Kanye West references UAE capital in leaked song: ‘Thought we was the new Abu Dhabi’

The track features an aggressive verse aimed at rival rapper Drake

The animosity between rappers Drake and Kanye West resulted in bumper streaming numbers for both artists. EPA; AFP
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Abu Dhabi is mentioned in an unreleased track from Kanye West's new album, Donda.

Titled Life of the Party, the UAE capital features in an aggressive verse by West, aimed at Canadian rapper Drake.

The latter leaked the song on the Sound 42 show on satellite radio network SiriusXM on Friday.

The regional reference comes on top of West giving a shout out to Beirut on the Donda track Heaven and Hell.

While it remains unclear how Drake obtained Life of the Party, its subsequent leak is the latest salvo in an ongoing feud between both artists.

Since 2018, both rappers and associated acts have traded lyrical barbs.

Although recorded as part an album meant to honour West's mother Donda West, whom the album is named after, Life of the Party has the hip-hop star airing out grievances about Drake.

Here, we break down the two pertinent couplets.

'Thought we was the new Abu Dhabi / Told Drake don't play with me'

While the mention of the UAE capital may seem random, it actually refers to West lamenting a now-nixed collaborative album with Drake.

Back in 2016, when the two were on good terms, a mysterious billboard was spotted in Los Angeles with the words: “Calabasas is the new Abu Dhabi.”

The bottom of the sign featured the logos of both West and Drake’s record labels GOOD Music and OVO Sound.

Located in Los Angeles, Calabasas is also the suburb home to the reportedly $60 million mansion that West shared with now estranged wife Kim Kardashian.

'So if I hit you with a ‘W-Y-D’ / You better hit me with, 'yes sir, I'm writing everything you need''

A lot of the bad blood between Drake and West stems from the Hotline Bling singer airing his unpleasant experience on working on West’s 2018 album Ye.

Drake reportedly expressed disappointment that only one song, Yikes, made the cut.

In Life of the Party, West dismisses those complaints and bullishly states he is the final arbiter of what makes it on the album and Drake should have appreciated the collaborative experience.

W-Y-D is short for for "what you doing?".

Only Andre 3000 got the memo

Another interesting aspect of Life of the Party is the rare verse offered by Andre 3000 from celebrated hip-hop duo OutKast.

Since the band released their last album, 2006’s Idlewild, he's maintained a low profile and recorded only a handful of guest verses for select artists.

Ironically, he was the only one fulfilling the song's brief in celebrating the life of West's mother.

According to Variety, Andre 3000 released a statement expressing disappointment at the song’s leak.

“We were hoping to make a more focused offering for the Donda album but I guess things happen like they are supposed to,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that it was released in this way and two artists that I love are going back and forth.”

While Life of the Party didn't make it on Donda, two of the album's 27 songs that did feature indirect references to Drake.

In Junya, West rubbishes the notion that Drake could go toe to toe with him commercially if he released the new album Certified Lover Boy on the same day as Donda, which was on August 29.

“Move out of the way of my release,” West snarls. “Why can’t losers never lose in peace?"

West picks up that competitive thread again in Ok Ok, stating: "You wanna come in and play with the Goat? Bow."

Good for business

Despite all that sniping, this hip-hop soap opera has done wonders for both artists.

Only hours after its release, Certified Lover Boy became the most-streamed album on Spotify and Apple Music in a single day.

Donda also went on to achieve a similar feat on Apple Music (until Drake surpassed him) and claimed the top spot on the platform’s album charts in 130 countries.

Updated: September 05, 2021, 9:37 AM