Fake Love: Drake Made Us Bad At Relationships
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Fake Love: Drake Made Us Bad At Relationships

Drake said it best. We're doing it wrong.

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Fake Love: Drake Made Us Bad At Relationships
Hypebeast

Let me preface this by first saying two things.

1. I freaking love Drake’s music.

He is in my top 5 favorite artists and will always be, not only because his music is can teleport me to an L.A. loft or a Miami beachfront mansion, but because Drake blew up right around the middle of my high school career and became this metaphor for success that I clung to. He has the uncanny ability to make his music incredibly relatable while also commenting on the fact that there’s no way anyone can relate to what he’s going through.

2. I completely understand that not everyone in my generation listened to or even liked Drake growing up.

But the man became more than an artist or a rapper. He became a phenomenon. He created a culture that praised as much emotional opacity and monetary solidarity as possible and for a group of young individuals, i.e. “millennials” (for lack of a better term). This was the light, the truth, and the way, and is absolutely one reason why I think we are SO BAD at relationships today.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take three different aspects of his music and see if we can pin down why exactly Drake has killed relationships for us.

Timing

Drake had an almost meteoric ascendency to Hip-Hop/Rap royalty in the late 2000s right around the time when “millennials” were getting ready to hit the tail end of their high school careers. For me specifically, he really hit his popularity around my junior and senior years. But, Drake wasn’t exactly the powerhouse that he is now back in the early 2000s.

For a long time, he was still just that kid in the wheelchair from Degrassi. And for a lot of us that was okay because we were all still trying to make sense of the fact that we were really in high school. There was still that “new car” shine on high school in which everyone is still looking at everything through rose-colored glasses. For Drake, this was probably going on in his professional career as well.

His first studio album, Thank Me Later, was released in 2010 and a lot of the music on it mirrored what we were going through in the full swing of our high school experiences. It was a time of firsts for us and for Drake, which is probably one reason why his music was so relatable to us. Songs like “Fireworks” with the Alicia Keys providing us with the classic chorus of, “All I see is fireworks,” and other songs like “Show Me a Good Time” and “Up All Night” just sounded very upbeat and high energy, much like how you’d feel in the throes of school spirit. Plus, the album was Drake’s debut album, so it conveyed a sense of naivete that makes it that much more relatable to a younger audience. Because if Drake was feeling how we were feeling, then everything would be okay! The stage was set for a tectonic shift in pop culture that we as “millennials” weren’t exactly ready for.

Then we get 2011’s Take Care, Drake’s second studio album and arguably (still) the best album he’s ever made. What started as a steady climb evolved to a catapult into the minds and, more specifically the hearts of Drake listeners. This is a time that’s perceived as an incredibly volatile time in student’s lives as they’re making the transition from underclassmen to upperclassmen as juniors/seniors (I happened to be a junior at the time).

To quote Kevin Hart again, we weren’t ready. Drake turned into this suave, sophisticated, mature artist who brought up feelings of independence and interchangeability and power. That’s really the big one here for me; power coupled with the rise of status that juniors/seniors feel when they’re upperclassmen is a dangerous combination that I think we as young people ate up. It really was a tipping point for a lot of emotions and it sent that whole generation of “millennials” on an absolute power trip.

This illusion that we could make these informed decisions on matters of the heart and other social matters coupled with the constant message from one of the people that we look up to that we could live these extravagant and lavish lifestyles? We were hooked. And then just to add the cherry on top of our proverbial clusterfuck of an emotional sundae, he releases Nothing Was The Same in 2013 (the year a lot of us started college, hint hint) as a pseudo-salute to the fact that this man owned us emotionally. Because he was absolutely right, nothing was the same after Take Care and we didn’t know what else to do but to roll with it. You may now be saying to yourself, “What does this have to do with relationships?”.

Everything. Literally, everything. As we can see from the second point.

Content

So we have a little bit of emotional and mental context for why we were so susceptible to Drake’s music during high school. But what really did it to us? The answer is Take Care. Plain and simple. This album’s greatness coupled with where we were in our emotional lives was the perfect recipe for disaster for us. The majority of the album is about two separate things; relational confidence when it comes to heterosexual relationships and solid, long lasting friendships, coupled with a general sense of extravagance. Now an emotionally stable human being could see these two messages and interpret them in a really healthy and positive way.

