Fresh off his beef with Pusha T, Drake is back in the headlines and back on the charts after releasing “Scorpion”.
Drake’s newest project brings us back to the delicate balance of high-powered lyricism and subtle rhythm that’s propelled him to the top of the game thus far. The two sided project includes Drake voicing his opinion on several topics that have been causing him internal distress. From the respect-demanding flow on “Nonstop”, to the familiar and intense bounce found on “Talk Up”, all the way to the admission of his fatherhood and all of the challenges associated with it on “March 14”. “Scorpion” is less ambitious and revolutionary than his previous work, though still extremely solid throughout. The 25 song, 90 minute long album is the longest of his studio albums displaying his one-of-a-kind versatility, and includes features and samples from some of hip-hops most recognizable voices including Nicki Minaj, Future, and a surprise feature by Michael Jackson. Rather than experimenting with new sounds and styles on “Scorpion”, new listeners and longtime supporters alike are provided with all the staples of Drake’s trademarked success. Scorpion is a measured response to the flurry of headlines Drake has found himself in over his year-long hiatus.
“Scorpion” is in stark contrast with the way Drake and his team handled the Meek Mill beef just a few years ago. In 2015, Meek Mill took to twitter alleging that Drake did not write his own verse on “R.I.C.O.” which was featured on Meek’s album “Dreams Worth More Than Money”. The feud that ensued included a barrage of rebuttals by Drake cutting deep into the core of Meek’s image. This is how the majority of Drake fans expected him to return the shots fired by Pusha T on his newly released song “Infrared”. The way he handled his most recent feud with Pusha T, speaks to the maturity of the now 31-year-old rapper as he learns when to apply the pressure and when to keep quiet. Though Drake returned some of the shots fired by his seasoned adversary, the majority of the claims go unanswered including the issue of Drake and an alleged ghostwriter.
Side A of “Scorpion” features Drake rapping over some signature, bass knocking beats, that can be played at parties. This side seems to be more of a response to the more pressing questions surrounding the hip-hop titan, and the direct attempts being made to bring him down. At this point in his career we’ve grown accustomed to Drake giving us quotable lyrics in his music and “Scorpion” is no different. Lyrics like “My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions” found on the albums intro “Survival”, along with “I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry” on the pre-released single “God’s Plan” seem to stick in our mind for one reason or another. Side A also appears to be Drake’s opinion on what he observes externally through his own eyes. On “Emotionless” Drake spits, “I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world I was hiding the world from my kid. From empty souls who just wake up and look to debate. Until you starin’ at your seed you could never relate.” This is one of many instances on “Scorpion” where Drake becomes more critical of society to which he owes his fortune. One of the most resonating lines comes from a sample off “In my Feelings” from the show “Atlanta” in which an actress attempts to attend a holiday party at Drake’s house in attempt to take a picture with him for her Instagram. Although from a television series, the line encompasses the shallowness Drake must experience on a daily basis. Although most of the songs on Side A have bounce and make us want to dance with our friends, Drake also mixed in an R&B vibe on some tracks as well. For example on “Emotionless” Drake sounds like he pours his heart out and just speaks straight from the soul over a smooth beat in the background, that also has some bounce. One memorable line from the track was, “There’s times when I wish I was where I was, Back when I used to wish I was here”. Here he is reflecting on how he wanted to be a star when he was younger and comparing it to now, where sometimes wishes he could go back to those simpler times. “Sandra’s Rose” is another track on Side A in which Drake crossed genres, and spit some bars over a softer beat. On the track he says “Backstabbed so many times I started walking backwards” which hints at him having potential trust issues with people in his life. A conclusion can be made that Drake dedicated Side A to those who love his “turn up” music, but he also managed to mix in some raw emotions, which was something he successfully pulled off with “Views” in 2016. His ability to successfully cross genres is something we can also see on Side B.
Side B of Scorpion features a softer side of Drake, whom displays more rhythm and finesse. Similar to the engaging melodies found on Views, Side B initially comes off as the late night anthem for Summer 2018. However, with a deeper listen, the audience can expect Drake to address recent rumors with an unseen vulnerability as he dives deep into the many relationships that bring him happiness as well as stress. Tracks like “Finesse” and “Blue Tint” contain the type of sing-along content we’ve come accustomed to hearing out of the Canadian artist, and are likely to be echoed on the radio until he returns to the studio again. The project is ended by “March 14”, a five minute, in-depth, no doubt recently added track in which Drake discusses the birth of his first born child. As well as the emotional changes he has gone through that have taken place, since he discovered he was to be a father. Drake echoes the advice of his mother, whose frequent references have never seemed more significant then now, “Sandi used to tell me all it takes is one time and all it took was one time.” Drake appears to have come to terms with the impact his new child is going to have on his life as well as his image, but as usual, won’t let it stop him from being successful. An extremely powerful line from the song is when he says “I used to challenge my parents on every album now I’m embarrassed to tell them I ended up as a co-parent” Drake apparently is recognizing how difficult parenting is, which seems to have opened his eyes. Throughout his music career, Drake has never shied away from stepping into the R&B genre. Side B shows us how well Drake can handcraft an R&B track based on his own love encounters over the years. His R&B songs are known for creating a late night vibe that puts people into deep thought. However, Side B doesn’t strictly consist of R&B tracks. He mixed in a couple of catchy songs like “Blue Tint” which features Future, as well as “In My Feelings” which even seems to catch the ears of listeners who would prefer Side A. On “Blue Tint” Drake refers to a companion whom he claims to “have on ice” but says he’s “watched the ice get thin,” which makes for a catchy chorus. This gives us a direct glance into Drake’s love life and a possibly deteriorating relationship. Like “Blue Tint”, Drake used a beat with bounce in order to address his love life. In the song Drake is seeking reassurance from different women about their feelings towards him and wants them to “Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me.” Drake like any person just wants to be loved and wanted, but being a person of his status can certainly make it difficult to gage where people’s intentions lie. By talking about love over hard beats like the one on “In My Feelings” and “Blue Tint” Drake is doing the same thing he did on “Sandra’s Rose” but in reverse. This time he used a beat with more bounce to it, but spoke about trust, loyalty and a reassurance of love. This is something I believe Drake is one of the best in the game at, which is why he wasn’t lying when on the project intro “Survival” he said “House on both coasts but I live on the Charts.”
Drake didn’t take home any hardware at this year’s Billboard Music Awards in May, which he may be fine with considering he won 13 awards at the show last year, which was the most ever taken home by an artist for a year’s worth of work. Regardless of which side of the project you favor, its more than likely each side has some songs that people either enjoy or can relate to, regardless of genre. His two pre-releases for “Scorpion” (“God’s Plan” and “Nice for What”) are still in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs. As the summer goes on I would not be surprised if a few more of the songs rose on up on the list, or if the album rose to the top of the Billboard 200 in the coming weeks. Drake is so popular at this point in his career that “More Life” which was released in March of 2017, is still at number 47 and rose from number 50 last week. Scorpion was officially certified as platinum on its release date which shows that everyone is always on the lookout for anything that Drake releases. The ease with which Drake can jump from genre to genre makes him a one of a kind artist, whom I think will be around for years to come. Due to the beef with Pusha T, Drake had some pressure on his with this album because everyone wanted to know how he would respond. The project gives off the impression that he has responded by keeping his nose to the pavement and continuing to hone his craft. I believe there are at least a couple of songs on the entire project that any music fan may enjoy, regardless of genre which is special. In my eyes this is a perfect album by Drake and easily his best piece of work, which is why I would give “Scorpion” 5 out of 5 tips of the cap.