Drake has never been more inescapable than the day he released Scorpion on the final Friday in June of this year. Not that I’ve ever wanted to escape Drake; I’ve always found consolation in listening to his music. He’s consistently been my go-to if I didn’t know what else to put on. Just throw some Drizzy and everything will work itself out. But now, I can’t pinpoint when my current state of Drake fatigue began to settle in. It seems to have happened somewhere between “I’m Upset” and the release of Scorpion. Gauging the reaction the album, Drake fatigue has now become almost as inescapable as Drake himself.
Like I said, my Drake fandom has been cemented for a while now. I discovered Nothing Was The Same was the perfect album to listen to while traveling on a lengthy flight, and still believe If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the perfect mixtape to listen to while cruising to the club at night, then there’s Take Care, which was made to put on while leaving the club. But starting in 2016, we started getting these amalgam albums, beginning with Views, his global playlist More Life (which I thought was original), and most recently, Scorpion. On his latest release, one side is rap-centric and the other side is totally R&B. It’s not a bad album — it’s good even! It’s Drake-good, meaning I’ll still vibe out to it this summer. But the novelty I once felt leading up to and during a Drake album release has waned.
Somehow I had forgotten Drake was releasing Scorpion, or that its release date was approaching, the week it dropped. It may have been the day before that I remembered he was releasing an album. After realizing this, my excitement exploded along with everyone else’s upon Drake unveiling the track list — just hours before Scorpion‘s appearance on Spotify and Apple Music — and it was all my social media feeds talked about.
Perusing the track list, I was instantly enthusiastic about “After Dark” featuring the late songwriter-producer Static Major and Ty Dolla $ign. As time grew closer for its release, a friend texted me a reminder: Drake was dropping in one hour. I was on my way to an event, so once I left the party, “After Dark” was the first song I played because I didn’t want to wade through over twenty songs until I got to the one song I was stoked about. (Honestly, I can’t say I would have skipped through the songs if there were only 7 tracks to hear.)
After listening and re-listening to “After Dark” a few times, my apprehension increased after realizing I still had so many Drake songs to get through — it was looking like a commitment, and it was a daunting one. I didn’t bother listening to the entire album until I got into my car the following morning on the way to work, when The Real 92.3 had my back by playing a few Scorpion cuts.
Pusha T’s disruption of Drake’s album-making process forced the OVO Sound kingpin to direct his energy towards defending himself on his new music. This may have been the catalyst towards what my Drake exhaustion. As pressure for Drake to deliver fulfilling, life-changing songs with profound Noah “40” Shebib production on Scorpion was at an all time high, we received what felt like mediocrity. As many critics have pointed out, there was little to no growth. Scorpion is a re-package of the same old Drake sound, and my ears are over it.
Scorpion broke records this weekend; it was streamed a million times per minute. That’s believable. I was part of the wave of music fans pushing to get through forty-three minutes of Drake. I did make it through, and while I normally enjoy Drizzy’s storytelling and self-realization, I have never been so disinterested in a Drake album as I have been this one. I never thought the day would come where I would say I’m tired of listening to Drake, but here we are.
What once made Drake special — the honesty, the ethereal production, the pettiness — is also what’s making him a tired listen. This would be an appropriate time for Drake to diversify his sound outside of interpolating rap styles from various regions. It’d be cool to see him present a more focused, cohesive full album and see him step out the safety zone he seems to have grown attached to. I know he’s capable of elevating his music to the next level, but If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the last Drake era that kept up with the innovation of his sound, while everything he’s put out since ends up sounding very much alike. I’m already over Scorpion, but I’m not fully giving up; let’s see how Drake and 40 can further innovate their sound while exploring subject matter outside of late-night text messages to exes. I hope he goes back to making music that doesn’t feel like a burden when it’s inescapable.
Scorpion is out now via Young Money/Cash Money. Get it here.