If Coachella is good for anything, it’s surprise guests–In 2014 when I saw Jhene Aiko on the lineup I knew that there would be a Drake appearance and it was my chance to see him in a not overly huge crowd. I’m not going to say that being front row for a surprise Drake performance was a bad thing, but I will say that I saw a girl punch another girl in the face…purely out of her emotional connection to Drake? Love drives you to do crazy things, and Drake drives you to do even crazier things; It’s a lethal combination.
On February 12th I attended Roc City Classic, a free Kanye show in New York City, and there were a bunch of pictures and videos floating around of Drake in the crowd. By the time I got home from the show, Drake dropped a surprise mixtape. Like, as I was riding the subway home and getting hit on by a homeless dude, Drake casually got on his phone and tweeted out a link to some new songs that were streamed 17.3 million times in the first week.
Drake is more a phenomenon than an artist. Though there is never going to be anyone successful without a hodgepodge of haters to match, I have never seen a more diverse group of fans than what Drake has accumulated. We all know those “real hip hop is dead, I only listen to 90’s rap” people, right? I came up with an analogy about those hip hop heads being Vampires and Drake being the sun but it was really corny so I’ll spare you–my point is that for every 1 person I know who says that Drake isn’t real hip hop, I know 10 more who listen to artists like Mos Def and Biggie and Outkast…and also love Drake.
There is a defining line between mainstream artists and artists who are critically acclaimed, and Drake himself makes up that line. The dude has a way with music. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that Drake is the best lyricist out there, but I will tell you that whatever it is that he’s saying, it sounds 200% better coming out of his mouth. Flow has never been as important as when it comes to Drizzy, the things he says that are most memorable are so simple you wish you thought of them, which is what makes him even better. “Drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments”? Are you serious? That’s so badass. “Baby you finer than your fine cousin, and your cousin fine”? Incredible.
One of my favorite things that Drake does is make references that he knows are basically inside jokes with himself but he does it anyway. In Romeo Santos’ song “Odio” Drake says, “you look like Bernice and Yaris but both put together, those are some girls that I know from back home if you saw ’em you’d get it.” He’s literally like, “You kinda look like these two girls that I swear are hot but you have no idea what I’m talking about.” How do you make that sound not stupid? It’s non-poeticism is poetic.
Drake is able to provide songs for every type of listener, which definitely explains why he reaches so many people and is able to walk the line of mainstream-but-still-actually-good rappers. He constantly raps about how he loves to date strippers and yet 16-year-old girls still have this vision of him as the ultimate, soft saint that would never hurt them. On the opening track of his latest release Aubrey is sampling Ginuwine and within the next few songs we get club banger (emphasis on the banger, not so much on the club since I’m convinced it can draw a crowd almost anywhere) “Know Yourself,” which brought us the most popular Instagram caption of 2015–“I was runnin’ through the 6 with my woes.”
There are endless elements to Drake and his music that make us all addicted. It’s nothing new that he is at the top of the hip hop game, but who knows where he will go from here. Ain’t no tellin’ where we’ll find Drake next. Ain’t no tellin’.