Drizzy Rascal: A brief history of Drake’s obsession with Grime & UK culture

Drake shouting out UK artists isn't a new thing, we look back at some of Drizzy's London road man moments...

Grant Brydon

2 years ago

By Grant Brydon

Drake-Main

In the past few weeks we’ve seen Drake amping up his love of UK culture, borrowing Skepta lyrics for ‘Used To’, shouting him out in the credits of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and today posting shots of Lord Of The Mics clashes, SB.TV videos and Wiley on his Instagram. But Drake‘s love of UK culture is not a new thing.

Back in 2009 DJ Semtex took a walk through Hyde Park with Drake, where he talked about his love of the UK and working with Chase & Status (which likely resulted in Rita Ora’s ‘R.I.P’).

The first notable influence of it in his music, was on Take Care‘s ‘Cameras’ where he loosely references Sneakbo‘s ‘How You Mean’ on the hook, slowing things down as he sings: “How you mean, how you mean, thought you knew about the team.”

In December 2011 Drake Tweeted a reference to Sneakbo:

Sneakbo then joined Drake on his UK tour and revealed in an interview with ThisIsMax that he’d come across the South Londoner whilst watching a Youtube documentary on London Gang culture. He’d loved the Dancehall influence of Sneaky‘s beat choices and the pockets that he was finding to rap in, he “became very intrigued by this character called Sneakbo.” He also mentioned Ard Adz and Johnny Gunz as other UK rappers that piqued his interest.

Drake is also a big football fan, which draws him towards UK culture and music. Whilst on tour early 2011 the avid FIFA player got to hang out with Rio Ferdinand and went training with a number of teams including Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. Not one to pick sides, the following (and dare we say classic) meme was created.

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SoulCulture were on hand to document his meeting with Rio Ferdinand and to interview the pair about the parallels of their respective careers. “The UK has probably been my best performance,” he revealed.

When Drake came over in March 2012, he shouted out Wiley at his London show, following some prayers with the Godfather Of Grime backstage:

On Wiley’s 2013 album The Ascent, the intro features an audio clip from a DJ Semtex interview, where the 1Xtra DJ asks Drake which MCs he’s feeling and he replies ‘Wiley’.

Things calmed down for a while, until last year he unexpectedly posted a couple of references to Channel 4’s Top Boy via Instagram, revealing himself to be a fan of the show about Hackney street culture starring Ashley Walters. Drake still had his eyes and ears on London.

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When Lil Wayne dropped his latest mixtape Sorry 4 The Wait 2, fans were surprised to hear Drake referencing Skepta‘s ‘That’s Not Me’ in his verse on ‘Used To’. “Shout out to the G’s from the ends, We don’t love no girls from the ends” raps Drake, in homage to the BBK co-founder’s: “Love for the G’s in the ends, But we don’t love no girls in the ends.”

When the track appeared again on Drake‘s newly released If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drizzy paid dues, giving a nod to Skepta in the album credits which he posted on Instagram. He’s not just jacking bars unintentionally or subconsciously, this was a deliberate nod.

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Which brings us around to his latest Youtube binge. Despite rapping: “Fuck going’ online that ain’t part of my day” on ‘Energy’. Drizzy seems to have spent his morning clicking his way through Lord Of The Mics and SB.TV videos. Posting a screen-cap of Skepta & Devilman‘s LOTM clash, Drake talks about how it inspires him, captioning the image: “Watching Skepta vs Devilman is a true reminder that whenever you think you’re good at what you do there’s most likely 2 people out there that will yam your food.” He followed up with an old SB.TV video of Skepta and Frisco which he brands “Another classic”, before posting a shot of Wiley and Skepta with the caption: “Man like Wiley been checked for me from time. Truly one of the best to ever do it.”

It’s great to see artists as big as Drake finally paying attention to the talent that the UK has to offer, hopefully his love affair with our countries culture continues and helps to bring more attention to the scene. Where’s it going to go next? A collab with Skepta? Some acknowledgement for Stormzy and Novelist? We’ll all just have to wait and see.

Which UK artists would you like to see working with Drake? Tweet us and let us know!