After the release of Drake's newest album "Scorpion", I took it upon myself to listen to the album while driving. I am not the world's biggest fan of rap or even Drake for that matter. I have been listening to Drake ever since I first heard "Best I Ever Had" years ago, but even I, the not-so-big rap fan can admit that Drake is extremely talented. He never fails to produce an album with a handful of songs that make it onto top charts and party playlists. But when I first listened to "Scorpion", my favorite song was "Emotionless"...it was not because I thought it had the best rhythm or lines but rather because the lyrics resonated with me.
From my interpretation, "Emotionless" raps about living in the age of social media, showing how it negatively impacts our lives. Beginning with the famous Mariah Carey beginning of "Emotions", "Emotionless" begins with the lines:"Don't link me
Don't hit me when you hear this and tell me your favorite song
Don't tell me how you knew it would be like this all along
I know the truth is you won't love me until I'm gone"
From these first few lines, I thought about how easy it is for us to tag others in photos we like, videos we share, and other methods of media we use as daily communication. Instead of showing how technology brings people together, Drake's masterpiece of a song represents the mindset that social media is the force tearing mankind apart. These lines demonstrate how Drake, in the end, is tired of being tagged, followed, or "hit up" on social media because ultimately, these outreaches through social media are not genuine.
The song continues:"Leavin' me to not trust anybody I meet
Leavin' me to ask is there anybody like me?"
In these lines, Drake questions his own authenticity. In the generation of social media, fear of authenticity is a real concern. People try too hard to look, dress, and act like others through their online profiles. This can leave others to doubt whether anyone is truly genuine anymore, or do we simply do whatever it takes to get more likes, comments, and false attention on the Internet? And in the end, where does that lead us?
Drake then continues to say:"Missin' out on my days
Scrollin' through life and fishin' for praise
Opinions from total strangers take me out of my ways"
Drake criticizes himself for meaninglessly skimming his social media platforms looking for praise. He acknowledges how reading comments written by other people put him in a trance, allowing him to temporarily escape his world of fame and fortune. Perhaps these moments lead him to reflection, they make his music bare and down to the core of what he truly wants for himself. If that only happens to Drake, then I can only imagine how his fans and supporters feel after listening to this song. So, how can we relate? Do we rely on the opinions of others too much? Are we too focused on the nonstop Instagram notifications that alert us of every single person who has liked our post? Why? Why do we care so much?
One of my favorite lyrics of the song read:
"I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome
Then she finally got to Rome
And all she did was post pictures for people at home
'Cause all that mattered was impressin' everybody she's known"
I related to these lyrics more than anything throughout this song, and after I first heard them, it made me think for a second about the impressions people have whenever they post a picture. They say a picture is a thousand words but isn't the experience something that words cannot possibly describe?
During the heat of the summer, you probably encounter the endless summer vacation pictures. And while you endlessly scroll and double tap, you are mesmerized by the artsy pictures of your followers. When it is time for your vacation of your own, you are eager to capture the perfect picture--that way, your profile will be just as artsy as the others. Drake uses this example to make his listeners question whether or not they live for the experience or simply live for the pictures.
One of the most well-known lines of the whole song reads:
"Look at the way we live
I wasn't hidin' my kid from the world
I was hidin' the world from my kid"
Like everyone else, I guess I was pretty oblivious to the fact that Drake has a kid, but in these verses, he announces his child to the world. These lines also made me think deeply because Drake clearly points out the negatives of the world we live in today: where technology is faster than ever before, we live by the photos we take, and we decay from the inside out.
Finally, the last lines of the song say:"I'm exhausted and drained, I can't even pretend
All these people takin' miles when you give 'em an inch
All these followers but who gon' follow me to the end
I guess I'll make it to the end and I'ma find out then"
These last two lines are the ones that made me snap my fingers after hearing this song for the first time. If we are going to reflect on this song, maybe we can start with a question of "Do you know what a follow to follow ratio is? Do you care about it? Why or why not?" Drake clearly notices the difference between a follower and a friend, knowing that only a select few of the millions that cherish him will truly follow him to the end.
Overall, I thought this song amazingly opens the roundtable discussion to the pros and cons of social media. It makes you ask a lot of questions like, "Do I do that? Why do I do that? How can I stop?" Just as everyone communicates differently, everyone uses social media differently--some more than others. And for the ones who revolve their lives around technology, all this song is meant to ask you is, "Why?"