I recently did an article about the best Drake songs. It was pretty cool. But it gave me the idea to look at another, perhaps even more important part of Drake’s career: his features. Whether a guest verse or a chorus, Drake always brings his unmistakable style to songs he’s featured on. At his best, he adapts to the style of whatever performer he’s working with and uses it to his advantage. Note that the songs on this list are here not because of the song’s overall quality, but the integrity of Drake’s part alone. That being said, here’s my top ten features by Drake.
10. 100 – The Game feat. Drake
Often, when Drake goes into this sort of sleepy style it leads to some of his worse songs, but there’s something mesmerizing about his combination of chill and energy on this track. Over a soulful Johnny Juliano beat, Drake preaches the virtues of honesty, as well as addressing those asking him to do more conscious raps. It does a good job of covering what’s on Drake’s mind at this point in his career. And it’s not even his song.
9. KNOW BOUT ME – Timbaland feat. Drake, Jay-Z, and James Fauntleroy
On this song, Drake goes rapid-fire and imitates Jay-Z’s stutter flow from “Party People”. It’s one of the better brag raps in Drake’s career, and the man does a lot of brag raps.
8. STUNTIN’ – Lil Wayne feat. Drake
This track off Wayne’s Dedication 3 mixtape is one of the first Wayne/Drake collabs ever, and coincidentally one of the best. Drake’s delivering wordplay the likes of which we haven’t seen from him since. While it doesn’t exactly stay on topic, it keeps a great flow and rhyme scheme that make it one of Drake’s better verses, guest or otherwise.
7. CABARET – Justin Timberlake feat. Drake
This song had a rhyme-oriented flow that we hadn’t seen from Drake in a number of years. It’s a cool mix of Drake’s two favorite topics: how great he is and how great his girl is. And at 30 bars, there’s plenty of room to branch out lyrically, which Drake certainly does, referencing everything from Superman to Eddie Murphy to Lil Boosie. A good example of how funny this verse is is the line “Keep this whole stripper thing secret in a pole vault.” There’s a lot of that.
6. ALL OF THE LIGHTS (REMIX) – Lil Wayne, Big Sean, and Drake
All three artists on this remix did a great job, but it’s generally agreed that Drake had the best verse. It’s one of the most energetic verses Drake has ever done, and the best verse anyone’s ever put over this beat (sorry, Gambino). Drake’s at his best when he’s pissed, and he’s definitely angry at someone on this song, though it’s not quite clear who.
5. POP THAT – French Montana feat. Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne
This song’s really all over the place. The beat is great, but French kind of sucks, and Wayne’s verse is one of the worst he’s ever put out. But on the other hand, Ross’ verse is surprisingly decent. And then there’s Drake. I don’t know if Drake got the memo about what kind of song this was, but he definitely overprepared. This verse could have been on an album. It could have been a freestyle. It could have been a feature on a good song. But for whatever reason, he decided to save up one of his best verses for “Pop That” by French Montana. A baffling choice, but at least we got the verse.
4. POETIC JUSTICE – Kendrick Lamar feat. Drake
This song is here to remind us of a simpler time when Kendrick and Drake weren’t taking subliminals at each other every other week. The song follows Kendrick’s relationship with Sherane, a recurring topic on Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City. If you didn’t have faith in Drake’s skills as an MC before, he goes up against Kendrick on this track to cement his status. Over an amazing Sounwave beat, Drake shows he can be a surprisingly good storyteller if he needs to. In the same way that “100” is Drake proving that he doesn’t need to do deep raps, this track is him proving that he could.
3. FOREVER – Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Eminem
This song really proved Drake’s place among the greats in hip-hop. Way back in 2009, before he ran the whole game, he was just a young upstart who’d only recently signed to Lil Wayne. On this track, he pulled his weight against three rap heavyweights. His chorus remains one of his most memorable to this very day and his fiery punchlines stand out on an already loaded track. While it’s not the best verse on the song, it’s highly impressive nonetheless.
2. ASTON MARTIN MUSIC – Rick Ross feat. Chrisette Michele and Drake
OK, before I get into this, I just want to point out that the censored video censors “Gaye” as in “Marvin Gaye”. Now that’s funny. Anyway, this is a fantastic verse. Its rhyme scheme is impeccable and its lyrics are introspective and deep. Drake has always been really good at humblebragging. He talks about missing where he grew up and the trappings of fame, while making sure you know just how famous and talented he is. “I got wedding ring flows, that engaging shit”. Et cetera. It does fit the tone of the rest of the song, to be fair.
1. MINE – Beyonce feat. Drake
As I said earlier, Drake sometimes has a cool ability to use the style of other artists to his advantage. On this track, Bey and Drake put their distinct styles together to create a musical masterpiece that was a standout from Beyonce’s 2014 self-titled album. Not much to say about it. It’s just a fascinating, immensely well-put-together, catchy, beautiful song.
I have a lot of articles on the way soon. Be patient. And in the meantime, like this post if you like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow the blog if you like it like it, you can also follow me on Twitter, and I’ll see you next time.