Akon explains that he passed on signing Drake because Drizzy sound too much like Eminem.
Although Akon made major moves signing T-Pain and Lady Gaga back in the 2000s, it seems he did take one wicked L, snubbing the then-unknown Drake back in 2004. The unsigned rapper was introduced to Akon by fellow Canadian artist and producer Kardinal Offishall, who tried to get the rap veteran to sign him, already foreseeing his colossal success.
“Kardinal Offishall brought [Drake] to me in 2005, I think it was or was it ‘04,” said Akon during a snippet of his recent interview on VladTV. “It was right before “Best I Ever Had” blew up because, at the time, it was more mixtape-ish, you know. And the time, believe it or not, Drake sounded more like Eminem. With that demo that I heard, he sounded more like Em. That’s every artists’ developing. You can see the difference between that demo and ‘Best I Ever Had, it was completely different”, Akon said.
As his style developed, Drake became involved in a “huge bidding war,” Akon said, where “everybody was after him,” trying to negotiate a deal with the nascent star. “That’s when Kardi was like ‘n***a, I told you this n***a was going to be the s***,'” he continued. “I said, ‘well, reach out.’ He said, ‘you can but the lowest bid right now is a million. I said s***, I ain’t got a million dollars.”
Akon wasn’t the only one who lucked out at the time, as the two cited SCR and Motown Records who also ultimately missed that lucrative shot. Despite the fumble, however, Akon did go on to put some respect on Drake’s name, lauding his incredible success and work ethic. “Out of all the artists today, to me, [Drake] is worth every single f*****g penny,” Akon said. “Every single penny. That motherf***er’s a genius, bro. It’s revolutionary what he’s done. He’s not sticking to that one pocket and that’s the only way to do it. He get it. He’s a music guy. I think that’s a lot of what we have in common and why he’s such an amazing businessman too.”
Check out the interview below.