He was right 5 years ago.
Seconds into “Tuscan Leather”, he rapped, “This is nothin’ for the radio, but they’ll still play it though/Cause it’s that new Drizzy Drake, that’s just the way it go”; that’s a fact. Take Care cemented the “Drake effect” on every project he drops, meaning the numbers would purely reflect how good the music is, and it’s always been good.
His sophomore album Nothing Was The Same lead to the premature, yet accurate confidence that we would play his music no matter what. Whenever, Drake drops, the radio spins, streams, and downloads pop: every single time. Reaching this level of rap stardom hasn’t been duplicated since his mentor, Lil Wayne. In lieu of music releases slowly picking up, we all figured Drake would drop the album of the summer. Weeks prior to the drop, he announced that this would be a double album, in which side A was for rap, and B was for R&B. For once, although each of his projects reflect versatility, listeners could actually choose which Drake they wanted to hear.
Drake does numbers no matter what, but this album’s rollout was a little different. It all started when he dropped “Nice For What”. This wasn’t his first Lauryn sample (he sampled “Doo Wop (That Thing)” on Draft Day), but it certainly was the best out of the two. Sampling Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor”, his second official single “Nice For What” popped harder than hot grease on a skillet when it hit the market. This ode to resilient women reminded us what it is that Drake does best; make hits. Behind this and “God’s Plan”, the singles gave us high hopes that the album would be filled with quality content. His beef with Pusha T got us “Duppy Freestyle”, and even more so excited about what he had to say on the album. As if it were our life, we had questions and wanted answers. The main question however, was this: would he actually prove that he was the best in the game right now?
To some, that last question is still up for debate. Coming up around the same time of high tiered artists such as Kendrick & Cole reflects the fact that it’s all about personal taste. Despite the rise of internet rap, we have more than enough quality options and arguments when it comes to choosing our favorite artists. But if you ask people about the greatest rappers of our time, there’s no way Drake shouldn’t be included in that conversation because every time he drops a project, it’s proven why he stays elevated. We can talk preference, but if we’re talking numbers, just know that Scorpion went platinum the first day it dropped. On June 29th, the same day of its release, Scorpion shifted over one million units, officially earning RIAA’s certification. Those numbers led him to breaking the record for the most single day streams on any platform, beating the previous successor by almost 100 million streams; his eighth No. 1 album on Billboard 200 chart, setting a new record of nearing 1 billion streams in just one week.
It’s a lot to digest, still, but regardless, there were definitely some platinum worthy songs on this one. One thing we’ve come to know about this Toronto native right here is that his field goal percentage has never reached below 50-60% when it comes to the album’s he drops. Both sides told the stories of his son, his parents who we oddly enjoy hearing about, and his daily frustrations with people’s attitudes and relationships. This 25 song length album allowed for both Side A & side B to contain over 10 songs; more than enough content, but let’s take a look at some of the best.
Here are the diamond songs of Drake’s fifth studio album, Scorpion:
“Emotionless”: Side A
Vocally, I think this one roped everybody in.
The art of properly executing a legendary sample is a craft we take for granted. There is no better example as to how greatly it can be done, by the man whose production team is the best at it, other than “Emotionless”. Sampling Mariah Carey’s “Emotions”, this track gives “Club Paradise” vibes; a sedated beat with stimulating bars.
“That’s How You Feel”: Side B
I know that Nicki sample caught y’all.
If Lil Wayne’s goal was to run hip-hop for decades, he doesn’t even have to make music anymore seeing how he’s credited with putting on the best male and female rapper of our generation, being Drake & Nicki Minaj. If y’all can’t remember that power coming out of Young Money back in ’08, here’s a modern example of what it sounded like. “That’s How You Feel” is Drake & Nicki on their bully.
“Nonstop”: Side A
There’s nothing like an artist who can go bar for bar doing that mumble rap sh**: it works in both ways. This is that Saturday night pulling off from the club music. Verse two consists of Drake trading bars, with himself. That sounds weird but it was unexpectedly one of the hottest additions on the album. “Nonstop” is clearly the best song on side A; don’t @ me.
