How Every BBMA Top Artist Nominee Is Connected, From Drake to Bruno Mars

From left: Bruno Mars, Drake, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar & Ed Sheeran
Getty Images; Design by Jessica Xie

From left: Bruno Mars, Drake, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar & Ed Sheeran

It's hard to be a megastar in 2018 pop music without repeatedly encountering with the few other artists who share your rarefied air. Below, see how the five nominees for the BBMAs’ highest honor at the 2018 ceremonies -- Bruno Mars, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift -- have crossed paths over the years.

  • Bruno Mars and Drake are born with one parent each of Jewish descent, October 1985 and October 1986, respectively.
  • Kendrick Lamar appears on Drake’s “Buried Alive” interlude from Take Care, November 2011.
  • Drake appears on Lamar’s “Poetic Justice” from good kid, m.A.A.d city, October 2012.
  • Ed Sheeran duets with Taylor Swift on her “Everything Has Changed” from Red, October 2012, then opens on her Red Tour, March 2013-June 2014.
  • Sheeran joins Mars onstage in St. Louis to perform his “The A Team,” August 2013.
  • Lamar lists Drake as one of the rappers he’s “trying to murder” in his guest verse on Big Sean’s “Control” remix, August 2013.
  • Swift lip-syncs Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” in an Instagram post, while Lamar sings Swift’s “Shake It Off”during an interview, November 2014.
  • Lamar appears on Swift’s Billboard Hot 100-topping “Bad Blood” remix, May 2015.
  • Mars pretend-beefs with Sheeran on Twitter before the MTV Video Music Awards, July 2015.
  • Swift’s “Bad Blood” beats Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” for video of the year at the VMAs, August 2015.
  • Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” beats Lamar’s “Alright” for song of the year, Swift’s 1989 beats Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly for album of the year, and Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly beats Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late for best rap album at the Grammy Awards, February 2016.
  • Swift and Drake work out and sing along to each other’s songs in Apple ads, April and November 2016, respectively. 
  • Swift is called out by Kanye West at a Drake show, July 2016.
  • Drake reportedly introduces Swift to his mom at his 30th birthday party, October 2016.
  • Sheeran sings Drake’s “One Dance” and Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Uptown Funk!” live during interviews, January and March 2017, respectively.
  • Lamar samples Mars’ “24K Magic” on his DAMN. single “Loyalty,” April 2017.
  • Mars ties Drake for longest stay atop the Hot R&B Songs chart with “That’s What I Like,” July 2017.
  • Sheeran sings on Swift’s “End Game” from Reputation, November 2017.
  • Sheeran and Lamar appear on N*E*R*D’s No One Ever Really Dies, December 2017.
  • Mars beats Lamar for the album of the year Grammy, January 2018.
  • Mars congratulates Lamar on his Pulitzer Prize win, April 2018.

This article originally appeared in the May 19 issue of Billboard.


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