By Gio Gilmore
The year is 2009: you’re in the back of your parents car listening to the radio and hear a new song. It is “Forever” by Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem. It’s been about 10 years since that song has been released as a single. Since the 10th anniversary of the song is approaching later this year, let’s take a look back at the star-studded track.
The song was originally part of the soundtrack for the 2008 Lebron James documentary “More Than a Game,” for which the soundtrack wouldn’t be released until late 2009. The song also was re-released on Eminem’s Relapse: Refill, but was already making it big in the music charts and radio by then. The song features verses from Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem respectively, while Drake gives the chorus. The music video for the song features the four artists and a guest appearance from Lebron James in the beginning. In the video, each rapper spits their verse as flashbacks of Lebron James pop up throughout.
Each rapper was at a different point of their career, but the song was– and still is–a highlight to this day for each of their careers. At the time, Drake just recently released his debut commercial mixtape So Far Gone and was doing several collabs with Young Money artists. Even with the many major hits he had before “Forever” came out, this song became one of his breakthrough records that got him his first highest debut on Billboard Hot 100 and really helped him become a rapper on the come up. Today, Drake has dozens of highest debut singles and is one of the worlds largest artists, but “Forever” will forever be one his leading steps to being the household name that he now is.
At the time, Kanye West was recently coming off of his fourth album 808’s & Heartbreak with big radio hits like “Run this Town” and “Knock You Down.” He was also having a big year with the controversial Taylor Swift MTV awards incident. In his verse, he goes in on how he is one of the best artists with all of his accomplishments but he is also tired of being in the limelight all the time. In the video for the song, Ye is backed up by fire right behind him, proving he isn’t scared to show why he is the best. At the time, when he was facing a lot negative press from his MTV incident, the single really helped him get lifted back into the good graces of the public, as the song was a fan favorite of rap listeners.
Lil Wayne had a quiet year as far as his own music due to recently dropping his album Tha Carter III, but as a feature, he was having vital year of epic hits. The year was one of Lil Wayne’s biggest years commercially since he wasn’t going through label troubles as he had been in the last couple of years. In Wayne’s verse, he mentions that he will never stop being one of the hottest in the game with lines like, “I’m like Nevada in the middle of the summer”.
Eminem was at a similar point in his career as Wayne and Kanye, already being a household name and having proved that he was a great rapper. The year that “Forever” came out, Eminem was reaching a peak of his career since it was his comeback year after not releasing much of his own music. With such a major hit like “Forever,” on top of releasing his first album since 2004, Eminem was back in the spotlight. Even though each rapper in the song gave a great verse, Eminem’s verse was the fastest with his lightning-fast flow.
The song is coming up on being 10 years old. Even though each artist has grown in their career with this collaboration, the song has definitely stayed as one of the greatest rap collaborations of the 2000s.