The title of the king of Hip Hop is debated in barbershops, dinner tables, house parties and between social circles across the world. The usual names are mentioned, Jay, Nas, Biggie, Pac and 3Stacks. Where the debate becomes heated is when the name Drake is mentioned.
He has, for almost a decade, been in and around the top of hip hop and arguably running the game for the most recent five of those years. Considered by many as revolutionary and frustrating, such a polarising figure who was and still is able to capture unrivalled mass female support and, something that is not often spoken about, male support, always conjures up a wide range of opinions.
From So Far Gone…
When he came into the game, he built on a platform created by A Tribe Called Quest and Ye and in the process helped create a sound that we all bop our heads to today (cc. Bryson, Tiller and PND). But with this sound came expectations.
I first heard of Drake on Successful in 2009, a year before my first year of university and the year filled with thoughts of ex-girlfriends and future escapades. As you can imagine, Drake’s lyrics were very relevant.
The mixing between HoustonAtlantaVegas and November 18th to Say Whats Real and Best I Ever Had, highlighted a level of versatility that could not be challenged at the time. What came next (Thank Me Later and Take Care) raised the levels to a point where people were starting to recognise the Canadian born rapper as the heir apparent.
Take Care and Nothing Was the Same, showed a hungrier Drake with no real competition and making his most (arguably) ‘free’ music. It was from this point that a ‘Drake sound’ was fully cemented and people were now expecting most songs to project this.
As many horoscopes and Twitter threads claim, we Scorpios hate competition. Partially because we’re arrogant in thinking that we’re extremely rare lol so no comparison can be made. I think we saw this truly coming to the forefront from Drake after the industry shaking Control verse.
Here we saw a more rattled Drake, something we hadn’t seen previously. On the verse, in an interview with Billboard in 2013 he said “I know good and well that Kendrick’s not murdering me, at all, in any platform. So when that day presents itself, I guess we can revisit the topic.” As the whole industry was talking about this verse, Drake felt impelled to discuss his credentials despite being on his third album.
What followed between NTWS and Views, was a flurry of controversies and love conquests (mainly Rhianna). Views, dropped three years later, showed an artist bogged down with controversies, bogged down with expectations and unwilling to do what he came in game doing, which was to push the boundaries.
Although More Life was billed as a ‘playlist’, it took us closer to Take Care elite status, it wasn’t quite there. But I think Scorpion will give us the best of Drake. It appears he knows himself (no more moment for life verses), is now a vet of the industry and more importantly is comfortable with the debates that come with his name.