Drake recently released "Scorpion," the newest blockbuster release in a long line of them for the Canadian rapper. It has been remarkably popular; it broke multiple streaming records since its release, and it seems that it will become a mainstay amongst the music listeners and Twitter music pundits for years to come. Here's my issue; I don't think it is that good, and I don't think his success merits a spot at the top of the game. I respect him for the hustle and his ability to rap and sing, but the hype is unjustifiable. Lyrics, themes, instrumentals, just having the ability to sing does not make a rapper a great one automatically.
First off, let's just look at the lyrics and the themes placed in them. Consistently, it revolves around the same thing (though, as he said on 100, he could easily have been a "conscious rapper"). He constantly rattles on about fame, his ability to succeed, the products of fame, so on and so forth. It gets kind of tiring, and I say this as someone who does appreciate a Drake song. Simply put, it all feels kind of... fake-deep. Superficial. Nothing of any real depth. One critic described his lyrics as "zingy amorphisms and perennial trust issues." I do not think I have ever heard something describe Drake's lyrics as well as that. Sure, he has songs that resonate with you, but nothing consistent.
This isn't even addressing the other aspects of his music, such as the beats. The guy had no history of making dancehall music prior to, and it was never in his repertoire. I like when musicians experiment, but dancehall has only been good as a honed and perfected craft. That is why Popcaan is so good, and Drake... made atmospheric, bland, empty dancehall on "Views." There were many songs like this on "Views"; just atmospheric, spacy, bland dancehall-rap. "Even More Life," which I enjoyed, had a lot of filler, and felt ruined by trying to prolong it, and the beats showed. So many beats on this album (as well as others) that did not make me love the album, and it detracted from some really good tracks. Overall, the beats are consistently just a retreaded version of previous pieces.
Drake, critically speaking, also is not too popular. I don't care how much stock you place in the opinions of critics, there is value in my eyes. Let's take "Views": aggregate score of 68. "Scorpion": aggregate score of 68 on Metacritic as well. "More Life"? 78, which is his highest. "Thank Me Later," arguably my favorite album from him, is only a 75. Not the hallmark of a consistently great rapper. Even Big K.R.I.T. — Many critics describe his works as the same thing almost every time; clichés, platitudes, and retreaded beats. Criticisms of him not challenging himself enough artistically. Quite peculiar (not really).
Look, I am not saying Drake needs to put out think pieces every time he releases music. I don't expect him to deviate significantly from his formula because it's a money maker — and more power to him. I am just saying that I do not go to Drake if I really want to be in my feelings or to contemplate life. I do not go to Drake to listen to anything new or exciting. Danny Brown, the Roots, Tribe, and others consistently provide that for me. I just accept Drake as he is; a pop rapper. That's my opinion. More power to him, though. Get the bag.