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Drake, ‘YOLO’ Controversy: Rapper Wants Macy’s, Walgreens to Pay Him for Use of Acronym

Kevin Mazur, WireImage

“You only live once.” You’ve probably heard that phrase a million times, right? But when was the first time you heard its acronym, “YOLO”? Was it in a song, on a T-shirt, or on a reality show?

Drake is staking claim to the term, “YOLO,” citing its use in his 2011 song, “The Motto,” which is a bonus track on the Canadian rapper’s Take Care album. “Now she want a photo, you already know, though / You only live once: that’s the motto n—–, YOLO,” he sings in the tune.

Drake is angry that companies including Macy’s and Walgreens have emblazoned “YOLO” on merchandise including hats and T-shirts, and he has taken to social networks to demand royalties. “Walgreens…you gotta either chill or cut the cheque,” he posted underneath a photo of YOLO baseball caps inside one of the chain’s stores. That was followed by a photo of a T-shirt with “YOLO IS MY MOTTO” accompanying famous cartoon characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy, with the “Headlines” singer commenting, “Macy’s…same goes for you.”

But Drake may want to do his homework before getting lawyers involved. gives YOLO credit to Adam Mesh. The entrepreneur first used the phrase publicly in 2003, on NBC’s short-lived reality show, “The Average Joe.” He went on to develop a YOLO clothing line in 2004.

“When I created the word it was meant as inspiration to live life to the fullest,” Mesh tweeted in response to Drake’s YOLO controversy. “Disappointed in current use. I have moved on.”

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