Drake ran into some traffic on the way to the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, but he made it to the ceremony in time to give Rihanna the VMAs Video Vanguard Award.
Walking on stage after Rihanna performed for the final time of the night, Drake — dressed in a tuxedo — praised the singer for never changing, and said he had been “in love” with her since he was 22 years old.
“The first time I met Robyn Fenty [Rihanna’s real name] was in 2005,” Drake said. “She was shooting a music video at a restaurant called Avocado in Toronto. The song was ‘Pon de Replay’ and the director was Little X. I was introduced to her… It’s hard to believe that 11 years later we’d come together to create the visual for a song called ‘Work.’ Today the world knows X as Director X… 11 years later, they still know Rihanna as the one and only Rihanna.”
Calling her captivating, Drake touted Rihanna’s “untouchable” level of performance and style, adding, “She succeeds by doing something which no one in this industry does, which is be herself.”
“She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” Drake said. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life i’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me.”
In accepting the award, Rihanna thanked MTV for the honor, and said her success is “not my own.”
“It’s my family’s, it’s my fans, it’s my country’s, it’s the Caribbean as a whole, it’s women, it’s black women… so many people feel like their little piece is such a major part of this puzzle and i have to thank you guys for supporting me over and over,” she said. Rihanna thanked her host of collaborators over the years, and also Drake.
“Thank you, Drake, for that,” she said. “Thank you MTV. I had so much fun!”