Is It “Over” For Drake?
I’m not going to front, I was a huge Drizzy (aka Drake) fan when I first heard his freestyle over Closer To My Dreams from the Bay Area’s own songstress Goapele’s Closer (don’t act like you weren’t!). It was on his first mixtape, 2007’s Comeback Season, and I was hooked. I’m not gonna lie, something about the “emotional yet fly cat next door chasing his dream” persona caught my attention. I related to Drizzy because I saw a piece of myself in him. However, that season is so far gone (pun intended) and the Aubrey Graham that mesmerized me with tales of heartache and ambition are a thing of the past.
The Drake of today finds himself in an intriguing position. The man who used to be the wave now finds himself a surfer chasing them instead. For over a decade, Champagne Papi has been able to pacify us with melodic love songs and catchy playboy anthems, but truth be told I can’t go another 10 years of Drake regurgitating and spoon-feeding me the same shit, for lack of a better word. I need something new, and I’m not the only one. The fans who have been here since the beginning deserve something new.
This can’t be all you got, Drake.
Or is it?
I’m not sure if it was the crippling Story of Adidon diss by the formidable Pusha T challenging Drizzy’s credibility, his 5th album Scorpion feeling more single and streams driven than authentic or the fact that he was booed off stage at Tyler the Creators annual Camp Flog Gnaw festival. Whatever it was its been a rough last couple of years for the 6 God. I’m starting to realize that the love many of us had for Drake is gone and I’m not sure if he can get it back.
It’s no secret that he has millions of die-hard followers worldwide who will continue to support him but if we are being honest they are holding on to Drake’s nostalgia and not living in the present. Since Nothing Was The Same dropped in 2013 the boy from Toronto has been rapidly delivering the same basic sing-songy flow. Why is it that no one in the OVO camp is begging Drake to switch it up? It really is time. Many of us are getting bored with Mr. Graham playing it safe, playing it for the radio, and playing it for the streams.
The reason why artists like Travis $cott, Childish Gambino, and Rihanna are highly respected by their peers and fans alike is because they refuse to play it safe. They are unafraid to throw us a curve and showcase their innovative and real talent. But, more often than not, it seems like Drake is still playing the same role decades after Degrassi. Is Drake the lovesick nice guy who no one wants or is he the Millionaire Socialite who has a taste for the luxurious life?
It’s hard to tell. Maybe he is both.
If so, why hasn’t he grown after all these years? Beneath the two defining personas of Drake, there has to be a third. On the surface, he seems to be a multifaceted person so why not dig deeper and show his followers something else? Something new?
Drake has pushed the door open for many artists to follow in his footsteps since he came into the game in 2007. He ushered in a new crop of rappers turned singers (in the same way Kanye West did when he released the retrospective 808s & Heartbreaks), which means every R&B crooner is imitating Drake’s cadence and melodies making this genre of music forgettable rather than influential.
I guess we can blame Drake for that.
Now, as I sit here and reflect, I realize I haven’t always felt this way about Drizzy. Like I said earlier, I was a huge Drake fan. At one time I used to say to myself “man if Jay-Z and Kanye West had a son together it would be Drake.”
I know many of you didn’t want to say it, but you were thinking the same thing at one point.
When Thank Me Later first dropped, I rode down 880 for hours in my 2010 Camry, listening on repeat. To this day if you throw on Karaoke or Miss Me I will sing my heart out maybe even shed a tear as I think about yesteryear.
But those days are over and one of my favorite rappers is no longer my favorite.
If you were to ask many hip-hop heads right now about their favorites, Drake wouldn’t even come up in the discussion. When you think of the best rapper alive right now, the names that come up will probably be Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, or Pusha T. Or, you might get hit with someone nostalgic like 2Pac or Biggie, but never Drake.
And I want more Drake. The Drake that used to be brought up in the discussion.
I’m not referring to the 25 throwaway tracks from Scorpion or the recycled but energetic effort of Views. I don’t mean the stealing-other-rappers-flows Drake or the “make a song and dance for TikTok” Drake (Alexa, play Tootsie Slide). What I want is something more. What happened to that Tuscan Leather Drake? That Lord Knows Drake? That “go after your dreams no matter what the world thinks” Drake.
Was that all a gimmick? Was that really him? Was it even authentic? Is the Drake we see now the Drake he has always been and we were just too blind to realize?
It makes me wonder if his next project will be his last or if he will be able to resurrect his past. Is The Ride over for the 6 God on what will be his 6th album?
I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Somewhere in between the corona pandemic, presidential election, social injustice protests, work, school, and our quarantine-themed social life, your creative juices are flowing and you’ve had this intense urge to start a side hustle. But will your friends and family support you?
I don’t know about you but I feel as if there is a major void in hip-hop. Something is missing. But what is it?
Whether I’m at home or work, lost in thought reading, writing, drawing, planning, or stuck in some sort of analysis paralysis trance, I can’t shut my mind off. I’m a creative.