“Nature gave us friendship as an aid to virtue, not as a companion to vice.” – Cicero

King Arthur is a legend. Literally. 

Whether he was a real King is unknown. It’s possible his character has been exaggerated over centuries of storytelling as he’s been credited with a few more battles than he would have managed to fit in. His reputation, however, names him as one of the Greatest rulers Britain has ever known.

Accompanying him in folklore are the Knights of the Round Table; King Arthur’s council with whom he consulted before reaching decisions about big things like battle tactics and when to host parties. The significance of the round table is the way it stripped away the possibility for any one person to rule the roost by sitting at the head. Each Knight was given the privilege to contribute equally to the discussions.

So who were these men Arthur kept so close? An early account by Geoffrey of Monmouth, (c. 1136) says that, after establishing peace throughout Britain, Arthur “increased his personal entourage by inviting very distinguished men from far-distant kingdoms to join it.”

So in essence, Arthur hand picked the smartest people from all over the world to sit and work closely with him at his table.

Fast forward a few decades to the early 2000s and Nelson Mandela is having a chat with Billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, and musician Peter Gabriel. As the Western world prepares to go to war with Iraq, these three men are thinking and wishing for a peaceful resolve; something governments failed miserably at. Out of these conversations, The Elders is formed.

The Elders are an independent group of remarkably distinguished global leaders, working together to protect peace and human rights. Members of The Elders have included, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki-moon and Ela Bhatt.

When I first heard about The Elders my gut reaction was, ‘huh?! Richard Branson was pals with Nelson Mandela?!’ Looking at the list of members, can you imagine the topics in an Elders Whatsapp group…?

A few weeks ago Nicki Minaj posted this picture on Instagram…

nicki drake lil wayne

If you aren’t a fan of American Hip-Hop music the significance of this image in this context, may not be immediately obvious…

In 2005 Lil Wayne founded the record label Young Money Entertainment, following two successful album releases. His fame as a rapper was increasing and his role as President of a label was beginning. In 2009, Wayne signed Aubrey Graham (Drake), to the label and Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj in the same year. Both were relatively unknown at the time.

To introduce his new talent to the world, the label released a collaboration album, We Are Young Money with lead single ‘BedRock’. The song charted well, reaching No. 2 in the US.

Of all the artists featured on Bedrock, Nicki, Drake and Lil Wayne have remained the closest by far. They’re the only three still regularly working together and often make reference to one another and the strength of their relationship.

‘Cause we the big three, don’t need a big speech

We made the biggest impact, check the spreadsheet

That’s Lil Weezy to Barbie and Drizzy Drake

Nicki Minaj – Barbie Tingz (2018)

Less than 10years after coming together, three of only four artists to have ever had such a volume of successful singles in the US are those three.

“In order to change your life for the better, first you must change your lifestyle. Which can’t happen unless you change the people around you.” – Charlamagne Tha God

Two of Charles Dickens’ best pals were Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allen Poe. Anne, Emily and Charlotte Bronte were sisters. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were chums from University. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have been best friends for 27years…

So what do Drake, Nelson Mandela and King Arthur have in common? They know how powerful it can be to surround yourself with others who are just as hungry and more talented than you are.

Great things can happen when the right people hang out.