Canada Day Special feat. Drizzy Drake
If you think about it, the widespread hate for Drake is rooted in similar factors that lead people to dislike VEL favorites Vampire Weekend: he’s percieved as being effete and fancy. In a word, soft. With the important difference that Drake operates in a musical genre with much more stringent standards of masculinity. Like, we’ve long given up on the idea that pop bands have to be hard, but there is still no defined spot in the rap game for an artist with the subject position of “introspective croon-rapper”. At least, not until now.
To be honest, I have never been able to take matters of authenticity seriously. I pity folks for whom this is an important aesthetic consideration. At bottom, I just could not care less who actually sold drugs. In fact, aside a few exceptions, I’m pretty indifferent to subject material as a whole. You can write an all-time classic rap jam about anything: moving bricks, barbecue, make-up bags, pimping, gossip folks. The additional question of whether your mastery of this particular subject matter is rooted in personal experience seems beside the point. And for that matter, I don’t care if the thematic material of your work is consumed with things that don’t matter to me: groupie management, postclub regret, designer labels, rich-black-person problems: all that shit has been transmuted into fantastic music.
I mean, I will admit that there is something a little bizarre about the way that Canada’s most famous child star clings to this rags-to-riches narrative as for his personal anthem – maybe “Started from the upper-middle class now we’re here” lacks a certain zing. But who gives a shit? Nobody can touch his jumping-out-a-convertible-in-the-snow game! Plus he gets a lifetime pass for 1) antagonizing Chris Brown and 2) showing love to all the fancy, independent, book-and-streetsmart ladies out there.
Drake’s early style leaned a little heavily on punchlines, but I’ve always loved his flow. Make no mistake, this man can rap has ass off; he just customarily raps his ass off in an extremely relaxed, singsong manner. “Started From the Bottom” isn’t the world’s best Drake song (The Motto is my current frontrunner), but it is the second-greatest Drake video.