 2014. You can hear it on songs like “I’m on One” and “Make Me Proud” and “Tap Out” and “Truffle Butter.”
Nicki is currently working on her new album, and having access to Drake’s pop instincts—the sharpest in the game right now—would only be an asset. (Remember, Nicki still hasn’t had a No. 1 single.) Drake dropped Views in 2016, but is at a creative crossroads as he gears up for More Life; like he said, having Nicki around to check him is something that, in the past, produced some of his strongest music. And the reunion is potentially most impactful for Wayne, who remains embroiled in a creative-stifling legal battle with Birdman, a conflict in which Nicki has tried to stay neutral as possible and Drake has sent a few sub-shots at Cash Money. While Wayne going through that, he needs Drake and Nicki—the two superstars he signed and mentored under his Young Money imprint—in his corner.
How can they not call a potential song “The Big 3”? It would be a definitive statement that would help each of them equally. It would be a clear message to Birdman that Wayne has the biggest Cash Money assets on his side of this beef. On Nicki’s side, a collaborative loosie would be a strong way to shift attention from talk of her breakup with Meek, and build real hype for her next album, which is expected later this year.
So yes, cue up the Young Money classics from way back and rejoice. The crew is back. The Big 3 is here and 2017 is already looking fantastic. And just imagine the (likely) track that will come from this reunion.