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 GQ.com 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 damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • If this means that I won’t have to hear him whining attempting to “sing” every 10 minutes I hope he falls off the edge of one of B.O.B’s maps.

    • Val

      Just hearing him say ‘Controlla’ make me want to throw my radio out of the window.

      • Scorpiogoddess??

        Looool.

      • orchid921

        Is it just me or are the lyrics to that song creepy af?

      • neodymium

        i dont even bother. I jus look for an actual singer on youtube who covered the song because the beat is nice. But I refuse to listen to Drake trying to emulate dat riddim

    • KNeale

      Go to @ComedianTrixx instagram and watch the 4th (for now) video. He has on a hoody and talking about Donald Trump. Relevant to your comment I promise, go watch. I just don’t know how to put the video on here.

      https://www.instagram.com/p/BL2BwlGjllb/?taken-by=comediantrixx&hl=en

    • pls

      What ees going un en amerecah EH!

      Do you want to cry forever?

      LOOOL

  • Does anyone here listen to Young Ma?

    • I can’t get past her sounding Bobby Shurmda-ish on that “OU” sound. I’m glad that rap has a lane for her though.

      • I don’t find ouuuu very catchy.

        • It’s annoying.

        • I think it’s incredibly overhyped.

        • cheddachasa

          She’s a lot better than that song but I honestly don’t see much of a career for her. She needs to be able to do more than spit a hot 16 on some freestyle.

        • Kema

          *screams* “you call her stephanie i call her headphanie”

      • Val

        Not going to hear from Bobby for a while.

      • Brandon Allen

        Lol totally jacked his sound.

    • miss t-lee

      Not if I can help it.

    • SHE IS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION NEW YORK RAP! There’s literally no difference between her and a Troy Ave except she talks about her dildo.

      • mssporadic

        She got busted by the cops over that dildo too!

    • mssporadic

      I don’t listen to her, but she looks like she got swagger. I saw her whipping that hair back and forth on The Shaderoom. I bet she snatches straight girls up with a quickness. I almost forgot I’m on an eggplant-only diet!

      • Kema

        I saw that hair swing too! She’s so handsome.

      • Brass Tacks

        I don’t think they are straight if they can be picked up by the same gender. But I digress…

        • mssporadic

          Such a limited view of chex and intimacy…it’s not always about what’s between your legs.

          • Brass Tacks

            I’m ok with that. I mean, females are viewed differently in that ordeal anyway.

            I just don’t know any dudes that can say “yea I’m straight, but that one guy can get it.” and not be looked at as ghey. I guess maybe jail but that’s a whole notha level of unpacking and I aint goin.

            So yeah…

            *Files under things never to be discussed again and slowly backs away from this topic *

      • Kas

        Ma’am!

      • NonyaB?
    • Epsilonicus

      She is wack

  • Val

    Well, yeah, but as long as there’s an auto-tune somewhere Drake is going to be okay. And if not, I’m sure they’ll make a Degrassi reunion movie eventually. Wheelchair Jimmy rides again, might be a good title.

  • PinkRose

    No shame, I LIKE Drake as opposed to not disliking him.

  • He don’t want it with King Push. Drake isn’t built for battles.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      I say this as a Clipse/Pusha Stan,

      Drake should be like,” Who? He still rapping? Good for him. Love to see the older generation still getting it”

      • Janelle Doe

        I dunno, if he said that, might he not get got by more of the older generation? Do we wanna see Andre 3000 involved?

        Also, on another note entirely, did I imagine it or did Kanye apparently get upset w Jay-Z during a show for not calling when Kim got robbed or something like that.

        • Kas

          That’s the word on the street. Mad because he called instead of coming by. I’m sure Jay is stressing it. It’s like yo he didn’t even go to your wedding.

          • Illumina

            “It’s like yo he didn’t even go to your wedding.”

            That really should tell Kanye everything he needs to know about their “friendship”

            • Kas

              Missed the wedding and took a random staycation instead. Come on son, he dun tole you.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Dre don’t want it with Drake. Plus Dre is not a battle rapper

        • mssporadic

          He’s mad that Jay called instead of coming to the house.

        • Brass Tacks

          Nope. Andre is above this ish. I don’t want Andre sullying his brand with this B.S.