But high school juniors and seniors are not exactly what I would call emotionally stable. In fact, I would define them as the absolute opposite of emotionally stable. We can split the whole album basically right down the middle. 11 of the albums 19 songs can be categorized into the “relationships” section, while the other seven (Over My Dead Body, Headlines, Under Ground Kings, We’ll Be Fine, Lord Knows, HYFR, The Ride, The Motto) are the more grandiose and introspective songs on the album.

The songs on the “emotional” side of Drake’s album tell us a roller coaster of a story. “Shot For Me” allows us to have that flexing on our ex-that-left-us conversation while also reminiscing a little. Then we go into Take Care, with the lovely voice of Rihanna telling us that even though we’ve been hurt, we’ll be taken care of. And the true drunk anthem that is “Marvin’s Room”, reminding us all of that confessional phone call we’ve made to that one person at 4 in the morning. After that, all of a sudden, we’re in a relationship with Nicki Minaj in “Make Me Proud”, where we brag about who we’re with (or want to be with).

We get sent out by “Cameras/Good Ones Go” telling us that should we wait too long, the good ones are all gone. Once that realization is made, we’re into the sad late night breakups in “Doing It Wrong”, even though when a good thing goes bad it’s just the end of A world, not the end of THE world. One positive thing here is that we can, in the end, realize that we’re sick of the same, superficial people that we’ve constantly been subjected to in “The Real Her”. Finally, we’re kickin’ back in “Look What You’ve Done” reminiscing on all the old relationships we’ve had with our moms, because that’s what you do after a roller coaster like this. And to bring us full circle, we’re back to that classic Drake confidence in “Practice”, where we’re under the impression that after we’ve found the real one, everyone that they’ve had before is only practice for us.

Pretty crazy, right? But wasn’t our first experience with our hearts crazy? All of the emotions we felt in the beginning are all depicted here. And Drake knows that! What were unexperienced, emotional, hormonal kids like us going to do when we heard things like,

“Fuck that nigga that you love so bad, I know you still think about the times we had” and,

“I know you’ve been hurt by someone else, I can tell by the way you carry yourself, If you let me, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll take care of you.” And really the best one here,

“I can tell that you’ve been practicing, all those other men were practice, for me…”

I mean, come on now. This is where we latched on and we ran with it. This isn’t even including songs like “Headlines” that’re telling us to be overdosed on confidence, or “Over My Dead Body” where we think we’ve just been killing the game lately and don’t know who the real casualties are. The entire album is an absolute masterpiece, and we all devoured those messages over and over again through our headphones. “What messages are those?”, you ask? I’m glad you asked!

Message

I could go on for just as long about the messages that we receive through this album, but I should really start off with the message that we don’t get; humility. We are the best thing in the world and every one of the opposite sex should damn well know it. But we don’t ever take into account that we are flawed, and that’s really okay. And that other people we know are flawed, which is also very okay. Now there’s nothing wrong in the slightest with confidence, but that coupled with the second message here can become problematic; isolation.

Drake said it himself, “I hate when people say they feel me man.” At that age we are trying hard to build relationships, and if we decide that no one will be able to relate to us, then our circles get smaller and smaller. Again, nothing wrong with this. But the more you think that people won’t relate to you, the harder it becomes to build stronger and longer lasting relationships. And the whole time we’re basically just blindfolded taking shots at the imaginary emotional dart board hoping to hit something that works for both parties.

I mean, look at where we are now. We have a term like “draking and driving”, in which we have to be wary of listening to Drake while we drive late at night, lest we end up at our ex’s house attempting to make up. Why does a term like that even exist? Because we can create the scenario in which everything worked and we can simply walk into the same room as the girl/boy we let get away and it will be the most perfect situation we can think of. All because of this one Canadian who had his finger on the pulse of an ENTIRE GENERATION.

So what does this mean for us? Well I’m sure as hell not going to stop listening to Drake (especially because More Life comes out in a week, finally), but it’s interesting to think about nonetheless. Maybe the superficiality of our relationships comes from a growing interest in technology and instant gratification. Maybe it has to do with a social evolution where it’s acceptable to make everything temporary.

Or maybe, at a young age we latched onto the words of an artist who understood us better than our parents, our teachers, our friends, or even ourselves. He attached a message so potent and so instrumental to our lives that all we could do was absorb it. You can’t very well just ignore the storm, once it’s there, you’re all the way in it. Now that we’re in the storm, and we know we’re in the storm, we can do what we can to get out of it. And take our courtships seriously. And do whatever we can to grow a relationship in a healthy and positive way. And avoid, at any and all costs, draking and driving.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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