Featured artists come in many forms. There are the obvious gets, like Drake collaborating with The Weeknd when they share a producer, a malaise and endless mutual fawning. There are the shrugs, like the sprinkling of up-and-comers or would-be comebacks who latch onto more prominent albums, also known as half DJ Khaled’s collaborators. Then there are the big ones. It’s not exactly surprising that Jay-Z or Kanye West can get an Otis Redding or Curtis Mayfield credit, or that Skylar Grey can live out some 15-year-old Xanga fantasy and duet with Marilyn Manson about zombies (genre-hopping, but same idea.) It’s established and expected that people’ll collaborate above their means. The mildly surprising part’s the exact names, little gleeful bursts of newsworthiness or what could have been. All this is a roundabout way of saying: Drake and Stevie Wonder?!
Yes, Drake is in such a position now in the music industry that he can tell MuchMusic that Wonder is a “very close friend,” just a phone call away from doing “like six” tracks on Take Care. “Doing,” in this case, seems to involve tweaking the sound a bit and writing together. It raises obvious questions–is Wonder responsible for the emo? How is Stevie an easier get than Florence Welch? And is focusing on individual collaborators anything like focusing on singles, which makes sad Drake even sadder?