          • Kas

            At the risk of starting a war, didn’t he let Ms. Badu turn him into an entirely new person?

            • Naw Andre was a weirdo before Badu.

            • Brass Tacks

              His bars didn’t suffer because of it aaand he continued to move the culture forward sans ghost writers.

              Drake ain’t on 3Stax level. That’s not even debateable

              • Kas

                You get no arguments from me. I don’t want those kind of problems.

            • Chinasa

              “…didn’t he let Ms. Badu turn him into an entirely new person?”

              very strong ehhhhh regarding that “let”.
              Badu explained her influence on men at the 11 min mark during a Breakfast Club interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytpntnRHL6o

    • Yall said this about Wayne

      • Brad G

        and he bodied Wayne to the point that Wayne started actually taking legal action against Birdman.

        • Kas

          When you turn around and sue somebody else, you’ve truly been bodied.

  • always right

    i don’t know if i believe drake is near his end. i was taking an uber on saturday night and the driver was listening to some j cole when i got in his car. he asked me if it was okay, and i was like sure. i’ll listen to almost anything as long as it’s not drake. he turned and looked at me and was like “why what’s wrong with drake?” and i was like “what’s not wrong with drake? i personally just don’t like his music.” he turned around and didn’t say one more thing to me for the duration of the trip. i say all of that to say, drake has some diehard fans. they go for him. it’s going to take more than some dumb@ss beefs and questionable bars to unseat him.

    • JusticeNotServed

      real talk, you probably got a low rating from that uber driver

      • always right

        yeah but it was worth it just to see the look on his face.

    • pls

      beyonce of rap!

  • Iwanthamma

    If he insists on continuing to sing then his fall can’t come soon enough. He’s a great lyricist…can’t understand his determination to be a lukewarm, auto-tuned R&B singer. Surprised fans have been so patient for so long…with both Drake and Rihanna. Can we finally admit that if Rihanna looked like Fantasia or J-Hud we wouldn’t even know who she is? Then they do these whiny sub-par colabs and rub on each other for publicity…I just can’t.

    • JusticeNotServed

      who lied to you and told you he was a great lyricist? i’m currently living in toronto and people around here don’t even say he’s lyrical.

      • Iwanthamma

        He’s a better lyricist than he is singer. And if we’re honest he’s a better lyricist than most (not all) current popular hip hop artists. Especially when you consider that most of what’s popular in hip hop right now is a series of slurred grunts and moans over a beat. Most of these dudes don’t even bother using actual words.

        • Kema

          *cough* young thug *cough*

        • pls

          at least they write those slurred words themselves!

          • Iwanthamma

            You think Thugga Thugga is fully literate? That’s optimistic.

        • Overtymem Usicradio

          Its called mumble rap and its very popular in hood areas in Texas.

      • Conrad Bess

        C’mon man. Anyone that says that is coming from hate. You don’t get co-signs from Little Brother (Phonte) and Slum Village (Elzhi) if your lyrics are doodoo.

        “I’m perfecting my craft using more Sess
        Tryna make some cheese off a single is a process
        Get it? Kraft, single, cheese, process
        Sit back and admire the talent that I possess…”

        He’s nice with the pen.

      • pls

        How can he be a lyricist if he don’t write said lyrics?

        Drake wants to be the beyonce of rap.

      • Candace

        Only people in Toronto saying that are hating.

    • Helga G.Pataki

      preach.

    • Ille Jay

      Real spit tho….I cut for Jennifer Hudson…don’t know why she went for the lame wrestler cat…but, if she ever need a place to stay…come around my way. ?

      • mssporadic

        Her sister went for thugs. She went the complete opposite. Also, he’s a Harvard trained lawyer and she’s a chick from Chicago.

        • Kas

          She’s a “fine” chick from Chicago. Fixed it for you.

        • brothaskeeper

          Hmmmm. There’s another couple just like them somewhere out there. I forget their names.

        • tinycurls

          See also, beard. Noun.

      • Christopher Paul Dart

        You just caused me to Google “Jennifer Hudson husband.” DAVID OTUNGA!? Really? I’m going to spend the rest of the day picking my brains off the floor.

