A Short Drake Playlist By A Long-Time Drake Hater
Six songs from the 6 God that don’t make me sick
If I haven’t given it away yet, I’m not the biggest fan of Drake. In fact, I’m probably in a very high percentile of his detractors. In my eyes, Aubrey will always be Wheelchair Jimmy first and Champagne Papi never. That thespian ethos of assuming character roles, knowingly or unconsciously, for better or worse, manifests in his music.
Well the arena in which he chooses to do battle, hip-hop, doesn’t and shouldn’t take to fraudulence kindly. To quote Donnell Rawlings in “Black Bush,” (a top three sketch in the history of Chappelle’s Show) “Be real, son… Be real, real, son.”
Don’t say you do, or will do, things you really don’t and won’t. Don’t pretend you’re tougher than really you are. Don’t cowardly sneak-diss with subliminals, then hide when bullets get returned. Or affect a Patois accent four albums into your catalogue. Stop culture-vulturing, swag-surfing, song-stealing, and flow-jacking. On that note, don’t boost chunks of verses from rappers and try to pass them off as homages. Especially, don’t employ ghostwriters and claim you’re one of the greatest rappers ever. These are cardinal sins.
Before I get carried away in an attack ad hominem, I will say this: I’m nothing but a fair and objective music fan. Despite my healthy aversion for the boy, I’m capable of separating the man from the music. I’ll relent that every so often, Drake delivers a track or verse that I would be churlish to spit at, simply because I don’t idolize the kind of person he is. If I think about it, I’m the type of listener Drake loves the most: a hater from whom he’s begrudgingly wrested a few head-nods.
Here are six times Drake made me put down my pitchfork:
1. “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. There’s not much to hate about “Hold On.” The worst you can throw is saying it’s “safe”, but most pop songs that enter this echelon of likability aren’t stirring much controversy. I’d go so far as to plead the case that this is Drake’s best song and his only bona fide classic. Don’t overthink this. It’s an enjoyable, timeless track that will be in rotation for our kids’ wedding playlists.
2. “Feel No Ways”
I’m more partial to the later Drake when he finally figures out how to navigate the whole singing/rapping technique. These are his songs where he’s not disjointedly singing a hook between spitting verses, but adeptly blending melodies and rhythms in his bars. “Feel No Ways” is a great example of this style. Not quite rapping, not quite crooning, Drake finds the balance on this extremely underrated track. And while we’re here, let’s take a second to admire the magnificent texture of the production, as well note how ill that breakdown is at the track’s close.
3. “6 Man”
Ah, the sweet and cruel irony. You could call If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late my “favorite” Drake album. It was the one that almost won me over to publicly admitting Aubrey was worthy of a spot in rap’s Hall of Fame. Then, Meek revealed Quentin Miller was writing in Costco-sized bulk for Drizzy, knocking him right back down to square negative two.
Ultimately though, I still found myself enjoying serveral cuts from this album, one of my favorites being “6 Man.” Hinged on an impressively clever Lou Williams metaphor, Drake’s flow swaggers with zero effort on the bubbling, bassy 40-produced track.
My favorite part about this one? Drizzy hilariously likens himself to Guy Fieri, who apparently is a culinary magician in his eyes. My least favorite part? Aubrey interpolating “You Got Me” as the track winds down. At least Jill Scott & The Roots made it on the credits.
4. “Come Thru”
This bonus cut from Nothing Was the Same is a low-key heater that earned a lot of spins from me. Drizzy & 40 are already quite the combo, but with PARTYNEXTDOOR’s backing vocals adding an addition layer of audio satin, this jam begs to be played when things are steaming up in a divey club. Or, more commonly in my situation now, when I get Wingstop delivered from Postmates (“FOR A CHICKEN!”). Get you a song that can do both.
5. “Come and See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR ft. Drake
Speaking of PARTYNEXTDOOR… Yeah, I know I’m opening a can of worms putting a feature on this list because when it comes to guest verses, Drake has a stacked resume. Hell, can we even definitively prove Drake wrote any of his part, considering his professional relationship with PARTY?
Regardless of who penned the verse, this track is a rare instance when I not only tolerate a performance from a very-R&B Aubrey, but welcome it. The juxtaposition of Drake’s honeyed vocals effectively complement and mellow PARTY’s gruffer, smoky baritone, proving once again opposites do attract.
6. “Worst Behavior”
This song checks so many boxes on the rubric of why I dislike Aubrey. While I tend to disconnect from Drake if he sings too much, I’m usually even less a fan when he takes it to strictly hyper-masculine rapping.
I don’t believe this performance. If for some reason I owed Drake money and defaulted on my loan, his threats and boasts here wouldn’t remotely spook me. And I’m cool with paying respect to an elder statesmen with a line or two, but he lifts damn near six bars from Ma$e. Yet, against all logic, I’ve reached an embarrasingly large amount of plays with this track.
Maybe it’s because DJ Dahi absolutely obliterated production duties with this one, so Drizzy gets a boost off the contact high. With or without the Ma$e lines, I’ll admit Drake’s flow in the third verse goes hard in the paint. I’ll even admit I’ve shouted, “Worst!” and asked a friend to hold my phone mimicing Aubrey’s cute little chest voice.
What I won’t ever admit to is that Drake is okay in my book, even if his some if his tracks bang harder than police at the door at 6AM.
To quote another top three Chappelle’s Show sketch:
Ced is a writer, podcaster, and the store-brand Anthony Bourdain. He’s sometimes on Twitter, @maadceddy.
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