Here are the rumors behind the social media posts: the two had dinner together in Toronto, spoke backstage at Dave Chappelle’s show, and ended up at Drake’s house together on Monday night.
This came just one week after J. Prince shared a video of Kanye asking Drake to set their differences aside and put on a free concert with the goal of freeing Larry Hoover. “I believe this event will not only bring awareness to our cause, but prove to people everywhere how much more we can accomplish when we lay our pride to the side and come together,” Kanye read from his phone, while J. Prince stood to his left with a watchful eye.
Of course, the photo of Kanye, Drake, and J. Prince immediately took over social media, and there have already been lots of memes. But at this point, there are more questions than answers. What the hell happened at that dinner? What did they say to each other? Will this truce last? What’s going to happen next? Members of the Complex Music team (Eric Skelton, Andre Gee, and Jessica McKinney) came together to answer some of these questions, and share our first reactions to seeing the photo heard ‘round the internet.
Eric: “Holy shit, J. Prince is powerful.” I think Kanye and Drake probably would have squashed their beef eventually, but it wouldn’t have happened this soon if it weren’t for J. Prince. Neither Kanye or Drake look like they’re having a great time in that photo—they have the same energy as two siblings being forced by their parents to make up after a fight—but J. Prince (who definitely isn’t in the photo by accident) looks very pleased. I’m sure there are all kinds of politics going on behind the scenes that I won’t pretend to understand, but after seeing the video of J. Prince with Kanye last week, it’s pretty clear he’s the one pulling the strings here. Regardless of all the storylines happening beneath the surface, though, I was happy to see the photo.
Jessica: I was kind of shocked that the photo actually happened. Even so, it seemed pretty staged. Instead of looking like they squashed their beef, it looked like a cameraman just asked them to stand by one another for a quick photo-op.
Andre: My first thought was J. Prince’s left index finger pointing back at me. When I saw the video of Kanye apologizing and asking Drake to do the concert I knew this “reunion” was coming. It happened this way to make Drake, “J. Prince’s investment,” look like the bigger man by accepting the apology.
Eric: I think J. Prince is ultimately the reason why they set their differences aside so quickly after the drama this summer, but I also think they know it’s good for business. This beef only brought them more attention during their album rollouts, but it gets in the way of other opportunities now.
Jessica: J. Prince (obviously). The reunion was supposed to be done in an effort to free Larry Hoover, and it seems like J. Prince was the mastermind behind this whole thing, while neither Kanye nor Drake wanted to get on his bad side. After seeing Ye reading from that phone beside J. Prince, it was easy to tell who was calling the shots.
Andre: J. Prince is doing business with both men and doesn’t want to see them go at it—or see Push enter the fray again.
Eric: I don’t know, but I hope someone was filming so it ends up in that Kanye West documentary that’s coming to Netflix next year, because I really want to see footage of the most awkward dinner of all time. If that’s what their faces looked like during the group photo, I can’t imagine their energy when they first sat down together. It probably had the same energy as two exes sitting down together for the first time after a bad breakup.
Jessica: I don’t think they hashed out any of their differences or discussed any of the sneak disses they’ve been sending each other throughout the year. J. Prince probably made a speech about the importance of getting along. I imagine Kanye nodding his head while slurping his soup, only making broad and abstract statements when called upon, while Drake looks at J. Prince and makes quick side eyes at Kanye.
Andre: I have no idea. The hope would be that the two had a genuine conversation and Kanye apologized for allowing Push to expose Drake’s son, which is the genesis of the whole thing. But based on what Big Sean, Soulja Boy and Talib Kweli said about Kanye acting like it was all good with them then dissing them on Drink Champs, who knows if whatever Kanye said will ring true. But most likely, it was an awkward dinner where Prince led the conversation and told both of them that they were too big to be beefing over stuff that ultimately didn’t hurt anyone. He may have also told them a variation of Tony Soprano’s, “You don’t shit where you eat, and you definitely don’t shit where I eat.”
Eric: I think there will always be tension between these guys, and I don’t anticipate Drake posting a BFF photo of Kanye on his next birthday, but I do think things will remain civil for a while. At this point, they know that a beef will cause more problems than it’s worth, and I think they’ll keep the truce (at least until Kanye starts using Twitter again and fires off more 3:00 a.m. tweets).
Jessica: Absolutely not lol. Fake truces never do.
Andre: I doubt it. Based on what’s taken place in public, and what Kanye has admitted himself, it seems like Kanye is always swerving on people. I don’t know how or why it’ll happen, but I expect plenty more “Drake unfollowed/followed/unfollowed Kanye” posts over the years.
Eric: I’ll never doubt J. Prince’s ability to make shit happen, and it seems like he really wants this concert to go down, so I think it will. I can’t really fathom what it’ll look like, but I imagine it’ll be more like a benefit concert than a Verzuz match. They probably won’t be able to resist a few petty jokes, but it’ll be relatively peaceful.
Jessica: A Kanye and Drake concert would be legendary, but I don’t think it will ever happen. Here’s how I imagine it going down: Kanye will get way too particular about how he wants his set design, proposing impossible concepts and asking to change the venue at the last minute. Drake will get annoyed and decide to put on a show on his own, then Kanye will feel slighted and put on a surprise show somewhere and rant for 30 minutes about how Drake is fake and the only reason he met with him was to help Larry Hoover.
Andre: My only prediction is that it will happen because J. Prince wants it to happen. I’m curious to see whether Drake will actually look excited to be onstage. There are a bunch of pictures online of Drake looking exceedingly happy to be around someone he admires (such as Wayne, or different athletes). If this was something he really wanted to do, I feel like he’d have had that energy during the little clip that got posted, but it moreso looked like he was fulfilling an obligation. His energy at the concert will show if that’s true.
Eric: Collaborations. The worst part about rap beefs are the missed collaborations. Before their beef, Kanye and Drake had hinted about the possibility of a joint album, but that obviously went out the window when things got ugly. So the best-case scenario here is for the relationship to be repaired to the point that these guys actually sit down and make music together again.
Jessica: There is no best-case scenario. If they decide to be friends from here on out, cool. If they decide to be frenemies or arch nemesis moving forward, that’s cool, too. This isn’t one of those beefs where you genuinely have to worry about anyone’s safety. No one is pulling up to Calabasas. Sometimes their rivalry is entertaining, and sometimes it even inspires their music. We wouldn’t have had several Drake songs had it not been for this beef. And Kanye’s Donda arguably wouldn’t have been as good if he hadn’t refined it several times out of spite for Drake.
Andre: The best-case scenario from this point is for them to be cordial but not deal with each other heavily. They could (and should) collaborate musically, but it’s hard to believe that they could get as close as they previously appeared to be before their families got involved in whatever ego wars Drake, Push, and Ye were having.