On the same day Drake released “One Dance” — which would go on to become his first US #1 single, spending 10 weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 and eventually surpassing Major Lazer’s “Lean On” as Spotify’s most-streamed song ever — the bigger story was “Pop Style,” the other track he dropped simultaneously. That’s because “Pop Style” featured both Kanye West and Jay Z, marking the first convergence of the three superstar rappers on the same track. But when Drake released Views a few weeks later, Kanye and Jay had been wiped from “Pop Style,” replaced by new verses from Drake with no explanation.
Reviewing the album, our own Tom Breihan saw it as a form of stunting: “If it’s a power move to get both of those guys on a song with you, it’s even more of a power move to disappear them.” That seemed reasonable in context because it followed that Drake would not want to be overshadowed by Kanye’s superior verse. It also made sense that Drake would want to atone for his pathetic “Chaining Tatum” pun, his most painful lyrical misstep since the Finding Nemo reference on 2009’s “Forever,” by adding a superior second verse to the track. Turns out that’s not what happened at all.
The Fader reports that Kanye spoke about “Pop Style” during his Saint Pablo Tour stop in Seattle. He told the crowd that he and Jay were wiped from “Pop Style” due to “Apple/Tidal bullshit,” adding that the same bullshit is the reason there will never be a Watch The Throne 2.
There will never be a Watch The Throne 2. You know why? Because that’s the reason why I wasn’t on the song. I wasn’t on this song ’cause of Hov. Cause of this Apple/Tidal bullshit. And this shit be getting me tight every time I perform this motherfucker. Y’all didn’t get, what y’all were supposed to get with me and Drake on this song because of some Tidal/Apple bullshit. This shit got me tight, yo! Every time I perform this song I think about this shit. I think about the politics and the bullshit. I think about how hard I go for music, for art, for y’all, for the fans — how hard we go.
Kanye added that Jay’s two lines were originally added as a surprise for Drake, but Jay reneged out of respect for Meek Mill, with whom Drake famously feuded last year. And when Kanye offered to help mediate between Meek, Drake, and Jay, the conversation shifted over to Apple/Tidal business:
I start freestyling to it. Jay thought of a couple lines. I said, “Man, just go ahead, throw that on there. He’ll be so surprised. He probably wasn’t expecting you to be on there.” And we sent it back to him, and he’s like, “Oh shit! The Throne is on this shit!” Then Jay thought about it. Out of respect for Meek Mill, he didn’t want to be on the track. And I said, “Look, I’ll call Drake. I’ll call Meek. I’ll call y’all. We’ve gotta squash some shit. We gotta let people have this song.” But then it went out of that territory. It went into some political — some shit about percentages on songs. I can’t take this shit, bro!
Talking about Jay, Kanye also lamented that their kids have never even played together and that Jay should have visited him in person “like brothers” rather than call him on the phone after Kim Kardashian’s robbery.
Hear Kanye deliver the explanations below.
— ike®? (@IkerLopez27) October 20, 2016
In other words, “I be blacking out/ I ain’t backing out/ Jay about his business/ And I’ma let you finish, but…”