Last year, Simms Jr. wrote an article about Drake’s pop culture dominance. A hit album, a film appearance, and a killer SNL hosting stint later, Drake is still the man.
A few weeks ago, I was on Twitter. I always check to see what’s trending every time I’m on the site. I checked the trending page, and saw ” # newmusic”, “startedfromthebottom”, and “#drake“. I’m fairly smart, so I quickly figured out that Drake must have released a new song, and the name of it had to be “Started From The Bottom.”
I was right. Drake had in fact released a new song called “Started From The Bottom.” And, from the trends/hashtags I clicked on, the song’s release and fan reactions were huge on Twitter. To keep it 100, Drake blew up Twitter, and pretty much owned it for roughly two straight days. Not to mention that Wiz Khalifa added his own verse to the song the next day of the song’s release. Within a week, Drake’s new single had a stranglehold on the Internet.
In the weeks that have followed, “Started From The Bottom” has exploded on terrestrial radio, YouTube, and spawned a ton of un-official re-mixes and parodies (all of them can be seen on Worldstarhiphop.com). The buzz for his upcoming third album, Nothing Was The Same has been huge. (Drake revealed the name of his upcoming album the same night he won a Grammy for Best Rap Album.) It’s safe to say the album will do James Cameron numbers when it drops.
With all that said, let’s all state the obvious. Drake is the hottest rapper in the game.
So, why won’t a huge section of hip-hop fandom admit it?
I get it. Drake is pretty much the antithesis of what a modern mainstream rapper is. He’s not a thug (publicly). He’s rarely gotten in trouble (with the exception of the Chris Brown nightclub brawl) with the law. He’s not angry. He’s witty and very articulate in his interviews. He’s bi-racial. He’s Canadian.
None of that screams hip-hop. Which is why it seems many rap music fans (and hip-hop media personalities…Charlamange Tha God is one of Drake’s biggest detractors) can’t get behind the Kid from Toronto. Which is a shame. If the same fans who don’t respect Drake’s story could get past it, they would realize how gifted Drake is. But, his lack of street cred is a huge hurdle for his haters. And the dislike for Drizzy is strong. There hasn’t been a rapper as polarizing as Drake, since, well…possibly ever. (Go to any hip-hop blog, type in “Drake”, read your article, and then read the comments section. The dislike for Drake is astonishing.)
Think about my description of Drake. Bi-racial. Witty. Articulate. Bright. Sound familiar? I remember a few years ago talking to an editor of a hip-hop website, and saying that Drake is the Barack Obama of hip-hop. I saw back then (and still see now) that Drake, like President Obama, was a game changer. Drake’s multi-racial heritage allows him to reach different racial groups simultaneously His social smarts and lack of menace makes him ultra accessible to various media outlets. In fact, I’m surprised that major music labels aren’t breaking their necks looking for the next Drake, instead of combing through hip-hop blogs looking for the next Trinidad Jame$.
The reason I dig Drake is because I think the kid’s skills are mean. I’ve been to clubs when his opening verse on DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One” made the place explode. I remember when he was ruled 2009 as a newcomer. I think his hooks are insanely good (ask Rick Ross). His verses right now on Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice” and ASAP Rocky’s “F___n’ Problems” are hot. And, again, if you are a club goer, you can’t tell me “The Motto” didn’t pack the dance floor.
Whether or not Drake will ever get more respect is to be seen. What can’t be denied is that the Canadian spitter has broken, and continues to break the rules in hip-hop. I’m one of the hip-hop fans that will continue to watch and marvel at Drake’s remarkable ride.
This article originally appeared at Examiner.com.
Photo – Brennan Schnell/Wikimedia Commons