Drake, Previously in Talks With Tidal, Endorses Apple Music at WWDC

Drake (2015)

Drake had previously teased his Valentine's Day weekend release for fans, who were simply expecting a free mixtape before his fourth official full-length album, Views From the 6, due out later in the year. However, he instead dropped a surprise 17-song album, titled If You're Reading This, It's Too Late.

"The dream of being an artist like myself and connecting directly with an audience has never been more close and reachable than right now," the rapper said at the conference, which unveiled Apple's new music streaming service.

It's official: Drake, who was on board to join Jay Z's Tidal until two days before the service's March 30 launch, loves Apple Music.

The 28-year-old Toronto rapper's presence was everywhere at Apple's 2015 WWDC. He appeared himself to plug the new service. Fellow Toronto native The Weeknd (who famously shot to fame in 2011 after Drake's co-sign put his mixtape House of Balloons on the map) closed the announcement by performing his new single "I Can't Feel My Face."

Drizzy was on board to talk Apple Connect, a sort of revamped take on iTunes' social-media platform Ping (shuttered in 2012), which allows artists to centralize their posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other services, posting them all in one place. Introduced by Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vp internet software and services, Drake joked that he purchased his latest threads ("a vintage Apple employee's jacket") by using "a tool known in the rap world as 'The Internet.' "

Adopting a more serious tone, Drake spoke about how technology like Apple's helped him rise to worldwide recognition from relative Canadian obscurity in just five years' time. "As a kid growing up, I always wondered if my city or even my country would have somebody break into the global scene as a true superstar," Drake said. "The dream of being an artist like myself and connecting directly with an audience has never been more close and reachable than right now."

He then encouraged other emerging artists to use Apple Connect as they develop their next body of work. Drake plans to use the platform as he puts the finishing touches on his anticipated next proper album Views From The 6. "I'm really excited about what I'm working on," Drake said.

Tim Cook later played a few seconds of a song from unsigned, unknown artist Loren Kramer, further underscoring Apple's rising-tide-lifts-all-boats message that many critics felt never came from Tidal's superstar launch on March 30, which featured 16 A-list artists. 

(Vania Schlogel, Tidal's chief investment officer, said of the backlash at MIDEM this weekend: "It was unfairly said about us that we didn’t care about indie artists. For a lot of our artists, that commentary hurt, and shortly after launch we came out with Tidal Rising which is all about those kinds of artists.")

Drake is expected to contribute guest-curated playlists for Apple Music's streaming radio service after it launches on June 30, though reports have falsely suggested he'll receive as much as $19 million to be an artist ambassador. The rapper concluded his WWDC remarks by saying, "As an artist I can say for all those kids at home it is truly amazing to be part of something I can believe in. This is something that simplifies everything for the modern musician like myself, and the modern music consumer like you. I hope you enjoy Apple Music and Connect. My name is Drake, and thank you for your time."


Squad goals #AppleMusic

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on


That boy E Cue.

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.