“In My Feelings”: Side B
Even if you haven’t heard the album yet, you definitely heard this track. “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” have now been superseded by “In My Feelings” as the song of the summer. They went crazy with the samples on this. “In My Feelings” samples Magnolia Shorty’s remix of “Smoking Gun” by Jadakiss, Wayne’s “Lollipop”, and an excerpt from Donald Glover’s “Champagne Papi” episode of Atlanta. Shoutout QC’s City Girls too, they added just the right flavor.
“Can’t Take A Joke”: Side A
“Can’t Take A Joke” sounds like If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
A significantly large amount of Drake fans prefer “singing” Drake, but IYRTITL proved that he’s just as nice on a trap infused beat as he is on bass drums and chord progressions. We get a nice clean mix of both rapping and singing on this one, but it’s definitely one of those tracks that make you feel like you live that trap lifestyle people love to glorify.
“After Dark” featuring Ty Dolla $ign: Side B
His only full length feature came from Ty Dolla $ign; I think he made the right decision. Produced by the Grammy Award winning legend, Static Major, “After Dark” tells the tale of openly being in your bag. Jansport, Louie V, or Birken, we’re embracing our bags on this one. Not to mention that Ty Dolla $ign has been on damn near every June release; he, and this song, are hit certified.
“Blue Tint” featuring Future: Side B
They better give us a What A Time To Be Alive 2. Future & Drake have created some of the most enthralling collaborative efforts hip-hop has seen in the past 8 years. Future only comes to creep in on the chorus, and as much as we could’ve used a verse, the chorus was all we needed. Future and Drake probably have an arsenal of fire unreleased music; if true, I wouldn’t doubt that this song came from that stash.
Scorpion left us satisfied but did leave out a few things that listeners were hoping for. The music speaks more volume than the mouth, but some people were disappointed with his lack of addressing Pusha T directly. Nevertheless, if you listen, I think he addressed way more people than Pusha. Once the music dropped we stopped caring anyway; that’s typically how it goes. Drake’s lack of further response to Pusha was publicly considered a “loss”, but it’s funny because those exact people who claimed Drake wasn’t the king anymore, were the first people streaming the album.
Another thing missing from Drake’s Scorpion was any presence of the artists over at OVO. This has never been a thing for Drake since he started his record label, October’s Very Own. It kind of makes you question what the hell has to be going on over at OVO for there to be a lack of all Majid Jordan, DVSN, Roy Woods, and PARTYNEXTDOOR, who have all stomped their names into the scene of R&B. One thing people often overlook when it comes to Drake is that he has one of the most solid record labels in the game. At least one of those artists have created a mood and made an appearance in your R&B playlist because lyrically and distinctively, they are that good; their presence on any of those songs could’ve been big.
Lastly, we will not let Drake get away with the few misses he did have. The word finesse is hotter than the actual song, a similar case with “Ratchet Happy Birthday”; a tropical concoction that just did not do it. On both sides, there were songs that could’ve been on the other, but luckily those tracks that could’ve been flipped, like “March 14th”, added to the argument of which side was actually better.
Out of 25, there are at least half that will jump out and grab your attention. As with Views & More Life, Scorpion will most likely grow on more people as time progresses further. Not to call it classic, but most definitely a pure reflection as to why Drake calls himself the greatest. This album is filled with an inventory of music that will match every feeling of abandonment, aggressiveness, carelessness, and emotional recovery/release that we’ll all feel at some point this summer. There’s a Drake for each and every mood, resulting in a project you won’t even have to take off of the aux. Both sides A & B are filled with songs that are fit for the turn up and turn down. Fans can pick which Drake they want to hear rather than being confined to one, pleasing both sides of his fan base.
Scorpion leads us to ask, now what? Per usual, Drake drops a project, goes on a sold out tour, and kills features for months before we get another project. I won’t complain though, and neither should you. Because for now, we have more than a few songs to rock with. The recent news has been that Lil Wayne is finally out of his deal with Cash Money, and this summer we’ve clearly seen how Nicki is coming. Along with Drake, who just became the first artist to hit 1 billion global streams in a single week, it looks like 2008 again; Young Money may be executing another takeover.
Stream Scorpion here.
By K. High