“I’m just gonna bring it up ‘cause it’s important to me,” he says. “I was at a charity kickball game—which we won, by the way—and my brother called me. He was just like, ‘I don’t know if you’re aware, but, yo, they’re trying to end us out here. They’re just spreading, like, propaganda. Where are you? You need to come here.’ So we all circled up at the studio, and sat there as Flex went on the air, and these guys flip-flopped [about how] they were gonna do this, that, and the third.” He recorded “Charged Up” that very night and released it the next day on the same episode of OVO Radio that saw the debut of “Hotline Bling.” “Given the circumstances, it felt right to just remind people what it is that I do,” Drake says, a proud smile creeping into his face, “in case your opinions were wavering at any point.” When a reply to “Charged Up” didn’t come, Drake could hardly believe it. “This is a discussion about music, and no one’s putting forth any music?” he says, speaking with a furrowed brow, as if reliving his incredulity. “You guys are gonna leave this for me to do? This is how you want to play it? You guys didn’t think this through at all—nobody? You guys have high-ranking members watching over you. Nobody told you that this was a bad idea, to engage in this and not have something? You’re gonna engage in a conversation about writing music, and delivering music, with me? And not have anything to put forth on the table?” As the days ticked by and a rebuttal from Meek Mill continued to not materialize, Drake became almost offended at the lack of hustle the other team was putting in. “It was weighing heavy on me,” he says. “I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how there was no strategy on the opposite end. I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand it because that’s just not how we operate.” It was then that he decided to just go ahead and do another song. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna probably just finish this.’ And I know how I have to finish it. This has to literally become the song that people want to hear every single night, and it’s gonna be tough to exist during this summer when everybody wants to hear [this] song that isn’t necessarily in your favor.” That song became “Back to Back,” and in keeping with Drake’s plan, it became an instant radio hit. In the end, Drake never felt compelled to prove his chops in some grand or gimmicky way—by going on a radio show and freestyling, for instance, or putting pictures of his handwritten lyrics on Instagram. Instead he just acted like the leaked recordings didn’t matter. And a few days later, with a performance at OVO Fest—the star-studded concert he puts on every year in Toronto that opened, this time around, with a full-on sendup of his challenger—the whole thing was decisively over, with public opinion overwhelmingly on Drake’s side.
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