By: Papa Minnow
Whether you like him or not, Drake is still the most compelling artist of our generation. When he drops, the world ceases to exist in that moment to tune in. Everything he does becomes a pop culture event that we all partake in to share our thoughts on the new sights and sounds we just experienced.
So when June 29th rolled around, there was a peculiar energy roaming in anticipation for the release of Scorpion. Was this going to be his best? Who was he going to address? And what kind of sounds could we expect?
Prior to, the only known details were that it was a two disc album, one side focusing on rap and the other focusing on R&B, with a track that featured the late great Mike which percolated a plethora of ideas.
00:00 hit the clock and I immediately tuned in to the album. Before giving Scorpion it’s proper due through, I decided to peep Talk Up and Don’t Matter To Me.
Jay’s verse immediately resonated as one of the hardest on the album, but the MJ feature was quite disappointing. The vocals were out of whack and it would have served Drake better to have just had the Weeknd do it.
The first play of any Drake album is alluring. There’s so many new sounds, flows, and quotable bars that are so saucy they stick off the rip.
On side A, rapping Drake was in full effect so it was hard to find fault with most of it. Initially, moving to side B presented the first flaw on the album…
It’s LONGGG. With a run time of one hour and thirty minutes, going 25 songs deep, the album becomes insurmountable to digest. In that sense, Scorpion suffers from the same affliction KOD did: the Cole Effect.
With minimal features on a large album it becomes a chore to listen to Drake for that long, even if the songs are enjoyable, which, for the most part they are. The rapping quality that we love from Drake is all there, he’s got various flows, his delivery for the most part is there, there’s tons of clever word play and captionable bars all throughout.
“I wanna thank God for workin’ way harder than Satan
He’s playin’ favorites, it feels amazin'”
We all know what the Pusha beef brought up about Drake’s life that was relatively unknown. And with no direct response to The Story of Adidon, the “L” that Drake has to hold from that beef has put a stain on his reputation that required him to make some changes to Scorpion in order to address those issues.
On Survival he opens up with,
“All of this disorder, no addressin’
The crown is broken in pieces, but there’s more in my possession
There’s a whole lot in my possession”
and later follows up with
“Yeah, I was about to— Man, I thought about it
It’s unsettlin’ to talk about it”
Which is in reference to his lack of a response to the diss. But these don’t hit as hard for that very reason. His most notable response comes on Emotionless when he states
“I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid.”
A response that has sparked many memes on social media, however it’s not a factual one as he had planned an entire Adidas roll out for the kid before having it spoiled by Pusha T.
Drake doesn’t seem untouchable anymore and that’s shown in how he chose to address the Pusha situation with these subtle one liners. The air he once had at the top is looking thin.
Stand outs from side A come in the form of Nonstop, where he gets in that Look Alive bag; Emotionless where he goes in bar for bar, Mob Ties; Can’t Take a Joke where his flow is impeccable, Survival, Sandra’s Rose, and 8 out of 10 where addresses Kanye (shout out to Joe Budden for the deep dive).
Side B opens up strongly with Peak, Summer Games, and Jaded.
Both Peak and Jaded are centred on his past love for UK artist Jorja Smith who made an appearance on his last album.
Drake gets deep into his feels on both these tracks and goes so far as to call out the man she’s currently seeing who is also a musician.
“I need to know how the new n—a you got does the same thing
I do for a living but is way less wavy”
Jorja is only 21 so I’m not sure what Drake was expecting from her, but his pettiness doesn’t stop there as he makes reference to her on March 14th as well.
“October baby for irony’s sake, of course
I got this 11 tatted for somebody, now it’s yours”
Jorja’s birthday is June 11th and her debut EP was Project 11, but since breaking his heart, Drake has now decided to dedicate his “11” tattoo to his son who was born on October 11, which takes his pettiness to the next level since it’s on a track. It’s also crazy to think he got the birthday of a 20-year-old tatted on him.
While side B is the lesser of the two (I have no idea what he was doing on Ratchet Happy Birthday, easily the worst track of the album), there is still good to be found on that side.
Blue Tint with Future has Drake floating flawlessly on the beat. That’s How You Feel has a tint of griminess to it, and Nicki’s sample slides in unblemished. In My Feelings is an absolute bounce that’s perfect for ladies to pop a twerk to.
After Dark is easily one of the smoothest tracks Drake’s been on, Ty$ bodies his verse from the moment he tunes in, and the song has an earlier 2000’s feel to it that hits the nostalgic nerve.
As such, side B is better digested on it’s own without a previous listen from side A.
The biggest flaw with Scorpion is that the content on this album is very shallow. All of Drake’s issues that he discusses here, stem from women and Instagram, and if that’s his biggest issue, dude just needs to log off the app if he’s going to be distressed about it.
There’s not a lot of consciousness on other matters, or concepts that incite us to think deeper; outside of the one line on how we use Instagram. Drake’s sold us the same recycled material for the past three albums and at this point it’s gone stale.
While he can cater to any listener, there’s a lack of cohesiveness on the album which makes this body of work average. 40 also shows some fault in that, the mixing of some songs are not on par with others which leads one to believe this album was partly rushed in the last few days.
Note: As of writing this a new update for Scorpion has been released addressing some of those issues.
It suits the listener to pick and choose songs for a playlist and cut off any songs they’re not in to.
We need something new from Drake in which he takes time to push his music forward and transcend these trivial topics we’ve already heard. It would serve him and his fans a lot of good, especially if he hopes to hold the crown.