Is 2016 The Beginning Of The End For Drake? » VSB

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Is 2016 The Beginning Of The End For Drake?

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Its at best counterinituive and at worst gotdamn fucking insane to suggest that Drake may be at the precipice of becoming less popular. Especially since he’s never been more famous and more singular. At the moment he stands as the undisputed king of the hip-hop hill, the only other contenders either too old (Jay Z), too “eh, I guess” (J Cole), too esoteric — and, frankly, too good at rapping — to have the same type of broad appeal (Kendrick Lamar), or too Kardashian (Kanye West) to mount any serious challenge. In fact, you’d probably have to go back 15 years to a 2001-era Jay Z to find another rapper who was so clearly on top of the game. He’s also been romantically linked with Serena Fucking Williams and Rihanna Fucking Rihanna, he transformed his body, shifting from pudgy Dominican Uncle to Dominican Uncle with a Planet Fitness membership, and even his beard has been especially shiny and full of sheen lately, like he gets weekly intravenous treatments of Jack Black Beard Oil with Kalahari Melon Oil & Vitamin E.

2016 has been a very good year for Drake. Perhaps his best year, in terms of popularity, visibility, tour dates, and record sales. Which is a paradox because it’s been his worst year musically.

This, of course, is no Earth-shattering revelation. While many of his contemporaries (Kendrick, Kanye, and Chance specifically) spent 2016 testing and stretching their creative limits, Drake just decided to be Drakier — a fact that many have already recognized. Which made sense for him financially, apparently. Also, I don’t listen to the radio much, but when I do I can’t go 17 seconds without hearing “Controlla.” But I wonder how much this Alpha status, and the perceived untouchability that comes with it, has made him worse at actually rapping. Or, at least, worse at making rap-music-creating-related decisions, ultimately causing him to confuse (over)saturation with style and sagacity. This is how you go from releasing If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (a legitimately quality album that wasn’t even a real album) to Views (which, let’s be real, was an 80-minute-long curation of catfish jizz) within a 14 month span. And also how you get reckless enough to come at a dude for his mental health issues and start a beef with one of the three or four rappers working today you definitely, absolutely, positively do not want to start a war of words with. This tree might not fall directly on Drake, but he’ll definitely have to jump out the way before it splatters him.

I’m not suggesting that a few insensitive but tepid bars about Kid Cudi and/or a mindless beef with Pusha T is enough to push Drake off that ledge. But they’re the type of decisions made by someone who doesn’t seem to recognize how tenuous that position is and how steep that fall would be. And how easy it would be for him to make it.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • brothaskeeper

    Jack Black Beard Oil with Kalahari Melon Oil & Vitamin E….so THAT’S how you get your whiskers so hotepishly long! Let me procure these elixirs for myself.

    Drake knows better than to come for Pusha T. He could end his whole career in under an hour. I wish our artists could be more collaborative minded instead of seeking out the next attention-getting beef.

    • Chinasa

      I don’t know….generally the winner of rap beefs are typically decided by the masses, and since Drake has the hearts of the ppl, and Pusha has….???

  • Brandon Allen

    Everyone has to fall off sometime…

    • NonyaB?

      His cliff-roll moment is overdue.

    • miss t-lee


    • Kylroy

      It’s like when people hear something called “overrated” and assume it means “bad”. Drake’s got a lot of room to fall before he even stops being a household name.

  • NonyaB?

    If that wet blanket, tepid thot AKA patron saint of Bearded Deception starts losing popularity, it wouldn’t be a moment too soon.

    • LMAO

      • NonyaB?

        I’m just saying, the streets deserve fresher and better. #NoCountryForLukewarmThotsWithAnnoyingVoices

    • Kas

      Don’t hold back. Speak your mind.

      • NonyaB?

        Wouldn’t want to hurt your delicate ears, so it’s best I sugarcoat it.

    • Scorpiogoddess??

      Bearded deception-DONE AND DONE AAAAND DONE

    • thamonsta


      • NonyaB?

        Why insult hip hop into the bargain?

    • tinycurls

      Amen Sis. Frankly, his voice doesn’t have enough bass for me to listen to a word he says. He could collab with Busta Rhymes, Scarface, Method Man, U God and Teddy Pendergrass and I still wouldn’t listen.

      • NonyaB?


      • pls

        I actually think his voice is one of the only good things about his “career”.

        • tinycurls

          The new beard and guns make him worth a glance. If you like looking at fcukboys that is. Nothing will make him worth a listen.

      • JennyJazzhands

        He sounds drowsy to me. Like he was sleeping and someone recorded him rapping and singing in his sleep.

