Warner Music Group Chairman Lyor Cohen has broken his silence about trying to sign Drake last year and ultimately losing out to Universal Motown.
Cohen says he does not hold any grudges toward the rapper.
“[It was] a very disappointing thing. But I’m a lover of rap music. I want good things to happen to this industry. I have so much good fortune and already have everything. I feel like we have a terrific company, and we’re very old-school in that once we grip someone’s hand, fundamentally we believe that’s a deal. But that’s not this generation. They’ll grip someone’s hand and say they’re coming, but if someone offers them more they will renege. That’s not how we get down.” (Complex)
Cohen’s Warner Music Group was one of three speculated labels trying to sign Drake last summer.
Sources say three majors are in possibly “one of the biggest bidding wars ever” in hopes of signing Drake, including Universal Motown and Atlantic Records. The presence of Warner Music Group’s CEO Lyor Cohen and COO Julie Greenwald at Drake’s recent New York show further intensified the speculation that WMG was making a serious play. (Billboard)
Drake signed his deal in June 2009.
“I actually signed directly to my managers Cortez Bryant and Gee Roberson,” Drake explained in an interview last month. “And we signed a joint venture with Young Money which is Lil Wayne‘s company. The courting was nice, I had some great dinners in hotels, I got some nice things [during the bidding war.] I think the best part about it is that we’ve done this thing in the industry where it’s been so organic to do it with the people that I’m doing it with. It’s kinda like we’re doing it by ourselves. It’s distributed through Universal.” (Alexa Chung)
The rapper recently said he was unfazed by record sales expectations on his upcoming debut, Thank Me Later.
Drake made this album for music lovers, not for the Billboard charts. “I didn’t make this album for commercial purposes. A lot of the verses are extremely long. I just made it to share with people. I hope they can enjoy.” (Rap-Up)
Drake’s Thank Me Later is scheduled to drop Tuesday, June 15th.
Check out T.I. speaking on Drake’s first-week numbers down below: