Drake’s career has been scrutinized from the moment he transitioned from a young TV star on the hit show Degrassi to a full-time artist that fused rap and R&B into introspective medleys unheard before. It was that singing venture that earned him the lack of respect from his rapping peers and branded his career with the soft and corny Canadian moniker.
However, for Drake, these slights provided a golden opportunity for the young rapper to flex his pen and show the world that he’s not to be messed with when it comes to the rap game. Who knew that a trip to Dallas back in 2009 would spawn his greatest body of work and longest running series of tracks 13 years later.
There’s no denying that Drake has made great music throughout his career regardless of how you feel about him personally, but this AM/PM series is peak Drake and is undeniable proof that he can rap with the best of them. I took some time to re-listen to all the songs and here’s my final rankings of Drake at his best.
5) 6PM In New York
Drake really gets to talking spicy on here and it’s clear he was in some type of mood because he did not hold back on addressing some of his industry beefs that he was harboring at the time.
One could argue that Drake’s evolution at this point should rank this track higher, but I feel that despite the “6god” rapping for four minutes straight, the first half of this song is him coasting and it’s not until the midway point that he starts to go off, thereby placing 6PM In New York at five.
4) 9AM In Dallas
At number four we have the genesis of the AM/PM series with 9AM In Dallas. As Drake began to establish his name in the mainstream, this was one of the songs in which he set out to prove his rap prowess to the masses and industry doubters alike.
Drake raps with a ferocious hunger for three straight minutes, confirming that his lyrical ability would make history in the rap game, and as we now know he did not disappoint. I’ll admit I have some bias towards this song as it was one of the first ones I memorized by heart, but given what this song represents in his career and discography it deserves it’s ranking at number four.
3) 7AM On Bridle Path
Following the genesis, we have the latest entry in the AM/PM series off Drake’s recent album Certified Lover Boy. This is the first entry that takes place in a specific area rather than a city.
As usual however, we get Drake airing out his grievances with a hint of luxurious boasting and a lot of slick talking to Hip-Hop icon Kanye West. The two had previously been feuding over some antics that date back to 2018 and that all came to a head when they both released their albums weeks apart in 2021 and led to Kanye publicly revealing Drake’s home address.
The two have since reconciled, but Drake essentially dedicated an entire song to the drama stating that Kanye has fallen from his greatness and is not on the same level as him. 7AM On Bridle Path is the most polished Drake in terms of delivery and technical ability in this series and that’s why this lands at number three.
2) 4PM In Calabasas
“We moving militant but somehow you the one tanking…” 7 Am On Bridle Path wasn’t the first time Drake dedicated a song to address his industry beef with a prominent Hip-Hop icon, in fact, on 4PM In Calabasas; he took the time to diss two icons in P. Diddy and Joe Budden. The two having feuds with Drake at the time for several reasons.
Budden took to episode 64 of his famous podcast, which at the time was titled I’ll Name This Podcast Later, and delivered a rant on how poorly he thought of Drake’s Views album. Diddy on the other hand, had issues with Drake that stemmed from a 2014 altercation in which sources state that Diddy punched the Toronto rapper three times, for reasons unknown at the time, but later revealed that Drake had “stolen” the 0-100 beat from him.
4PM In Calabasas is Drake’s pettiest entry in the series, as he not only calls out Budden and Diddy’s actions directly but he raps over Diddy’s beat that’s sampled in the song and uses his flow several times throughout. The fact Drake does this all so casually in a calm demeanor as he makes a very public stand (and even leaves some beat at the end for a response) is why this is the second best song in the series.
1) 5 AM In Toronto
Everything about this song is just Drake at the top of his game. From his brash attitude and delivery, to the extraterrestrial beat, to the mind bending bars backed by his best rapping there’s no doubt that 5 AM In Toronto is still the best song in the series.
We’ve seen Drake air it all out several times before, but on this track it all came together in a perfect storm that to this day has still been unmatched by him.
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