Drake didn't want to disrespect Rihanna by working with Chris Brown.

The 33-year-old rap star - who dated the Bajan beauty off-and-on from 2009 to 2016 - has admitted he has the ''utmost love and respect'' for Rihanna, who was physically assaulted by Chris in February 2009, and that caused him to hesitate before agreeing to work with her ex-boyfriend.

Drake - who collaborated with Chris on the track 'No Guidance' - explained: ''That person that was in the middle of us is no longer a part of either of our lives currently, and I have the most utmost love and respect for her.

''I think of her as family more than anything. I actually had a moment of hesitation before because I didn't wanted her to ever feel disrespected by me linking up with him.''

Drake also opened up about his feud with fellow rapper Pusha T, saying that Kanye West - who signed Pusha to his record label in 2011 - was the root cause of their issues.

He told Rap Radar: ''I think that he definitely recruited a guy with a similar dislike for me no matter what he says in interviews.

''I know that ... There's something there that bothers him deeply and yeah, I can't fix it for him. It just is what it is.''

Despite this, Drake remains respectful of Kanye as a musician.

He explained: ''I could never ever ever ever turn my back on the things that I've said about him in a positive light, and I still feel all those same things.

''He's still my, obviously with the exception of Lil Wayne ... and if I look at [Jay Z] as the guy who truly shaped the majority of my thinking, skill set, all those things, Kanye West would be my favourite artist all around. And that's just facts. I have no problem saying that.

''Things have changed. I'm not just some kid that's a fan anymore. Now we have personal situations, and like I said, a lot of his issues with me, I can't fix them for him.''