Drake teams up with SMACK/URL to put out rap battles on new streaming company, Caffeine

The rapper/ entrepreneur steps into the streaming business with a bold new sub-culture of Hip-Hop

INDIO, CA – APRIL 12: Rapper Drake performs onstage during day 3 of the 2015 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Drake is quite the rap fan, but if you think that is all he is, you would be mistaken.

The Toronto emcee first let us know he was interested in the art form as a cast member on the Nickelodeon show, Degrassi. Then after his child-star stint was over, he took his passion to a whole other level by putting out mixtapes and signing with Lil Wayne‘s Young Money label through Cash Money Records. Now, “Lil’ Jimmy” from the kids’ show is a mega-star, producer and business entrepreneur.

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According to Greenentrepreneur.com, Drake (Aubrey Drake Graham) is one of the most successful entertainers ever.  In 2019, Graham skated past everyone by becoming Spotify’s highest-certified digital artist in U.S. history and the platform’s most-played artist on the platform. His stats are impressive. To name a few, he has been nominated for 42 GRAMMYs, winning four awards, is the owner of the OVO/ Warner label, owns a clothing and lifestyle brand, and has endorsements with top companies such as Burger King, Apple, and Sprite. He also has a cannabis business called More Life Growth. Graham also has been in the news a lot for his post as a global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors.

If that doesn’t blow you away, Mr. Hotline Bling can stunt on all the competition by touting the extensive resume he has built over the last 10 years. According to Billboard, since 2009 he has released six #1 singles and popped out on the platform’s Hot 100 chart 200 times.

According to Forbes, the rapper’s estimated net worth $150 million.

And now, as a mogul, he is working with the Ultimate Rap League (URL) to expand his influence into the commercial battle rap arena. Together, one of the top emcees of the world along with the premier entity in the battle emcee culture will stream battles on Caffeine, bringing this underground movement to a wider audience.

Why URL?

Founded by Troy “SMACK” White, Eric Beasley and Cheeko, URL is the #1 English speaking battle rap league in the world with over 1 million subscribers on their YouTube platforms and the most celebrated roster in this space: Nick Cannon‘s Wild ‘N Out star players, Conceited, Hitman Holla and Charlie Clips, call the platform home. Recording artists such as Arsonal da Rebel (who works with Fugee’s lead Wyclef Jean) and Tsu Surf (who works with West Coast emcee Mozzy) are associated with URL. They have even collaborated with the female rap league, Queen of The Ring to bring co-ed battles to the culture.

Over the last few years, mainstream battlers have graced their stage like podcast king and former Def Jam artist, Joe Budden (against Hollow da Don) and Cassidy (against Goodz and Arsonal). Both of these mainstream artists experienced embarrassing losses to these sub-culture lyricists.

CNN further reports, that Caffeine founder Ben Keighran, a former Apple designer, thinks it is going to be a challenge to shift battle rap from underground to the mainstream, but Drake is up for the job.

“Drake, if you look at his career in the last 10 years, is defined as the biggest artist in the world. This is a guy that can catch the attention of not just the entertainment world, but the gaming world as well.”

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URL currently allows their fans to watch the unjudged competitions on a variety of platforms: YouTube, Pay-Per-View and their recently launched app. All of them, with the exception of YouTube, require a fee. Keighran informs the community that this partnership will be a win-win for fans: exciting entertainment that will be free for all.

Both Drake and the Ultimate Rap League celebrated their 10 year anniversary in their respective industries. What a way to kick off the next 10.

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