50 Cent and Drake are not two names you would associate with one another, let alone put in the same sentence. Although there may be some minor similarities here and there, it is not unfair to say that there are some glaringly obvious differences between the two artists.
Not only were the rappers born and raised in different places, but their styles are vastly different in many ways. After signing with Shady Records, 50 Cent first burst into the mainstream; he was renowned for his violent, gangster-orientated image and music. Furthermore, he had been shot and was raised in a crime-ridden area.
If you look at Drake, one wouldn’t have to look far to gather that he was brought up in a part of Toronto with an extraordinarily low crime rate. Furthermore, when he emerged in the early 2010s, he was no gangster. He presented himself as somewhat of a ladies’ man and what some may call the stereotypical “loverboy”.
However, irrespective of all the above, Drake (real name Aubrey Graham) has admitted on several occasions that he was a massive fan of 50 Cent growing up in Canada. Moreover, Graham has even said that the Queens rapper (real name Curtis Jackson) inspired the way he made music and his overall style.
Drake is known for his singing style of rapping and his seamless combination of hip-hop and R’n’B. Although it is hard to identify exactly who started the singing alongside rapping trend, Graham most definitely made it popular with the new generation.
Graham himself has admitted that he undoubtedly was not the first rapper to sing and happily acknowledges that. In an in-depth interview with the renowned Rap Radar podcast, Drake cited several rappers who inspired him concerning singing, including the likes of 2, T-Pain, and Lil Wayne. However, Graham seemed to place particular importance on Jackson, specifically his song ’21 Questions.’ Elaborating on what it was about the 2003 track, the Young Money musician explained how 50 Cent was an “example of a guy who’s not supposed to be singing, singing.”
Although ’21 Questions’ was an exceptionally atypical 50 Cent song, one can see how Jackson’s melodic approach to the track could have provided a blueprint for Drake. The album cut undeniably proved you didn’t have to include an intimidating, thuggish bravado to have a hit rap song. Therefore, it is not far-fetched to imagine this song impacting someone who wants to rap but is not a thug.
It’s odd to learn that ’21 Questions’ inspired Drake because the executive producer of Jackson’s debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, Dr Dre, didn’t believe the song would go very far. In an interview with the online hip-hop music magazine Rap-Up, Dre (real name Andre Young) revealed that he hated the track. Still, Jackson wanted at least one romantic song under his belt.
Many hip-hop heads have insisted that 50 Cent only started singing to mock and spite Ja Rule as that was something that he did. However, the approach was clearly important to Graham, irrespective of why Jackson did it. The two have publicly praised each other’s work, and although Jackson has transitioned into filmmaking, perhaps collaboration is in the cards. You can watch Drake’s two-hour Rap Radar interview in the video below.