Drake Praises Lil Wayne During Tribute Speech at Recording Academy's Black Music Collective Event

Lil Wayne, who is widely credited for discovering the Toronto rapper, was presented with the Recording Academy's Dr. Dre Global Impact Award.

Rapper Lil Wayne and Drake perform during Lil Weezyana Festival

Image via Getty/Erika Goldring

Rapper Lil Wayne and Drake perform during Lil Weezyana Festival

Drake credited Lil Wayne for his role in shaping modern hip-hop.

The OVO rapper made the comments during the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective event as part of Grammys weekend. Drake appeared via video to present his mentor with the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. And, in typical Drizzy fashion, the speech was equal parts comedic and emotional.

“I’m here tonight on behalf of the Black Music Collective,” Drake began, before winking at the camera. “To present the Global Impact Award to Ed Sheeran ...”

Drake pauses for a few moments as someone stepped into the frame and whispered a correction in his ear.

“Lil Wayne? Oh, makes more sense,” he continued, drawing some laughs among the crowd. “That’s a lot better, by the way. I love you so much. I don’t wanna make this personal because the Global Impact Award would be about how you affected everybody, not just me. I know I probably get annoying with saying how much you mean to me and my family, but I think I speak on behalf of everybody when I say that our careers, our cadences, our melodies, maybe our face tats or our outfits or our decisions in general would not have been the same without your natural gift to be yourself.”

Wayne, who signed Drake to Young Money in 2009, then took the stage to receive the award.

“I want you all to know that I don’t get honored,” the rapper said, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter. “Where I’m from, New Orleans, you’re not supposed to do this … I walked into my mama’s room when I was 14. She asked me for a kid because my dad was killed. And her son had just blown up and went on his first tour. When I came home she said, ‘Son, I can’t live in this house by myself. We’re going to have to figure something out.’”

He continued by recognizing the mother of his first-born child: “I’d like to thank Antonia Johnson for reasoning with me and my mom, and my life. I’d like to thank every single one of my kids and every single one of their mothers … Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know who you all are tonight. Again, we don’t get honored. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I ain’t shit without you.”

Missy Elliott, Dr. Dre, and Epic Records CEO Sylvia Rhone were also honored during the Thursday night ceremony, which was at the Hollywood Palladium. The event also included live performances by Chloe Bailey, and Ciara. 

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