If memory serves correctly, the last two weeks for Drake have been eventful to say the least. Pusha T seems hellbent on waging war against he and Lil Wayne. Drake allegedly threw shots back while in D.C. He and Meek Mill have been linked to Rihanna, pissing Chris Brown off in the process. And T. Boone Pickens landed “Tweet of the Year” at Aubrey’s expense.
Yet and still, Drake’s doing okay for him. Quite well, actually.
The unique aspect about Drake is his personality, wardrobe and actions frequently allow ridiculing from everyone to comedians, other rappers and parody Twitter accounts. What’s crazy? None of it has negatively effected his career. Above it all, and whether admitted or not, OVO’s head honcho has found a comfort zone allowing him to produce music showing the highs and lows of a multi-millionaire, sensitive, stripper smitten 25-year-old growing through his catalog while dealing with levels of fame only a handful of his colleagues are eye level with. The music is dexterous with the ability to cover a wide array of settings including radio smashes, self-analytical and introspective numbers. And with equal parts love and hate, Drake remains a lightening rod for contention. Where a great majority of his detractors see “soft,” others see open. The only commonality shared is they both listen to bolster their argument. So in the end who actually wins? Drake.
Toronto’s crowned prince has been the standout artist under the Young Money umbrella since Wayne went to prison in 2010, whose last truly groundbreaking piece of work was No Ceilings a year earlier. Since then, Thank Me Later and Take Care have gone on to become platinum albums under their own recognizance. He’s also crafted his own calling card of sorts by delivering when his music seems to stick the most; when the days are the longest and warmest and drinks the coldest – summertime. His track record the past three summers speak for themselves:
2009 – So Far Gone was the craze industry wide and don’t forget he toured the country off that project; a mixtape might I add. “Best I Ever Had” was one of the biggest songs off the summer along with Gucci’s “Wasted.” “Every Girl” was a marginally popular, too. Also, he went gold off the SVG EP that same year featuring a majority of songs people downloaded for free seven months earlier.
2010 – Despite leaking two weeks early, TML went platinum in less than a month.
2011 – “I’m On One” was only the biggest song of the summer. Not to mention his features and songs like “Dreams Money Can Buy,” “Marvin’s Room,” “Free Spirit” and “Club Paradise” were all successful in their own right.
Now, in 2012, Drake’s decision to tour with the likes of 2 Chainz, French Montana, J. Cole, Meek, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky and more records itself as another ingenious business move (or opportunistic) from whoever is calling the shots in Drizzy’s career. Regardless how the quality of their music ranks, each artist Drake aligned himself with on both installments of his Club Paradise Tour is notable in their own corner of the current landscape in rap. Not only does it allow Aubrey to remain in the mix of rap’s movers and shakers without oversaturaing himself, but a verse from Drizzy these days is all but an automatic VIP pass to FM dials.
Ask Future with “Tony Montana” (an underground monster before Drake opened mainstream’s eyes). Ask 2 Chainz with “No Lie.” Ask Ross and what Drake’s verse on “Stay Scheming” did for the marketability of that record. Ask Meek with “Amen,” which if it isn’t packaged as the lead single from Dreams & Nightmares, someone dropped the ball terribly. And pending “Pop Dat” isn’t a total abomination, ask French Montana. Oh, and this isn’t considering the random tracks he’ll upload to his site at 4 a.m. some random June or July morning because it will happen.*
Look, no one is saying Drake’s hood pass should be given the Lil’ Boosie Lifetime Achievement Award. If this squabble with Pusha T does graduate past subliminal disses and we get actual, you know, diss tracks with names involved, expect Drake to carry the majority of the load for Young Money as he seems to be the only MC there capable of producing a coherent battle record. And while Pusha’s intensity and style does seemingly dictate he’s built for the rigors of multiple diss records, don’t be surprised if Aubrey holds his own.**
The next few months for Drake should be interesting. He’s at a period where his name alone makes him a bonafide superstar and target while the music continues to create new chapters and layers of his career. And he’s carrying a label while doing so. Every move he makes will be criticized, but that’s part of the job description. In the ilk of any artist before or after him, appreciating Graham’s music is all subjective. Those who do will be labeled dickriders. Those who don’t, haters; such is the climate in rap’s present day train of thought.
Nevertheless, enjoy the summer and all the fruits of its presence. The beaches. The drunk nights. The flings. The cookouts. The vacations. And, if the last three summers are any indication, Drake.
* – Another “9 A.M. In Dallas”-type track wouldn’t be a bad look.
** – The Internet may collapse after that sentence.