Understand this: Drake is just not cool anymore. His once soothing and emotionally coruscating music has become sickly and predictable. Once the vulnerable man who taught us about love and heartache, he’s now a moping mess. I understand everyone goes through heartache, but I don’t want to hear Drake cry over the same Susan for the next 10 years.
After being booed off stage at Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival, Drake has gotten himself a harsh reality check about his current standing among young music fans. To put it simply: not everyone loves Aubrey Graham anymore. Sure, he’s earned plenty of loyal followers who will continue to religiously listen to his records, but he’s been spewing out the same generic style for way too long now. Artists that play it too safe aren’t earning the same kind of respect as those who are exhibiting raw, real and experimental talent. There are gimmicks you can use, sure — Drake’s ever-lovesick demeanour being one example — but you can only take so much before you start to crave something new.
So many artists have followed in Drake’s footsteps over the past decade, but his overpowering influence means there are now far too many carbon copies floating around. The signature ‘Drake’-style is now synonymous with a generic version of modern R&B — and generic is never great.
I didn’t always feel this way. Sitting on my bed back in secondary school, I would happily listen to ‘Thank Me Later‘ and ‘Take Care‘ on my Blackberry Curve and even now if you throw on ‘I’m On One‘ or ‘Headlines‘, I’ll sing them word-for-word, backwards. But my once-favourite rapper is lifeless now. ‘Scorpion‘ was bottom-of-the-barrel shit, showing his regression from the godly ‘Nothing Was The Same‘. ‘Views‘ was meh (albeit with some great singles), but ‘Scorpion’? Come on…
Drake is now never, ever the answer to the question ‘Who’s your favourite rapper?’ Most people will either be nostalgic and go for someone like Biggie Smalls, or mention someone newer, like Lil Uzi Vert. Drake is no longer relatable because we don’t really know him anymore and, sadly, he’s not that funny, either: a few one-liners just aren’t enough to be a comedian. What he is, however, is a hugely successful musician, so his music should still stand out above anything. But it just doesn’t. Drake is a commercial chameleon, leaving him stuck in a mediocre rut.
What also doesn’t help is the fact that Drake constantly bites other rappers’ flows. His second album ‘Take Care’ was long been rumoured to be The Weeknd‘s after he said he “gave up half of ‘House Of Balloons’” to Drake. But the 2017 beef between Drake and the late XXXTentacion is probably the Toronto rapper’s most publicised copycat moment. After being accused of lifting ‘Look At Me!‘ for his Giggs collaboration ‘KMT‘, Drake became the target of both XXXTentacion and his cult fanbase’s ire – and this is when the Drake hate train truly became trendy.
With all these stories swirling around him, it’s become quite hard to see that Drake ever seemed authentic. After all, if he could allegedly lie about his upbringing because it sells records, then how could you trust him? However, all is not lost: if he can bring something new and current to his next project — without mimicking someone else, of course — then maybe he could start building back the respect he’s lost over recent years.
But then again, simply being the soundtrack to so many millennials’ childhoods might never be enough to win back that place for Drake in our hearts. Only time will tell.