Whether you’re jaded by Drake’s well intended pseudo-feminism or you attend the Church of Drake purely for the bops, Scorpion sticks to the script of exactly what we’ve come to expect from Drake.
After months of teasing us with hit singles and their accompanying videos, Aubrey Graham finally dropped his much anticipated fifth studio album, a 25-track, 89-minute quintessentially Drake album. Much of the hype for this record stemmed from his long-standing beef with G.O.O.D Music’s Pusha T, which was well-documented in hip-hop blogs throughout June. Pusha T threw the last punch in his diss track ‘The Story of Adidon’, where he revealed that Drake is a deadbeat dad who has kept quiet about a son he fathered with a former adult movie star.
In hip-hop, where reputation is everything, this was a devastating blow for Drake – who up until now has made a name for himself as everyone’s girlfriend’s favourite rapper. (Sidebar: this said ‘reputation’ doesn’t have to be good, it just needs to be consistent. Whether you claim to love and celebrate women or be a tough member of a gang, you need to keep the same energy until that casket drops.)
With Scorpion, the foundation on which Drake celebrates women remains shaky. Our favourite ChampagnePapi is still praising good girls and lamenting how women behave on social media. On ‘Emotionless’, which delivers on the promise of an explanation for the mystery love child, he does so in peak Drake fashion – a cheesy but very catchy one-liner. His concern is still a very popular brand of thinly veiled misogyny:
‘I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome/ Then she finally got to Rome/ And all she did was post pictures for people at home/ ‘Cause all that mattered was impressin’ everybody she’s known/ I know another girl that’s cryin’ out for help/ But her latest caption is “Leave me alone”/ I know a girl happily married ’til she puts down her phone/ I know a girl that saves pictures from places she’s flown/ To post later and make it look like she still on the go.’
This might have been a teachable moment on the performative nature of social media, were it not so obviously gendered.
What we can’t dispute is that whenever Drake drops new music, he changes the pop culture landscape: love or hate him, you have to accept that because he has released new music, life is now different. For the remainder of this year, we can expect an influx of captions quoted from his lyrics. ‘Ratchet Happy Birthday’ is sure to be a club favourite for all the birthday girls in the house. It’s nowhere near as good as 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’, but having Drake tell you he knows the emptiness you feel inside will have to do for now.
All in all, Drake does what he does best in Scorpion – existential dread, sulking about the girl he probably blue-ticked, skirting responsibility for his actions, speaking about the pressure of fame, being suspicious about the loyalty of his loved ones, and a reminder that he’s the best person in the music game as ordained by God himself (‘God’s Plan’). What more could we really ask for?