      • Overtymem Usicradio

        You know why.

        • Ille Jay

          Spill it?

          • orchid921

            Okay. I’m gonna need this tea right. about. NOW. Thanks!

    • Lies dammit.

    • tinycurls

      Love everything about Rihanna except her voice. I never poured hot, buttered (and salted) grits on a cat, but I bet it would sound exactly like her if I did.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “Can we finally admit that if Rihanna looked like Fantasia or J-Hud we wouldn’t even know who she is?”

      I’m Sigma_Since93 and I approve this message.

      Rihanna used the J-Lo playbook and leveraged Jay Z’s strength in the hip hop game and made coin. J-Lo did the same thing with Big Pun and Fat Joe back in the day.

      • Overtymem Usicradio

        And Diddy. Don’t forget the Diddy.

  • Savion J Castro

    Cudi came at him first, so Drake was supposed to be magnanimous and let it go?

    • For all we know he said it before Cudi wrote that letter in the first place

  • Freebird

    I remember young Maliks response to a post where he said women are raising their sons to be men they wouldn’t date. Not sure how true it is in general (true in my world) but I saw Drake’s face when he made that comment.

    Drake is the result of progress in this post 50 Cent vs Kanye era. My old Tim wearing *** is glad he’s here. The complaints about the music were starting to seem insincere

  • fedup

    The next article I’d like to see would be titled “What Happened to all the Hip Hop Heavy Hitters?” An examination, in full, of the airwave genocide of revolutionary educator hip hop artists whose beats made puppets of your no dancin arms and legs, and whose lyrics gave your life directions when you were turned.

    Obviously, I’m not here for Drake, the Drake Mac, or the Drakenator.

    I’m a patient person. Just give me an eta.

    • Val

      Gangsta rap happened, mostly thanks to White record company execs and White rap fans and Bill Clinton. The conscious era was pretty amazing.

      • Kas

        Uh ok. You must have still been on the East Coast when gangsta rap was at it’s zenith.

        • Val

          Maybe but so what? It wasn’t us who made gangsta a new genre that swept the nation.

          • Kas

            West Coast seeded the nation with Bloods and Crips. Ya’ll never picked up on our perm life doe.

            • Val

              I’ll pay you if you post a pic of yourself with a perm.*

              *pay as in, I’ll be cutting and pasting that pic forever on VSB

              • Kas

                My Dad never let me even get a curl let alone a perm. He was big on that respectability b.s. Now I’m 50, rocking a mini-fro. I blame him and Obama.

                • fedup

                  Don’t you hate that? I knew I wanted locs at 18. I told my mom (whom I was living with at the time), and she said No because I’d never be able to get a job with locs, or society would look down on me, or I’d never be able to find a a college educated man (ha ha ha HA) who go for a sista with locs. I’ve had locs for 20 years, but more importantly, when I left home and started locking my hair, she up and got Sisterlocs!

                  • Kas

                    My hair currently is completely unacceptable for my company/role. But as they say, who gon check me doe.

                • kingpinenut

                  Lolol Moms forced me to go to Fez’s shop in Toledo, OH for a curl. How was I gonna say no and live?

                  My black hair came out orange . . .

              • Kas

                Don’t you have enough embarrassing stuff on me already?

                • Val

                  Nope. :-)

            • Digital_Underground

              To be fair, the perms were actually a holdover from our Southern roots. Most Blacks in California (the few who are left) are only a couple generations removed from the the South. Mostly Louisiana and Texas.

              • Kas

                When my wife first moved here, she quickly realized that. Both sides of my family are from Ark.

                • Digital_Underground

                  Louisiana and Alabama here. Pops has been in L.A. for 40 years now. But his Southern drawl is just as strong as ever.

              • fedup

                Texas TR here (twice removed). We still drinkin drink red soda water on Juneteenth.

              • miss t-lee

                Tell the truth.
                I have fam out there in Sacramento. They moved out there from here (TX) in the 40s.

      • fedup

        Well, yeah, but I was more so talking about what actually happened to them. Where dey at (en masse)? Did we get shook? Folks got grandkids now? Or is it like a speak easy existence (you gotta know the code word, to get tha good word?). I could really use new Black Sheep joint right about now.

