On September 7, 2008, Lil Wayne stepped onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards and then stepped decisively away from the words on the lyric sheet circulating in the audience with the following lines…
I’m on my Disney thang, goofy flow/ I’m Captain Hook on the beat and my new car is Rufio/ Damn where my roof just go/ I’m somebody that you should know/ Get to shakin’ somethin’ cause that’s what [deleted] produced it fo’/ I make mistakes that I don’t ever make excuses fo’/ Leavin’ girls that love me and constantly seducing hoes/ I’m losing my mind like, Damn where my roof just go/ Top slipped off like Janet at the Super Bowl
Then, as Leona Lewis launched into the hook of Nina Simone’s “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” he croaked, “Drizzy Drake: I love you, bwoy!” That namecheck was the only clue to most attendees that Wayne had just blatantly violated the unwritten rules of his own freestyle game by spitting another artist’s words. Though almost lost in host Russell Brand’s commentary on promise rings and presidential politics, it was a coronation moment rarely seen in the arena of rap, and with one verse, Wayne introduced the name of his protégé to the mainstream in dramatic fashion. Amongst those already familiar with the various Wayne-affiliated rookies collectively known as Young Money, the lines sparked a fierce debate over whether Drake was in fact ghostwriting for the master (he and Wayne both still claim he never has), but by the time the rap blog drama blew over, one thing seemed clear: Drake was the next big thing, heir apparent to Wayne’s multi-platinum throne and Young Money’s most likely flagship artist.