        • tinycurls

          Yeah, I hate kids’ voices too. Too much treble.

    • Cmon. Sis. DAYUM.

  • I cant be the only one who didn’t like If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and everything after except WATTA, on the Cudi thing its showing how this generation is uber sensitive.If you don’t go at your rivals weakness what are you going to say in a battle?

    • Damon Young

      context matters. drake has made a living basically treating his albums like group therapy sessions, where everything from angst to depression has been freely admitted to and discussed. this isn’t just the pot calling the kettle black. its the pot enacting zoning laws so more kettles cant move in his neighborhood.

      also, this is a different era, and certain things that may have not been off limits in 1996 are off limits now.

      • I think the backlash is because of his success and Cudi lack of, depression is a serious matter and should be discussed more but shouldn’t stop him from getting these bars and who better that Drake since he has admitted to having these issues as well in his music.

      • “this isn’t just the pot calling the kettle black. its the pot enacting zoning laws so more kettles cant move in his neighborhood.”

        You’ve got bars today, son.

      • “its the pot enacting zoning laws so more kettles cant move in his neighborhood.”

      • Amber

        Yeah I’m surprised people are comparing rap battles of the 90s to now. Like bringing up Tupac and Biggie. It’s 2016 people are paying more attention and more people have voices to express their feelings on rap now. Let’s not act brand new. Plus I’m not entirely sure Biggie or Pac would be successful in this modern era based on some of their questionable lyrics.

        • Kylroy

          Standards have seriously changed. Can you imagine even 90s-era Puff Daddy talking about getting mental health help?

        • I think Tupac would be went into acting eventually like his hero LL.

    • The indignation at the Cudi dig is laughable…especially since Cudi swung first.

    • Freebird

      In a music genre that has talked mostly about ni gga’s murdering each other for 3 decades.

    • Brandon Allen

      It was overrated. The song that everyone likes the “woes” one? Was doodoo.

  • TJ

    And these two songs he just dropped…all the Leslie KNOPES. Nope. Nope. Nope.

    • Chinasa

      Yea…i listened to them earlier this AM, (only because the rap community said Views was trash, Drake said he had “fire” coming as a follow up)…Worst 30 secs of my life….
      we def need to cut Drake’s mic at this point

  • The fall is coming…it’s just how the game goes (50, Ja, Nelly, Wayne, Luda…). These new breeds are about a little more celebration, and eventually Drake passive aggressive whining is gonna wear thin with them, just like bang bang gangsta rap did with us. Listen to the kids bro.

  • Drake has been pretty hit or miss for me. I think he could be in the beginning of a fall.

  • Damon Young

    also, just to be clear, i feel like i’m too old to say this, but I actually dont dislike drake’s music.

    • NonyaB?

      Amongst other things, I dislike his voice, which would prevent me from appreciating his attempt at music.

      • fedup

        Drake is like 7-Eleven iced coffee.

        On any given day, I despise cold coffee.

        But, when it’s hot as Satan’s livinroom outside, and the slurpee machine is broke, I’m not reachin for the iced coffee cup.

        Maybe thas jus me, but can’t wit it. I need my coffee hot. And preferably with a lil thin layer of grounds down at the bottom, where the rest of the diabetes collects.

        • NonyaB?

          Sounds accurate. Everything about him is just no for me. And amen to hot coffee; just the thought of it cold makes me want to puke.

    • PinkRose

      “Don’t dislike” somehow doesn’t sound like saying “I like his music”, LOL!

      Like the over and way over 30 crowd is “concerned” about saying ” I LIKE Drakes music”.

      • mssporadic

        Damon doesn’t want to admit that he dances with Baby Champ while Controlla or One Dance plays.

    • Brandon Allen

      You’re not. The thing that’s tempering Drake’s fall off is that he’s good. He’s just becoming a boring caricature of himself. Making B- work.

    • pls

      I think about Drake the same way I do Rihanna. She has great songs, great image and star power…but she ain’t no singer.

  • Amen

    When did making fun of someone taking Xanax become worse than threatening physical harm to them or their family? The backlash was so weird….

  • To quote Issa on Insecure who responded to a man saying “Every black girl that went to college likes Drake”…

    “He just gets us!”

    I still stand by this statement.

    • A.P. Millz-CT

      Why doesn’t he date ya’ll? Drake is a cornball.

      • pls

        *sips tea*

    • ~*V. von Schweetz*~

      When she said that, I hollered. She explained it perfectly. I love him. Unapologetically.

    • Scorpiogoddess??

      Gets who?!?!?!?!!!!

      • Kas

        Black, female, college graduates I guess.

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