        I think we need a Hip Hop Academy, a level of intentional transference. Less we get 10 mo years of Lil Yachtey’s (or however you spell it).

        • Val

          Gotcha.

        • Digital_Underground

          Unfortunately, Hip Hop is really bad at reflection. When a new style/ rapper comes along the old gets put out to pasture.

          And “Flavor of the Month” STILL bangs!

          • fedup

            Yes, Sir, it does. But that does not mean that I won’t gravitate towards new content.

            Now that I write this, maybe the ultimate ethos of hip hop is “Die young, leave a beautiful corpse”?

            • Digital_Underground

              But do really want new content? I’ve always felt that Hip Hop as a genre of music is tailor made for youth. Up to date style and slang matters. I’m not sure what an almost 50 year old Dres from Black Sheep can rap about today and still sound good. Honestly a lot of old school rappers have not aged well. Maybe its best they stay in the background.

              • fedup

                It may be made for youth, but for all the once youngins that cut teeth on it, it’s still a primary go to. I literally listen to every single genre of music around (as I am sure 99.9% of the people here do), but hip hop is always my first love. Of course there is nostalgia for what you grew up listening to (heard Rockafella from Dare iz a Darkside the other day, and almost spilled my drink), but I still want to hear the current musings of my favorites. There’s a market.

              • Conrad Bess

                “Timeless, so age don’t count in the booth/when your flow stay submerged in the fountain of youth…”

                The GOAT, Rakim

        • esa

          check out Tools of War
          Twitter: @ToolsofWarJams

    • hip hop is about what ladies want to dance to. They’ve decided they want to dance to Drake. If you don’t make women dance you’re not going to do numbers (unless you’re one of the weirdos that’s still buying Eminem albums).

      • Val

        People dance to southern syrup rap?

        • miss t-lee

          Don’t lump Drake in with that we do down here Val.

          • Kas

            That tickled me

          • Val

            I wasn’t. Lol

          • Janelle Doe

            Doesn’t he claim southernness though?Bc of his dad?

            *Disclaimer can’t name any albums or know how many he has

            • miss t-lee

              He tries…and because of his association with J. Prince and all, but we know what it is.

              • Ille Jay

                Pleez…Get’em…Geto Boys is not dance music…and much of it hits hard and is not a ss shakin…Z-Ro, Mystikal, Swishahouse c’mon now

                • miss t-lee

                  Yeah. It was never dance music. Ridin’ music yes. Dancing? Nope.

                • fedup

                  Mystikal. Oh my! What happened to THAT dude?

                  • Ille Jay

                    Did his bid in prison, then put out some unsuccessful stuff…he only really has one lane….he got taught the lesson of Hip Hop quik upon his return, to Cash Money of all places!(I’m a history buff and remember the beef between competing Louisiana Rap Labels).

        • all the times. that’s the entire history of southern hip hop.

          • Val

            Not really. Geto Boys was dancable. So was Outcast. Juvie and Hot boys. And lets not even get into Miami rap. The newer stuff is so slow and mellowed out that I really can’t see people dancing to it.

            • I mean southern rap = dance rap.

              • Kema

                *Jujus on the beat and then hit dem folks* What y’all talking about? lol!

      • fedup

        I think not. Why, back in my day, we danced to “Nature of the Threat”, and we liked it!

        • I could definitely imagine people doing that in SoCal.

        • Kas

          Just listened to the song after reading your comment. My question is, exactly what move(s) did you do to that song?

          • fedup

            Lol. There was a time when cats were takin Capoiera at the local spot, for the express purpose of incorporating them into dance moves at parties. Not me, it was “those” cats. But the moves were tight, and the crowd swayed.

            Also, that song is peak Hotep. But ninjas used to study off dat.

            • Kas

              Wildest dance move I ever saw in person, at Dragonfly in Hollywood back in the day. Guy and girl are dancing, the girl has her back to the wall doing her thing. The guy flips forward onto his hands with a foot on either side of the girl’s head touching the wall behind her. Kept the beat and everything. I was amazed.

              • fedup

                Wow. I wonder how many takes it took to get that one right!

                • Kas

                  Note this was in a crowd of people, not some performance. I just happened to be dancing next to them when he did it.

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